Tagged / strategy

UKRI Strategic Prospectus launched

UKRI will ensure everyone in society benefits from world-leading research and innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has set out its plans to strengthen the UK’s world-leading knowledge economy and deliver impact across society.

The UKRI Strategic Prospectus, launched today (May 14), will create a research and innovation system that is fit for the future and equipped to tackle the environmental, social and economic challenges of the 21st Century.

The prospectus is the start of the process and over the next 12 months UKRI and its councils will continue to engage with their communities, the wider public, and undertake research, to further develop individual strategic delivery plans.

This will ensure UKRI responds to important opportunities, fosters excellence and collaboration on the global stage, and draws on the inspiration and insight of our most talented researchers and innovators.

The Government has put research and innovation at the heart of its modern Industrial Strategy, committed additional funding of £7bn by 2021/22 and set out an ambition to increase total R&D expenditure to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

UKRI will work with its partners to push the frontiers of human knowledge, deliver economic prosperity, and create social and cultural impact. It describes four underpinning areas key to delivering this:

  • Leading talent – nurturing the pipeline of current and future talent
  • A trusted and diverse system – driving a culture of equality, diversity and inclusivity and promoting the highest standards of research, collaboration and integrity
  • Global Britain – identifying and supporting the best opportunities for international collaboration
  • Infrastructure –  delivering internationally-competitive infrastructure to ensure we have the best facilities to foster innovation and conduct research

UKRI will work in partnership with government, businesses, universities, and other research organisations to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.  This includes fostering collaboration with countries and institutions around the world and providing access to internationally competitive facilities and infrastructure.

Over the coming months, UKRI will be conducting research and consultation to further develop its approach to working with others and to answer a series of big questions. These include how to grow the economy across different regions of the UK whilst continuing to expand our existing world-leading excellence; how to reduce the gap in productivity and the best approaches to developing talent across the diverse population of the UK, providing the skills needs of the future.

To read the full article, please click here. To read the UK Research and Innovation Strategic Prospectus visit https://www.ukri.org/about-us/strategic-prospectus/

Developing NERC’s omics strategy – Community workshop

2 May 2018 (Wednesday)
Birmingham

NERC is aiming to develop its current and future strategy for environmental omics research. To achieve this, they are holding a community workshop in Birmingham on 2 May 2018, with the support of a focused working group, to provide evidence and advice on the future direction of environmental omics and to provide recommendations on the capability of the community to deliver omics based research.

Objectives of the workshop

  • To engage the environmental community in:
    • exploring key research opportunities within environmental omics (now and in the future)
    • exploring external factors that influence and impact on environmental omics (now and in the future).
  • To help develop NERC’s strategy for environmental omics.
  • To help consider capabilities needed to support a future strategy and omics research.

Workshop outputs

The results from the workshop will be collated into a report with the help of the working group, which will then be used to inform NERC’s strategy for omics. This report will also be used to support the future NERC strategy for supporting omics capability through services or facilities.

How to attend

NERC aim to offer places to everyone who would like to attend but, due to limitations in the venue capacity, they will allocate numbers across institutions should all places become full.

If you wish to apply to attend this workshop, please complete the online registration form. The closing date for registration is 16:00 on 17 April 2018. Submission does not guarantee attendance.

Once registration is confirmed, you will be asked some questions to aid the organisation and structure of the workshop.  NERC will pay travel costs associated with attendance.

Please click here for full details of this opportunity.

The impact of the enshrining of the research intensive university

teaching-vs-research-chartEarlier this year a large number of academics across the UK completed the biennial Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) run by Vitae. Looking through the responses from BU academics I was interested to note a number of conflicting responses on the theme of research vs education and which is more valued at BU, as well as in the sector as a whole. Some respondents reported that the primary focus is education, enhancing the student experience, student administration, etc. whilst other felt that research activity is valued ahead of education and that institutional developments over the past ten years have been to the advantage of research.

From an internal perspective I found this interesting for two main reasons:

1. The BU strategy focuses on fusion – the equal importance of education, research and professional practice and how these support and strengthen each other.

2. Is it a case of research vs education, i.e. two separate activities each vying for time, or are these mutually supportive activities?

