September 26th, 2023
Research and Innovation (R&I) is rolling out further improvements and enhanced programmes designed to improve the researcher experience and strengthen support throughout the research project lifecycle.
Its latest programme has focused on delivering faster sign-off of research contracts, which are fundamental to getting collaborative projects off the ground and releasing funding. Contracts frequently involve multiple partners and demand complex assurance to protect the integrity of the university.
R&I’s contracts team may have more than 1,000 contracts on their books at any one time but investment in additional resources and optimising processes means more projects are getting their contracts completed faster and the team have seen a 60% reduction in completion times since 2020. The next phase will focus on securing the all-important project code, so that research projects can get off the ground and retention of researchers is improved.
The new approach will lead to low-risk projects getting a code quicker, rather than waiting for full contract sign-off. Where sign-off on contracts may be held-up by partners, for example, a letter of intent will secure progress. Such advances will be adapted and applied across the full spectrum of research contracts over the coming months.
This progress has been achieved as part of the R&I Roadmap which was delivered under the leadership of R&I Director Pip Peakman, who is leaving the university at the end of September. Over the past four years Pip has overseen the transition of Research and Innovation to a new operating structure, which has strengthened support to academics and allowed R&I to be more agile in anticipating and seizing funding opportunities.
Pip said: “I have been consistently humbled and impressed by the knowledge, skills and dedication shown by so many of my colleagues. We can all take pride in our fantastic achievements.
“We are better equipped to meet the challenges of our industry. Research funding is a complex, competitive and regulated environment and we have worked hard to provide faster and more agile responses and enhancing the delivery of support services.
“R&I is also continuing to work towards securing the position of the Researcher Academy as sector-leading in terms of the support and training we offer to researchers at every stage of their career.”
Professor Sam Kingman, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “Pip has made a tremendous contribution to the enabling and delivery of world-class research at the University of Nottingham.
“Under the new joint leadership of Niall O’Loughlin, Director of RKE Excellence and Strategy, and Rachel Brereton, Director of Research & Innovation Operations, we can look forward to further progress in improving the researcher experience, focus on key areas to support the delivery of the university’s research strategy, and preparations for the next Research Excellence Framework.”
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