Research and Innovation: staff consultation on new structure

January 25th, 2022

Research and Innovation (R&I) staff are being consulted on a new operating structure aiming to improve ways of working, enhance performance and enabling colleagues to have more impact in the delivery of the university’s research strategy over the next five years.

R&I Director Pip Peakman is leading the consultation, which closes on Wednesday 9 February 2022.

She said: “The university’s research strategy for 2022-27 aims is to increase the quality of our research and allow us to be better prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead. To help deliver this, we are investing in the Research and Innovation team, so we can strengthen academic support, be more agile in anticipating and seizing funding opportunities and be more strategic and focused.”

The number of posts within Research and Innovation will increase under the proposed restructure. New roles will be introduced, some existing roles will change and others will remain the same.  Affected staff are being consulted over the proposed changes and being made aware of the options and opportunities open to them.

Pip Peakman added: “I understand that any change brings uncertainty and can be very unsettling, but it is important to stress that this restructure is around enhancing resource within Research and Innovation.

“There will be more posts than we currently have and we will increase our ability to meet the research and knowledge exchange support needs of the university. This added investment is also a vote of confidence in R&I.”

The proposed restructure will enhance R&I’s capacity to support transdisciplinary research projects and cross-faculty responses to strategic challenges facing the UK such as achieving zero carbon.

Pip Peakman added: “Feedback from colleagues both internal and external to R&I suggested identifying ways to better support faculties and Professional Services, whilst improving cross-team working and becoming more agile and sustainable. I believe that the proposed changes will help address these challenges.”

There will be a renewed emphasis on:

  • partnering with faculties and Assistant Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Knowledge Exchange
  • improving ways of working with Professional Services
  • performance analytics capacity and capabilities
  • empowering staff and reorganisation of line management to break down silos
  • dedicated resource to address research risk and governance associated with trusted research
  • enhanced management of research strategy initiatives
  • dedicated relationship management with UKRI and other key funders.
  • enhanced corporate and SME engagement and partnerships
  • embedding international activity across the whole of R&I

To support these goals, R&I is proposing forming a new Research and KE Excellence and Strategy Division to monitor performance and delivery of the research strategy and to support the university’s commitment to a vibrant and inclusive research culture.

This team will work closely with the Researcher Academy to ensure that the whole research community, including early career researchers and postgraduate researchers, feel fully involved in delivery of the research strategy and supported in achieving their potential.

Following consultation with affected R&I staff and a period of restricted and non-restricted recruitment, it is anticipated that all affected staff will be in post by May 2022.

Colleagues with questions about the proposals are invited to speak to their line manager or contact

FAQs for R&I staff are regularly up-dated and senior managers are offering one-to-one drop-in sessions.

Pip Peakman added: “We are working hard with colleagues across Research and Innovation to ensure these proposed changes are informed by your insights and expertise. We can all be proud of the dedication of our amazing teams and your continuing support during this consultation will allow us to further improve our performance and deliver new ways of collaborative and effective working.

This will allow us to enhance our contribution to the university’s ambitions to further improve the quality of our world-class research and knowledge exchange. The Roadmap represents a significant increase in staff investment to provide a re-organised structure which optimises our ways our ways of working and delivers maximum benefits in line with the ambitions of the emerging University Research Strategy and Knowledge Exchange Strategic Delivery Plan.”

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