Looking externally, however, it is clear that over the past 50 or so years the sector at large has enshrined the research-oriented university and therefore the role of the research-oriented academic as an ideal model. We can see this in the way the majority of the league tables are constructed, with research metrics playing a dominant role. We can see it in the stratification of universities with the ‘elite’ institutions being those that are considered research-intensive. And we can see it in the concentration of funding and sponsorship for research that flows into these institutions, enabling them to remain research orientated.

But what are the consequences of this? How does this impact on the HE sector at large?

For starters, it has created a stratified hierarchy among institutions and within the academy where arguably none need exist. Academia has a multitude of different missions that need to be addressed by the profession as a whole. The focus on research as the holy grail devalues the breadth and diversity of universities and undermines the role they all play in advancing society.

Erving_Goffman_128x128Secondly there is a link between the rise of the importance of the research intensive university and the increased managerialism of higher education, i.e. that higher education and research must be efficient and productive and measurable. This as a policy in itself is not a bad thing – high quality teaching depends on research, reputation is built on scholarly output, and reputation influences an institution’s ability to attract students and staff. This favours research-intensive institutions that earn significant amounts of income and can ensure research activity forms a central part (and in some cases the majority) of academics’ roles. There are, however, few institutions where the research model fits and works and it becomes detrimental to those not in the top few as it causes greater tensions between teaching (the bulk of the work), research (usually a small portion of work) and time/energy. I don’t believe that life is rosy for those academics in the top tier of institutions – the pressures placed upon them to perform, bring in more and more funding, produce better quality papers in the top journals, etc. must be enormous. But that is a different type of pressure to that experienced in universities such as BU where the tension between teaching and research and time are very real. Goffman described this tension by stating that it makes an academic career “perhaps as complex and troubled as the moral career of the mental patient”.

Fusion glow edgeI’m not sure what the answer is that gives this a happy ending. It is likely there isn’t one and the tensions will remain, but BU’s fusion strategy and the new academic career framework should ensure that, internally at least, all activities are equally valued. None of the information in this post is new, however, sometimes it does us good to step back from the precipice and acknowledge the tensions before deciding the next step. We need to continue to play the game of the research-oriented university as this is what the sector is increasingly basing itself upon, but we must do it in a way that is right for BU and doesn’t tie us all up in knots. Any thoughts?

New Year’s Research Resolution #3 – plan your research strategy

Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to work! Each day this week we’ll be posting a New Year’s Research Resolution to help you get back into the swing of things. Today’s resolution is to forward plan your research strategy.

WHY? – To ensure your time and efforts are utilised in the most effective and advantageous way then you should have an up to date research strategy. This should set out a plan of how you want your research to develop, what your goals are for the next year, three years, five years, fifteen years, etc., and the steps you need to take to get there. It should cover funding (internal and external), publishing and other activities, such as public engagement, that will support you to develop your career over the years.

HOW? The steps below will take you at least a couple of hours to work through and could take significantly longer. Working through them, however, will pay dividends as a plan will give structure and objectives for your short- and long-term research career development.

Ensure you are aware of the support available to you and the research strategy of your Faculty. Check out stage 1 of BU’s research lifecycleYour Research Strategy. This outlines the support and resources available to you when designing your research strategy, including support from RKEO, horizon scanning for future funding calls and policy news/issues, and support from the academic development schemes that BU offers. It also provides links to the most recent versions of the Faculty strategies.

 

Start to write your plan. Start by asking yourself what your ultimate goals are. These could be:

– to be the lead partner for a collaborative EU project

– to establish and lead a research centre or institute

– to publish an article in a leading journal

– to be a keynote speaker at a leading international conference

– for your research to result in a change to a national policy

– for your research to result in a significant benefit in the local community

– to land a senior academic position at a leading university in another country

Once you have these listed then put realistic dates against when you wish to achieve these.

 

Then work backwards and identify the steps you need to get there, setting yourself targets to achieve each task.

For example, if your goal is to lead a collaborative EU project then you will need to: ensure you are fully conversant with Horizon 2020 and EU strategy, join/establish a network (ideally to join one that has already had some EU success), apply for some internal funding (via the Fusion Investment Fund or the URA Programme) to undertake some pilot research, apply for small research grants (these help you to gather data and build a track record), engage with business/industry to undertake contract research, KTPs, consultancy, etc (this helps you to build your profile, make connections, build you track record, develop real-world case studies to support your teaching), publish your work in highly ranked journals and ensure your work is freely available (open access publication fund and via BURO), use your network to bid for EU funding with you as a work package leader, apply for a research fellowship, undertake some public engagement work, etc.

