Well we’re in to the second month of 2012 and 2011 already seems like a dim and distant memory! But before it all gets too hazy we thought we would look back on 2011 and some of the highlights of research at BU.
1. Set up of the new Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO)
The creation of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office back in September 2011 brought together similar departments under the academic leadership of Prof Matthew Bennett, PVC. The Graduate School, Research Development Unit, CRE Operations (now renamed RKE Operations), Centre for Entrepenurship and the new Business Engagement Unit. The blog post announcing the launch contains more information.
The Research Development Unit had a successful year, winning the poster competition at the annual ARMA conference and travelling to Sydney to present a paper on business partnering at the ARMS Conference, hosted by the Australian professional body for research administrators. The R&KEO (previously CRE) was also shortlisted for the THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011 in the Outstanding Research Management category.
2. BU research features in Big Ideas for the Future report
Heather Hartwell and Alan Fyall featured in the joint Research Council and UUK report Big Ideas for the Future for their work linking tourism and public health. The report explores the excellent research taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time. Heather reported in a blog post that the report had generated substantial interest outside the university and she hopes to be able to capitalise on that.
3. Systems investment
2011 saw investment in the R&E systems. RED – the R&E database which is a record of all externally funded research activity, it now includes a link to the live accounts system so that you can view a quick overview of your project budget. The university also invested in pFACT the industry standard costing tool to assist with FEC for projects.
4. Creation of the BU Research Blog
The BU Research Blog was launched in March 2011 as a way to communicate research information interally with academic staff and also for staff to be able to share their work and ideas with each other. Each of the BU Research Themes has an area on the research blog where staff can share ideas.
We have also found that the research blog has generated interest outside BU, both locally and across the world. Julie Northam wrote a blog post on the google analytics which show where people have accessed the sited from geographically. So it is another way of generating interest in your work.
5. HEIF 5 strategy
BU’s HEIF strategy was approved in September 2011, securing approximately £700k of funding per year. This year the funding is being used for a small fusion fund open to all staff to apply for (closing 13 January 2012), the innovation themes which schools nominated over the summer, investment in public engagement, and the creation of a business engagement unit. Matthew Bennett’s blog post on the HEIF strategy containing more detail is available here.
6. Internal funding schemes
In 2011 there were several internal funding schemes launched to staff for the first time. There is the small grants scheme which is intended to give staff a small pot of money to undertake pilot research work. The EU networking fund is to help staff build contacts in europe with the potential of finding european funding collaborators. The open access publication fund provides staff with the funds they need to publish in journals with open access options. More details of all schemes available and the application forms can be found on the blog.
7. Internal Peer Review (RPRS)
In 2011 the RPRS was strengthened by the appointment of Caroline O’Kane. Caroline is the first point of contact when you have a draft application that you would like to put to peer review. Caroline will review the draft from a lay person perspective and provide feedback on structure, style and adherence to the funder requirements. The draft will also be passed to two academic colleagues (which you can nominate) for review and feedback. Caroline is working hard to make the service helpful and constructive, and has seen an increase in the number of bids being submitted to RPRS.
8. AHRC Block Grant Success for MS and ApSci
The first students funded by this AHRC grant started in October. The Media School and the School of Applied Sciences were successful with their bid for AHRC studentship funding. The money will see several masters and phd students fully funded over the next 5 years.
9. Southern Region REF Event
Back in May the Research Development Unit hosted a 2 day REF event which was open to all BU staff and also external universities in the south of England (for the first part). Speakers from HEFCE and the impact pilot panel attended giving staff an understanding of REF and an insight into how impact would be interpreted. The event was a huge sucess with 150 delegates from 39 institutions attending. A report of the day can be found on the blog.
To follow on from this event another REF event is being held on 22nd February, all panels in the REF will be represented so this is an excellent opportunity to ask them any questions you have about the panel criteria. More information is available here.
10. EU Success and strengthening of EU support at BU
In 2011 there has been success for BU staff with european funding. Professor Rudy Gozlan was awarded Erasmus Mundas funding which involves international students studying at BU as part of their degree; Rudy was also successful with Marie Curie funding, and his european fellow started working at the university in the autumn.
There has been an increase in the support available for staff considering applying for EU funding with the creation of an EU Officer role (Dr Corrina Dickson) in the RDU.