Board member news

Maintaining research excellence

Earlier this year I was tasked by the Vice-Chancellor to lead Research Forward, a project aimed at increasing research income and volume, building on the excellent REF2014 results, and establishing a framework that will shape preparations for REF 2020.

This is something we would want to do regardless of a REF. As a university we are focussing on excellence and want to maintain our position as a top 10 UK university and become a top 100 global institution.

Whatever happens with any future REF, which may be as far away as 2021, we want to be in a position to enter all our staff and to ensure that we have the research outputs and impact case studies to back those submissions.

The project comprised five themes research income, research excellence, impact, outputs and citations, and postgraduate research. It assessed where we are now, and what we need to do in order to achieve our goals as set out in The Way Forward, and submit a more inclusive and larger return in 2020.

The paper which went to Senate on 18 November, represented a major piece of work, involving a number of academic and professional services colleagues from across the university.

We know that to achieve our ambitions we have to provide staff with clear aims and goals, and also offer them high quality and consistent support and development opportunities.

I will be discussing the outcomes of the project with senior staff and directors of research, and will follow this up with all three College boards in December.

A rolling REF, learning from the outcomes of the pilot held in AHSS, will be established on a University-wide basis at the beginning of 2016.