 

Set yourself success measures where appropriate and add in specifics. For example, if one of your interim goals is to publish in a journal then identify two or three journals highly ranked journals (such as Q1 journals on Web of Science or Scopus) that closely align to your research field and make your interim goal to specifically publish in one of these journals.

 

 

Review the interim tasks and think about the support you need to achieve these. Would additional support help you to achieve these goals? Maybe an industry-based mentor would help? Add these to your plan.

 

 

Share your plan (or at least parts of it) with those who can support you in making it a reality. For example, share your long-term bidding plan with the Research Facilitators in RKEO who can help you with horizon scanning, identifying potential funders and calls, shaping ideas, etc. Share the highlights of the plan with your line manager and Deputy Dean Research who can help you with time, support and resources.

 

 

Once you have finalised your plan then try not to be diverted from it and regularly check progress against your goals.

 

 

 

 

Sources of further information include:

Elsevier’s Charting a course for a successful research career

Strategic approaches to getting your work published

Academic career pathway diagram

The perfect academic career path (includes an excellent career path diagram from the ESRC)

Winning grant funding and writing papers for publication

Have your say in shaping BU’s RKE strategy – deadline extended!

The deadline for commenting on the draft Institutional Development Plan for RKE has been extended by one week to Friday 17th January.

As part of the delivery planning process in 2013, a draft institutional development plan for research and knowledge exchange (RKE) at BU was produced. The aim of the document was to set out a long-term plan for developing and supporting RKE activity to meet the objectives of the BU2018 strategy. The aim is to instigate the plan from early 2014.

The plan has been drafted and has been road tested with UET, URKEC and around 20 academics to date. We are now seeking views from the academic community on the plan as a whole and on specific elements of the plan. Your feedback, comments and ideas will feed into the final version which will be the blueprint for how RKE activity is supported and developed in the long-term.

Feedback and discussion will be facilitated online. Upon accessing the site you will be able to read the plan in its entirety and see the key elements on which we are seeking views and suggestions.

Click on one of the topics and you will be presented with a brief summary of what is being proposed as part of the institutional development plan. Beneath this text you will see the previous comments that have been left by colleagues. You are strongly encouraged to add a reply stating your own views and suggestions. This is especially important and will ensure that the academic community has shaped the support and development mechanism put in place. If you wish to feedback confidentially then please send your comments to Professor John Fletcher, cc’d to Julie Northam.

The aim of this website is to provide a forum to facilitate the discussion of the plan as a whole and the identified key elements. Providing feedback works in the same way as adding a comment to the Research Blog, i.e. you can add a comment and this will be visible to all other viewers. The site is password protected and the password is only available to BU staff from the Staff Intranet.

This feedback exercise will run from 28 November until 17 January. A final version of the plan will be circulated to all staff in early 2014.

The site is password protected to ensure only BU staff are able to contribute.  To access the password please see the story on the Staff Intranet: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/news/news/thismonth/rkefeedbackneeded.php

Strategic approaches to getting your work published

I read an extremely good article this week on Strategic Approaches to Getting Published, written by Phil Ward (University of Kent) as well as a presentation by Frances Bell (University of Leicester) (Developing a Publication Strategy).  Now that we’re in the assessment period for the next REF exercise (likely to be REF 2020) we need to focus on personal publication strategies.  This post shares some of the key messages and advice on personal publication strategies:

Have a publication strategy and review it every year or two – Try to keep in mind the direction in which you want your research to develop, and what publications will help to build your profile.  Try not to be diverted from this!  Your strategy should include different media and channels.  It should include information on your goals (what will you publish in the next week, year, five years, etc), uncertainties and development needs, and resources available to you (e.g. a mentor, peer review of your paper prior to submission, access to funds for open access charges, etc).  You should regularly check progress against your goals.

Balanced publications portfolio – Try and develop a balanced publication portfolio. You don’t always need to be targeting top journals, and sometimes you need to balance several factors:

  • Audience: who do you want to appeal to? Should you be thinking beyond your narrow disciplinary boundaries, or focussing more intensively on it?
  • Impact: do you want the findings of your research to be felt outside of academia?
  • Career Progression: will the publication help in the development of a strong CV?
  • REF: will the publication be a strong, positive contribution to your discipline?
  • Timing: do you need to get something out quickly, or work longer on a discipline-changing piece of research?
  • Co-authorship: would co-authorship help or hinder your publication record?
  • Open Access: will be increasingly important for the REF, but is it worth considering to help with your citations and the impact of your research?

