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Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework – an overview



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The Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) Development Framework offers a range of opportunities for academics at all career stages to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities in relation to research and knowledge exchange.

Agile and flexible, it caters for all staff engaged in research and knowledge exchange activities. Pathways are grouped around key topic areas with sessions delivered by BU staff with expertise in the topic, external facilitators, or via online materials, which can be accessed at any time.

The RKE Development Framework has been designed to reflect the BU Academic Development Framework and the Vitae Research Development Framework. It is managed by members of BU’s Research Development and Support Team (RDS).

How to use the Framework:

  • For further information and to book, please go to the Framework, on the BU Intranet
  • Review the pathways available (see below, with direct links to pathways)
  • Discuss the pathways with your line manager as part of your professional development planning
  • Determine which pathways or individual sessions are relevant to you and obtain faculty approval to attend (via the booking email)
  • Watch out for events being promoted on the BU Research Blog and BU This Week emails

On the intranet, the RKEDF is arranged to align with your current situation and researcher development needs:

I am an ECR / new to research 
I want to know more about External funding 
I am new to BU 
I want to fund and build my research team
I need to disseminate my research 
I need to know about the REF 
I need help with BU research systems and polices
I want to increase the impact of my research
I need help with my research career
I want to work internationally
I want to share my research more widely
I need to meet with RDS staff 

Although the RKEDF is no longer promoted by these pathways, the table below gives an outline of how the RKEDF is managed within Research Development and Support and the breadth of the support available . You can click on the links below to see more or, if you are interested in an event, and you have accessed the individual event page, you can then click on the ‘related events’ link to find out about other events that may be of interest to you.

Framework Pathways:


Indicative Content

‌Research Council funding 
The Research Councils are major UK research funders.  This pathway provides information, advice and guidance about the Research Councils, including how to approach the case for support, writing your impact statement and working with stakeholders.
International Funding This pathway explores international funding activities, concentrating on particular regions of the world, as highlighted via the BU Global Engagement Strategy.  It provides an introduction to EU and other international funding schemes. These include Horizon 2020, other selected international opportunities and call-specific bid writing retreats.
Funding from the Academies 
The national academies (the Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering) are esteemed bodies of scholars (Fellowships) tasked with championing excellent science in their field. Each offers research funding, and this pathway aims to support colleagues in applications to one of these bodies.
Funding from Charities This pathway provides an introduction to applying for funding from major and smaller charities, as well as more detailed bid-writing sessions to support specific applications.  The stream includes sessions on specific funders, such as the Wellcome Trust and Leverhulme Trust and more general sessions on working with stakeholders and building partnerships.
National Institute for Health Research The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides funds health and care research and helps to translate new discoveries into practical improvements for patients.  This pathway is designed to help staff considering applying to one of NIHR’s funding schemes.
Pre-Award at BU The research and knowledge exchange (RKE) development framework offers a range of opportunities for academics at all career stages to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities in relation to research and knowledge exchange. The Pre-Award pathway offers all of the starting information required by Academics and Researchers at BU to undertake research bidding.
Building a Team Building a research team, whether of academics, researchers, external stakeholders or others, is an integral aspect of undertaking research. It contributes to the career development of an academic. This pathway will offer some insights into team-building and ensuring you involve the right partners in your bid, together with some opportunities to develop multi-disciplinary teams through sandpits.
Research partnerships with industry This pathway includes workshops and guest speakers that highlight the benefits and protocols when working with Industry as research partners.
Post Award at BU Helping researchers with post-award processes including financial management and research data management.
Returning to Academia after a break This pathway targets those academics who may be returning to academia following a break for any reason. It will be further developed over the next 2-3 academic years.
Academic Publishing Including writing an academic paper, dealing with editors and Open Access
Planning for impact and communicating research Engaging with policymakers, public engagement, social media for impact and digital communication
Skills Development  Practical sessions designed to build experience in using BU and external systems and processes, such as BRIAN, RED, BURO, Using the Library, Je-S, Flexigrant, eRA Commons, IPR, Contracts and BU procedures, and Ethics.
Research Excellence Framework The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK HEIs. It takes place every 5-7 years, the last submission was in March 2021 the next submission is still to be confirmed. The REF assesses research excellence through a process of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate. It is based on HEIs submitting evidence of their research activity and outcomes to units of assessment (UOAs) to be assessed by expert panels. This pathway provides further information on all things REF-related.

Accessing Resources:

Where resources can be made available outside face-to-face sessions, these are saved within the Brightspace Community RKE Development Framework, which is accessible to all BU staff (including PGRs). This allows you to dip in to resources outside scheduled sessions, helping you to progress your knowledge at a convenient time for you or to help you decide if you need to attend a session or seek assistance from RDS.

Calendar of RKEDF Events and Training Sessions:

Available within the main Staff Development and Engagement events calendar, you will find a full list of our upcoming Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework events in date order which you may find helpful when planning your own personal research development training requirements.

Get in touch:

If you have any comments or suggestions relating to the RKEDF, these can be made through the dedicated email account: