Creating a thriving research environment


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Workshop by Justin Hutchence (Research Staff Development Manager, University of Reading) and Christos Petichakis (Educational Developer, University of Liverpool) at the Vitae event 'Preparing for the Research Excellence Framework: Researcher development, the environment and future impact' on 11 July 2012 in Manchester

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  • Positive working experienceMentoring; collaborations; Networking; part of an engaged research community; interdisciplinarity; quality professional development; annual review and planning; employment stability; transparency and clarity of institutional processes; funding opportunities; unbiased career advise; unbiased research intelligence support; taking responsibility of own career through strengthening publication and funding record; researcher forums and annual event to facilitate rich exchange of ideas and opinions; annual prizes to raise awareness of contributions made by postdocs; information handbooks and guides
  • Creating a thriving research environment

    1. 1. Creating a thriving research environment Dr Justin Hutchence, University of ReadingDr Christos Petichakis, University of Liverpool
    2. 2. Participants should be able to gain from this session:• A better understanding of what a thriving research environment may look like in the context of the REF• Ways in which HEI central services can support units of assessment in developing a thriving research environment• (Unless already discussed in the earlier parts of the event, the presenters will explore the limits and challenges faced when sharing good practice amongst competing institutions)
    3. 3. What does a thriving research environment look like?
    4. 4. Elements of a thriving research environment:Researchers making explicit plans with their advisors at the outset of theirappointment were more productive and satisfied with their experience than thosethat had not (Davis, 2009)Those who do not actively plan their career tend to be less engaged and take lessadvantage of opportunities on offer (CROS 2009/11)Researchers are provided with information and advice about different careerswithin and outside academia (Mellors-Bourne and Metcalfe 2009)Tackling isolation as it impacts on ability to perform effectively and on researchproductivity (Moss and Kubachi, 2007)Addressing the ambiguity of RS status in terms of employment and role (Nerad andCerny, 1999)As well as: mentoring, collaborative opportunities, interdisciplinarity, qualityprofessional development, annual review, provision of research intelligence, strongpublications/funding
    5. 5. Thriving environment in research groups Ability to deliver project on time Creativity Develop researchers Doing “good” researchA team thatfunctions well together Demonstrating Impact Networking
    6. 6. What can central services do to support a thriving research environment?a. Which central servicesb. Processes they can facilitate/coordinatec. Policies that may impact on the processes
    7. 7. Central support for a thriving research environment• Research & Enterprise Development – Facilitating links with business, social enterprise and other outside organisations – Supporting funding applications – Facilitating impact – Promoting interdisciplinary research – IP support and advice
    8. 8. Central support for a thriving research environment• Finance – Clear, understandable and reliable financial reporting which can easily be interrogated – Information management and research intelligence gathering – Procurement
    9. 9. Central support for a thriving research environment• IT Services – Provision of specialist support if needed – Research data management services – Portals to facilitate collaborative research – High Performance computing – Reliability and security
    10. 10. Central support for a thriving research environment• Quality Assurance for Research – Code of good practice for the conduct of research – Auditing research groups – Research governance and ethics
    11. 11. Central support for a thriving research environment• Development and Support – Research Leadership – Developing PIs as career coaches – Research Group management – Skills training for research staff and PhD students – Mentoring – Research planning and review – Engagement with national initiatives e.g. concordat implementation, RDF, Vitae resources, HR Badge
    12. 12. Central support for a thriving research environment• Human Resources – support for Principal Investigators in managing their staff – rewards and promotion for PIs & RS – Redeployment – Policy review and transparency – Diversity and equality – Attraction and retention of high calibre researchers
    13. 13. Central support for a thriving research environment• Library – Provision of postgraduate study rooms – scholarly infrastructure and content to support world class research (journal subscriptions and archives) – Training provision on range of research topics – Institutional research repositories
    14. 14. Central support for a thriving research environment• Facilities management and infrastructure – State of the art research facilities – Equipment and technical support – Access to worldwide research networks
    15. 15. Central support for a thriving research environment• Social dimension (facilitating rich exchange of ideas and opinions) – Annual researcher conference – Poster day – RC Yes competitions – Researcher forums – Enterprise schools – Alumni networks
    16. 16. Central support for a thriving research environment• Learning and Teaching centre – Research led teaching initiatives • Research content • Research processes • Research methods – Supervision – Peer assessment, peer review, critical thinking, reflective practice, teamwork
    17. 17. Not so “central” support for a thriving research environment• School/Departmental administration – Aspects of induction – Health and Safety – HR matters – Finance support – Protect research time
    18. 18. Institutional Policies that may impact on the research environment• Management of permanent, fixed-term and open-ended contracts• Diversity and equality of opportunity• Role evaluation scheme (HERA)• Redeployment policy• Policy on research ethics
    19. 19. Promoting Equality and Diversity• Training staff on equality and diversity – see examples of practice (Equality Challenge Unit)-• Examples and case studies on handling complex cases for reduction of required output – Scenario presented – Scenario analysed and rationale of decision offered – materials/complex-circumstances-examples
    20. 20. What support do we need from Vitae
    21. 21. Feeding back key workshop outcomes1.2.3.