Choosing the right journals – the ‘right journal’ is often viewed as being one with a high impact factor however this is an archaic and somewhat controversial system, and is based on the average number of citations over a two-five year period.  The system is open to abuse, and varies widely between disciplines.  However, it is still seen as a rough and ready indicator of esteem.

The following video is by Karin Dumstrei, Senior Editor at EMBO Journal.  It is worth 3 minutes of your time to watch and listen to the tips she gives!

Her advice for writing a journal article is to always:

  • Choose a project that excites you;
  • Tell a good story;
  • Select the right journal;
  • Avoid the three ‘don’ts’, namely: dont’ overstate your case, ignore others, or hold back data;
  • Be responsible with your data – i.e. say what you see rather than what you want to see.

High impact journals tend to have broader audiences, so you need to:

  • avoid jargon;
  • concentrate on the message;
  • write shorter articles (e.g. Science articles are generally 3-4 pages);
  • avoid too much detail. Additional data can be provided in ‘supplementary material’.
A good covering letter is essential.  It should summarise why your article is right for the journal you’re targeting.  Take time to get this right. Keep it succinct, but explain the novelty and importance of your research, and why you are approaching that journal in particular.
There are seven key tips for writing and publishing a journal article:
  • Title: make it engaging but keep it short, and avoid technical terms.  Also avoid terms which might give the impression of limited reach and significance of your research, e.g. ‘a local case study’ or ‘a small investigation’;
  • Story: structure your article round a good, cohesive, logical ‘story’;
  • Step Change: emphasise what makes your research important. Talk about ‘step changes’ rather than ‘incremental progresssions’;
  • Conclusion and Evaluation: a strong, persuasive and critical conclusion is essential for giving your paper clout;
  • Cover Letter: ‘sell’ your article and particularly why it is right for the journal you are targeting;
  • Feedback: get as much critical evaluation as possible;
  • Rejection: never take no for an answer.  Rejection is an inevitable part of the process. Don’t be discouraged, but take on board comments and criticism and keep trying be resubmitting.

Consider the role of social media in your publication strategy – social media has been shown to dramatically increase the academic and societal impact of research (see my previous posts on the benefits of using Twitter).  Social networking platforms such as Twitter are excellent for promoting and sharing your research, as are blogs either by writing your own blog, contributing posts to other blogs, or commenting on posts written by others.  Your publications strategy should include social media outlets.  For advice on using social media as part of your publication strategy please contact Sally Gates in the R&KEO.

Good luck!

Have your say in shaping BU’s RKE strategy

As part of the delivery planning process in 2013, a draft institutional development plan for research and knowledge exchange (RKE) at BU was produced. The aim of the document was to set out a long-term plan for developing and supporting RKE activity to meet the objectives of the BU2018 strategy. The aim is to instigate the plan from early 2014.

The plan has been drafted and has been road tested with UET, URKEC and around 20 academics to date. We are now seeking views from the academic community on the plan as a whole and on specific elements of the plan. Your feedback, comments and ideas will feed into the final version which will be the blueprint for how RKE activity is supported and developed in the long-term.

Feedback and discussion will be facilitated online. Upon accessing the site you will be able to read the plan in its entirety and see the key elements on which we are seeking views and suggestions.

Click on one of the topics and you will be presented with a brief summary of what is being proposed as part of the institutional development plan. Beneath this text you will see the previous comments that have been left by colleagues. You are strongly encouraged to add a reply stating your own views and suggestions. This is especially important and will ensure that the academic community has shaped the support and development mechanism put in place. If you wish to feedback confidentially then please send your comments to Julie Northam.

The aim of this website is to provide a forum to facilitate the discussion of the plan as a whole and the identified key elements. Providing feedback works in the same way as adding a comment to the Research Blog, i.e. you can add a comment and this will be visible to all other viewers. The site is password protected and the password is only available to BU staff from the Staff Intranet.

This feedback exercise will run from 28 November until 10 January. A final version of the plan will be circulated to all staff in early 2014.

