BU subscribes to Research Professional (RPro), which is a funding opportunities search engine and higher education sector news compiler.
RPro ran its first Round-Table Discussion in London for its client universities on 12 September 2017 on the topic of “Successful Strategies for Deploying Research Professional”.
The aims of this Discussion meeting were to:
- Share experiences of use of RPro by each university’s academic cohort;
- Pick and discuss different ideas of implementation;
- Network with staff of other research support offices;
- Gauge various institutional approaches for academic engagement with RPro.
To spark discussion around the table, an officer from the Grants & Funding Unit in the University of Central Lancashire was invited to present the strategies they have implemented to roll-out the use of RPro and the monitoring/evaluation they have conducted on RPro usage. Tom Walters from RPro facilitated the discussion.
The presentation slides can be found here.
RKEO at BU has been and is continuing to deploy most of these strategies, with varying levels of success in academic engagement over time.
The first tension is to increase academic access and use of RPro – many methods have been used to deliver this such as RPro training for new academics, webinars, references in academic inductions, monthly Blog posts and so on.
The second tension is to increase effectiveness of use by the academic at each point of access – ie. that he/she will find a relevant hit and submit an application to that call.
Effectiveness of use is difficult to measure and is reflective of the use of RPro for different reasons by its users – in general:
- Senior level academics may use the ‘precision’ strategy to do focused, targeted searches which hone in on the specific; whilst
- Early career academics may use the ‘recall’ strategy which is to acquire as many hits with funding opportunities as possible to see what is out there.
Tom Walters’ concluding question to the Round-Table for reflection was “What does success look like?” in relation to research activity in our universities. The general agreement on what success looked like was:
- Measuring increase in submissions rather than awards;
- Spreading out applications over a wide range of funders, rather than targeting a few;
- Empowering academics to do their own funding opportunities searches; and
- Widening the number of academics engaging with / using RPro.
Discussion continued to what universities typically requested their RPro consultant to do during their (usually) annual ‘consultation’ visit to their client university and some ideas were shared. BU will be arranging a RPro consultation day in 2018, keep an eye on this space!
RKEO is always working to ensure that the RPro service is suitable for the purposes of each academic at BU. Regardless of whether you are a RPro newbie or in need of refresher training or may need more help on advanced functionality, please contact the RKEO Funding Development Team and we’d be happy to help you.