Category / Post-award

The R & KE Operations Team Are Moving!

 Space at Talbot Campus is scarce, so to make room for more student focused activities the R & KE Operations Team will be moving to Melbury House at the end of July.

We are confirming availability of hotdesks in each school to ensure members of the team will continue to be as accessible to Talbot Campus colleagues as possible, we are also incorporating hotdesks in our office in Melbury House which colleagues will be welcome to use.

The move itself will take place between Thursday 26th and Monday 30th July. Access to the team will be limited during this time, so please bear this in mind if you have any pending application deadlines or project needs and make provisions for support in advance where possible.

Many thanks,

The R & KE Operations Team

 

 

 

The EU Pod is launched!

In response to feedback from across schools, the R & KE Operations team has been restructured to include a dedicated EU Pod headed up by Paul Lynch.

The pod will assume the post-award management of all current EU projects together with the pre-award management of  future EU applications across all schools and professional services.

 

So, if you’re interested in EU funding but don’t know how to get started with your application contact a member of the EU Pod:

Paul Lynch – Senior R & KE Officer (EU)

Alexandra Peirce – R & KE Officer (EU)

 

 

Ethics and Conduct and Governance….OH MY!!

Similar to Lions and Tigers and Bears, these nasty words often send a chill down the spine of researchers across the globe!

“More roadblocks to delay my research?!” 

“Hinder-full, not helpful!” 

“Once you think you’ve ticked all the boxes, read all the policy/procedure and signed your life away, SMACK – the conduct officer hits you with a new hurdle!”

Sound familiar?  These are just a few examples of the misconception towards my full-time job.  Hello, my name is Julia Hastings Taylor and I am the University’s Research Development Officer responsible for ethics and conduct.  Prior to joining BU I received my Masters in International Political Economy from LSE and before moving across the pond, I worked for the US Intelligence Community tracking down drug lords in SW Asia, Europe, and Africa.  Drug traffickers—as opposed to university researchers—tend to not concern themselves with ethics or conduct, so I’m pleased to be part of an organization that takes compliance seriously!

My first mission—as impossible as it may seem—is to change the way researchers view ethics and conduct (and me, for that matter).  I’m not the Big Bad Wolf and I don’t plan to ‘blow your research down’; on the contrary, I am here to support you, and strengthen the University’s research governance structure.  Leave the scary ethics maze to me – I know the way and I will point you in the right direction.  Struggling to understand and/or comply with funder regulations – don’t fret, it’s my job to ensure all regulations are clear and we have an easy-to-follow framework for compliance!  I plan to streamline processes and procedures, outline ‘best practices’ in both ethics and conduct and ensure that the University’s policies are not only robust but also flexible

While we’re on the topic, here are a few of my thoughts: while I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘tree hugger,’ I am sensible…so come on folks…this is 2012…let’s move away from printing off reams and reams of forms to fill in and sign when we can simply create online forms with digital signatures.  I like processes to be efficient, straightforward and simple and that’s what I hope to bring to the University’s ethics and conduct role.  As the next handful of months will bring change—and we all know how much everyone loves change—please give me your feedback and suggestions for improvements, and be honest about your views on research ethics and conduct; I’d like for this process to be as inclusive as possible, but I can only knock on so many doors, invite you to so many meetings/forums and ask so many questions.

So, if you happen to see me lurking around your School in the coming months, please don’t assume I’m the secret police looking for my next victim….I’m probably lost and simply trying to find the loo!

Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

The good news is that some changes to a project are commonly accepted by many sponsors and funders, providing that they don’t breach a signed contract and, most importantly, are communicated in good time. Last minute notifications can damage your and the University’s reputation, and compromise your project.

Most changes will fall under one of the following categories:  contracts, staffing, expenditure and budgets. Below you will find a list of common changes you should anticipate and communicate to your project and Research & Knowledge Transfer Operations (RKE Ops) teams as soon as they occur:

  • A project team member (Administrator, Researcher Assistant, PI, Co-I or external consultant) stops working on the project, leaves the university, is off on long term sick leave or on maternity leave;
  • A new team member joins the project;
  • The sponsor or funder asks or grants an extension to the current contract;
  • A collaborative project lead partner asks for reports or other kind of information not covered on the main contract or not requested by the sponsor or funder;
  • The sponsor or funder objects to you publishing a piece of work, and you notice that Intellectual Property issues haven’t been covered in the main contract;
  • If a contract is terminated for any reason before the end date;
  • If there are delays of any sort, for example, submission of reports, delivery of services or consultancy  work;
  • You need to spend time or money on some item or service which hasn’t been budgeted for;
  • You notice that the sponsor or funder has been inappropriately invoiced, or not invoiced  at all;
  • Your know that there have been changes to the claims schedule;
  • Your project is completed before the planned end date.

 These are only some examples of common changes that may affect your research or enterprise project and you will probably encounter many others.  Make sure you maintain good communication with your project team and seek advice from the Research & Knowledge Transfer Operations team (RKE Ops) as soon as something unexpected happens. Anything that can go wrong in a project generally does go wrong sooner or later. However, it can be put right if anticipated and properly dealt with.