The site is password protected to ensure only BU staff are able to contribute.  To access the password please see the story on the Staff Intranet: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/news/news/thismonth/rkefeedbackneeded.php

Have your say in shaping BU’s RKE strategy

As part of the delivery planning process in 2013, a draft institutional development plan for research and knowledge exchange (RKE) at BU was produced. The aim of the document was to set out a long-term plan for developing and supporting RKE activity to meet the objectives of the BU2018 strategy. The aim is to instigate the plan from early 2014.

The plan has been drafted and has been road tested with UET, URKEC and around 20 academics to date. We are now seeking views from the academic community on the plan as a whole and on specific elements of the plan. Your feedback, comments and ideas will feed into the final version which will be the blueprint for how RKE activity is supported and developed in the long-term.

Feedback and discussion will be facilitated online. Upon accessing the site you will be able to read the plan in its entirety and see the key elements on which we are seeking views and suggestions.

Click on one of the topics and you will be presented with a brief summary of what is being proposed as part of the institutional development plan. Beneath this text you will see the previous comments that have been left by colleagues. You are strongly encouraged to add a reply stating your own views and suggestions. This is especially important and will ensure that the academic community has shaped the support and development mechanism put in place. If you wish to feedback confidentially then please send your comments to Julie Northam.

The aim of this website is to provide a forum to facilitate the discussion of the plan as a whole and the identified key elements. Providing feedback works in the same way as adding a comment to the Research Blog, i.e. you can add a comment and this will be visible to all other viewers. The site is password protected and the password is only available to BU staff from the Staff Intranet.

This feedback exercise will run from 28 November until 10 January. A final version of the plan will be circulated to all staff in early 2014.

The site is password protected to ensure only BU staff are able to contribute.  To access the password please see the story on the Staff Intranet: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/news/news/thismonth/rkefeedbackneeded.php

Have your say in shaping BU’s RKE strategy

As part of the delivery planning process in 2013, a draft institutional development plan for research and knowledge exchange (RKE) at BU was produced. The aim of the document was to set out a long-term plan for developing and supporting RKE activity to meet the objectives of the BU2018 strategy. The aim is to instigate the plan from early 2014.

The plan has been drafted and has been road tested with UET, URKEC and around 20 academics to date. We are now seeking views from the academic community on the plan as a whole and on specific elements of the plan. Your feedback, comments and ideas will feed into the final version which will be the blueprint for how RKE activity is supported and developed in the long-term.

Feedback and discussion will be facilitated online. Upon accessing the site you will be able to read the plan in its entirety and see the key elements on which we are seeking views and suggestions.

Click on one of the topics and you will be presented with a brief summary of what is being proposed as part of the institutional development plan. Beneath this text you will see the previous comments that have been left by colleagues. You are strongly encouraged to add a reply stating your own views and suggestions. This is especially important and will ensure that the academic community has shaped the support and development mechanism put in place. If you wish to feedback confidentially then please send your comments to Julie Northam.

The aim of this website is to provide a forum to facilitate the discussion of the plan as a whole and the identified key elements. Providing feedback works in the same way as adding a comment to the Research Blog, i.e. you can add a comment and this will be visible to all other viewers. The site is password protected and the password is only available to BU staff from the Staff Intranet.

This feedback exercise will run from 28 November until 10 January. A final version of the plan will be circulated to all staff in early 2014.

The site is password protected to ensure only BU staff are able to contribute.  To access the password please see the story on the Staff Intranet: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/news/news/thismonth/rkefeedbackneeded.php

Research and the role of the university…

Last week the Guardian wrote a story about the role of universities in the 21st century and how the coalition government’s higher education reform is raising questions about the purpose of universities  (‘What are universities for?‘, 10 October 2011). And this got me thinking about why we’re all here, what the role of a university such as BU should be, and where does research fit into all of this…?

The role of a university has been debated since the nineteenth century. In 1852 Cardinal Newman wrote that the sole function of a university was to teach universal knowledge, embodying the idea of ‘the learning university’. Newman believed that knowledge is valuable and important for its own sake and not just for its perceived use to society (this is very different from the current thinking on the importance of research impact, public accountability and the value of research findings to society at large, issues which I imagine Newman would have thought of as irrelevant!). There was not a great deal in Newman’s work about the importance of research in a university, but research was beginning to play the starring role in mainland Europe where Prussian education minister Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote of the concept of ‘the research university’ and eventually set up the Humboldt University of Berlin. After the Napoleonic Wars, von Humboldt’s view was that the research university was a tool for national rebuilding through the prioritisation of graduate research over undergraduate teaching. This model soon became the blueprint for the rest of Europe, the United States and Japan. Arguably the Russell Group universities are today still structured in a similar way to that envisaged by von Humboldt two hundred years ago.

