As a Faculty Leadership Team, this week we decided that to keep our colleagues informed about what is going on within the Faculty and wider University, the Associate Deans should take turns to write blog posts‚Ķ…somehow I find myself first on the list!

Having thought how best to approach this, I have decided to give you all an idea of what the job of Associate Dean Research entails, hopefully also highlighting to you a number of issues around research that are important to make you aware of.

Monday morning started as most weeks do, with a meeting with the Research Support Office team. This is to discuss up coming grant deadlines, applications from the Faculty in preparation, and how to target the advertising of grant opportunities we have become aware of, whether through the Faculty funding newsletter, an all-staff newsletter (if there is a short deadline) and /or targeted communication with individuals.

Tuesday: today I met with Communications and Marketing to discuss the Health and Healthcare Public Lecture series. This is a series of five public lectures held in London this year to showcase our University’s research. The first was on the value of public health research to the NHS and featured Simon Stevens, Head of NHS England, together with speakers from Medicine and Health Sciences. There will be further events this year with themes including respiratory, ageing, maternal health and cancer. You can find our more and see some of the videos form the first event here.

Wednesday: today was the first of two days of PURE training sessions for the Faculty. PURE is the new Research Information system that the University is adopting. All academic staff and PhD Students will have profiles on the PURE system with information on publications, research projects and grant awards, and impact being recorded. PURE will go live in later in the spring and will become the new interface for e-prints, the University’s institutional repository for publications.

PURE is the system that will enable us to comply with the HEFCE Open Access mandate for the next REF exercise (copies of publications need to be uploaded into a institutional repository within three months of acceptance to be eligible for the next REF) and the Research Councils research data requirements. For more on these see the excellent research support pages on the library website.

Thursday started with a Faculty Leadership Team meeting. We received good news from the finance team who told us that this year the Faculty’s research grant applications are on track for another record year, as are awards. This is great news and it is down to the hard work from all of you writing and submitting grant applications. However, all this activity mean that our wonderful Faculty finance team has been stretched at times, preparing costings for grants, and it is more important than ever you give them as much time as possible before a grant deadline to prepare these. They do a great job in working to short deadlines but cannot work miracles.

The afternoon involved a change of scene with a trip to Highfield for a meeting of the Research Integrity and Governance group. This group oversees University policies around research such as ethics, research integrity, research misconduct and conflicts of interest. Today’s discussion included how we can provide better guidance for researchers on the ethics process on the University Researcher Portal.

Finally, the week ended with a meeting on Friday at 4pm with the Faculty REF planning team to discuss the best way to gather evidence of the impact of our research, and provide training around impact leading towards the next REF.

Somewhere in between all of this I worked on a grant application, met with my PhD students, answered many, many, (too many!) emails, and, best of all, celebrated with my lab the acceptance of a great paper (remembering of course to set myself a reminder to upload the accepted version of the manuscript to e-prints next week…)!

I hope this has given you an idea of some of what is going on in the research arena in the Faculty and I look forward to keeping you informed through this blog.


A week in the life of the Associate Dean Research

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