I’m sure I heard a collective sigh of relief radiate across both campuses last week when BU’s REF2014 preparations were finally submitted. It’s been a huge amount of work, especially in the last few weeks. I myself did a little dance when I eventually handed the case studies over for PengPeng to upload, and then bought a sausage sandwich to mark the occasion.
But all the hard work and late nights that have been put in across the academics community, professional services and the leadership team are well worth it. I truly believe the ‘submit’ button was pressed in the knowledge that BU has absolutely put its best institutional foot forward and, regardless of the result (which I’m sure will be fabulous), no one will be left feeling, ‘We could have done better.’
I’m already looking back on the REF preparations fondly. I feel very lucky to have worked on this important project with such a great group of people. BU has so many talented researchers who are passionate about their subject. Matthew’s energy, vision and drive meant the submission presented BU at its absolute best. And I can honestly say I never met a more organised and efficient group of people than Julie Northam, PengPeng Ooi and Becca Edwards!
Having helped prepare the impact case studies across the eight units, I’ve had an amazing overview of the true societal benefit BUs research brings. Through the process I’ve examined national and international policy documents, spoken to CEO s of multinational companies, patients benefiting from healthcare interventions and many other diverse beneficiaries who sing the praises of BU researchers and the application of their work.
I think what’s most telling though, is the number of case studies that haven’t been submitted this time round because the impact was too embryonic or interim. Regardless of what the next REF will look like (and impact is bound to be more prominent), this really shows the great impact trajectory that BU’s research is currently tracking. Examples include:
- Dr Venky Dubey and Neal Vaughan’s epidural simulator project, which recently won the Information Technology category at the Institution of Engineering and Technology Innovation Awards, fending off competition from over 30 countries.
- Later this month the new multimillion pound Stonehenge visitor centrewill open, bringing together knowledge and displays informed by Dr Kate Welham and Professor Tim Darvill’s research.
- Dr Sarah Thomas and Professor Peter Thomas from the BU Clinical Research Unit have worked with the Dorset MS Service at Poole Hospital to develop a group based fatigue management programme to help people with MS normalise their fatigue experiences.
From January I’m really looking forward to working on these and other projects, using communication as a tool to enhance dissemination of research findings, helping deliver impact to the heart of society.
(And now I have reacquainted myself with my kitchen, I may also cook some vegetables to counter all the ready meals and chocolate that’s kept me going recently)!!