Moving into the twentieth century and we come across American educationalist Abraham Flexner who wrote of ‘the modern university’. In Flexner’s view universities had a responsibility to pursue excellence, with academic staff being able to seamlessly move from the research lab to the classroom and back again. The pursuit of excellence features in many universities strategies, and sounds very similar to the message conveyed by the REF team as part of the REF2014 guidance. The union of research and education also sounds similar to the current structure of many UK universities.

Taking into account the complexity of universities in the twenty first century, however, all of these views are a little too simplistic. Today’s universities have much broader remits and have to be all three ideas of a university – learning, research and modern. The universities minister David Willetts describes universities as institutions that “push forward the frontiers of knowledge” and “transform people’s lives”, significantly contributing to society and the economy. Peter McCaffery notes that universities now regularly encompass four roles:

  • Finishing school (the last stage of general education)
  • Professional school (the training of elite workers)
  • Knowledge factory (the production of science, technology and ideology)
  • Cultural institution (the expression of our individual and collective sense of being)

This is a huge remit for universities to take on, but makes them exciting places to work!

A quick look at the mission statements of a handful of UK universities indicates a common purpose based on the views of all of the aforementioned scholars:

  • “…to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence” (Cambridge)
  • “…to pursue and share knowledge and understanding, both for their own sake and to help individuals and society fulfil their potential” (Bristol)
  • “…to pursue research, learning and teaching of international distinction and impact” (Cardiff)

The creation and sharing of new knowledge and new ideas has become the principal purpose of many modern universities. In Northern and Western Europe and North America the university has become the key producer of knowledge (through research) and the key sharer of knowledge (through teaching).  The University of Bristol’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Eric Thomas claims that universities are the knowledge engines of our society having produced the vast majority of society’s breakthroughs and innovations, such as: the computer, the web, the structure of DNA, Dolly the Sheep, and the fibre optic cable. Where would we be without these breakthroughs, and would they have come about so quickly without university research?

Being part of an environment in which knowledge creation thrives creates a unique and amazing learning experience for students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. BU’s focus on the fusion of research, education and professional practice enables the creation of this type of environment through the continuous and valuable exchange of knowledge (BU2018).

By engaging with research, academics can ensure their knowledge is cutting edge and relevant, ensure students receive a quality learning experience, and deliver high quality professional practice. If you’re interested in getting more involved with research, talk to the Research Development Unit and we’ll get you started!

Finally… What do you think the role of the twenty first century university is??

Hot off the press this week – 4 new EU calls for proposals and tenders!

Calls for Proposals
Information, Training & Assistance Centres in Latin America: Proposals should ensure the visibility of European satellite navigation activities, monitor local satellite navigation initiatives and support the EU satellite navigation industry through support of information, training and assistance centres and activities, in Latin America. Deadline 15.09.11

Youth Support Systems: This call for proposals aims at supporting partnerships with regions, municipalities, civil society actors and bodies active in corporate social responsibility in order to develop over the long-term projects which combine various measures of the ‘Youth in Action’ programme. This mechanism aims at encouraging synergies and cooperation between the European Commission — via the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency — and the different actors working in the field of youth by pooling resources and practices with a view to maximising the impact of the programme and to reaching out to a higher number of beneficiaries. Deadline 03.11.11

Calls for Tenders
Stimulating Innovation for EU Enterprises through ICT: The objective of this action is to assess the policy context, concept, implementation, results and economic impact of the EU policy initiative eBSN (eBusiness support network for SMEs), focusing in particular on the initiative on ‘Stimulating innovation for European enterprises through smart use of ICT’, encompassing a series of industry-specific demonstration actions to stimulate innovation among European SMEs through smart use of ICTs. Deadline 06.10.11

Guidance for Active Age Management – Supporting Longer Working Lives of Older Workers: The aim of this Europe-wide study is to investigate how lifelong guidance is embedded in the European Union and national policies and strategies on active ageing as well as in employer’s age management strategies supporting older workers’ (55+) lifelong learning and skills development, and within this context to what extent various guidance services available to this target group in real terms address the issue of staying longer in employment (instead of making an early exit from working life). Deadline 26.09.11

BU Research Impact event is a success!

Last Friday BU held an internal Research Impact event to share the success of the excellent research that has been undertaken by BU academics. The focus of the event was on how this research has had an impact outside of academia, for example an impact on society, the economy, quality of life, culture, policy, etc.

REF logoFor the forthcoming REF2014 BU will be required to include a number of research impact case studies as part of the submission. This is a new element to the REF (previously the RAE) and the HE sector has been grappling with the concept of impact for a number of years now.

The event, attended by over 75 BU staff, opened with a presentation from Prof Matthew Bennett (Pro Vice Chancellor – Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation) on BU’s future research strategy, planning for the REF, and how to develop and evidence research impact.

Part of the presentation focused on the BU Research Themes which are currently being identified and defined through academic consultation via the Research Blog. This is still in the early stages but Matthew presented the ten draft themes that are emerging. You can comment on the emerging themes here.

There were 35 impact case studies presented in total with most units of assessment (UOAs) presenting three case studies. At the end of each presentation members of the audience critiqued the case study and offered advice as to how the strengthen and maximise the impact claim.

Attendees were encouraged to go to impact case study presentations from different UOAs/Schools to find out about research that is undertaken in different areas of the University. Stronger impact case studies can also be developed with input from different disciplines.

The event was also attended by key staff from Marketing & Communications who will be working with UOA Leaders to develop and enhance impact case studies between now and the REF submission in autumn 2013.

There has been much positive feedback received from attendees and we are considering whether this should now be an annual event, celebrating the success of BU research and its benefit to society.

Many thanks to all the presenters and attendees, and everyone who supported the event and made it such a success! 😀

We are now seeking feedback on the impact case studies presented. These are all available on the I-drive (I:\CRKT\Public\RDU\REF\REF event May 2011\impact case study presentations). Please could you email your feedback to Anita Somner in the Research Development Unit by Friday 3 June. Anita will then anonymise and collate the feedback and share it with the UOA Leaders.

For further information on impact see the impact pages on the HEFCE website or our previous BU Research Blog posts on impact.

RCUK delivery plan published

RCUK logoLast week Research Councils UK (RCUK) published its new delivery plan. The plan sets out the programme of collective activities for the period 2011-2015, building on the strategic objectives set out in the RCUK Strategic Vision.

The collective work that the Research Councils do as RCUK will cover two broad areas: delivering excellence with impact and enhancing efficiency.

The RCUK programme, detailed in the Delivery Plan, contributes to:

  • Co-ordinating multidisciplinary research to address societal challenges
  • Maximising the impact of the research funded by Research Councils
  • Supporting research in the international context
  • Ensuring a continued pipeline of highly skilled researchers for the sustained health of the research base, and for wider economic and societal benefit
  • Engaging the public with the research.

Collaboration and multidisciplinary research will continue to be supported through the six cross-Council themes:

Research Councils will also work collectively to both improve the efficiency of their own operations and drive enhanced efficiency in the wider research base.

For further information read the full RCUK Delivery Plan

Future BU research themes – have your say!

Following the current refresh of Vision & Values led by the Vice Chancellor Professor John Vinney the intention is to look again at the research and enterprise strategy for BU.

There are likely to be two big elements of change: one is a shift to talking about research as an all embracing term for not only the creation of knowledge but also its dissemination through enterprise and professional practice, and the other is a move towards a more outward facing approach led by the large societal themes both of the day and of the future.  This will position BU to respond more effectively to the big research questions; those associated with the funding and societal impact.  As the first step towards this we are trying to identify a series of broad themes or communities of interest around which we can focus and foster a more collegial and collaborative research mission. 

Identifying these themes or communities is something we wish to engage all staff in.  In the short term these themes and communities will be used to promote our research via the web through a shift to a more narrative based approach rather than one based on our internal structures as at present. 

To start this process off we looked first at the key funding themes for the research councils and other large funders and then ‘road-tested’ them via the BU Professoriate to come up with a long list of possible research themes or communities of interest.  I am now seeking your input via a survey; what themes speak to you? What themes would your research fit under? What are we are missing?  The survey takes less than two minutes to complete. Your participation is very much appreciated and will help directly shape not only the way in which we promote our research via the BU website but also our future research strategy.

To complete the survey click here!

 The survey is open until Monday 2 May.

 

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation)