Research and innovation challenges excellence and sustainability
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Research and Innovation Challenges: Excellence and Sustainability. Trevor McMillan Low Wood, January 2009. What is currently seen as research excellence?. Novel findings, thoughts and analyses that are highly respected by: global peers potential users funders.

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Research and Innovation Challenges:Excellence and Sustainability

Trevor McMillan

Low Wood, January 2009

What is currently seen as research excellence?

  • Novel findings, thoughts and analyses that are highly respected by:

    • global peers

    • potential users

    • funders.

  • The attraction of high quality research staff and students that receive a stimulating and effective “apprenticeship”

  • A research governance framework that is fit for purpose

How do we achieve research excellence?

  • Academic staff at the leading edge of their discipline

  • A vibrant research community

  • Capable and well motivated research staff and students.

  • A world class physical and support infrastructure.

  • Active collaboration with world class researchers

  • Pro-active engagement with users of research

  • Full engagement with research funders.

  • Diverse funding streams.

Where are we now?RAE 2008: The University Profile

  • 90% staff returned (611 fte)

  • 92% activity of international standing +

  • 61% 3*+4*

  • 16th-19th without intensity correction

  • 9th-10th with intensity correction

  • 12th for % 3+4* without intensity correction

  • 2 units with all 2,3,4*

  • 5 units in top 5 (221 staff)

  • 3 units with 5% unclassified

RAE 2008: GPA

QR income per FTE

08/09 QR income set against FTE return in 20089 RAE.

The University sub-profiles.

RAE 2008: % World leading outputs

HESA 06/07

Conclusions from RAE 2008

  • Maintained positions in University league tables

  • Strengths in Physics, LUMS, Sociology recognised.

  • Important steps for LICA, Biomedicine and Computing.

  • A number of units OK but we need them to be better.

  • PhD numbers not high enough

  • 4* papers need to be higher

  • Income not bad but should be better

  • Work at esteem.

  • Financial implications yet to come.

Current drivers to bear in mind

  • Economic impact

  • Research excellence framework

  • International positioning

Improving the performance of existing businesses

Delivering highly skilled people to the labour market



Improving public policy and public services

Creating new businesses

Attracting R&D investment from global business

Economic impact of research as seen by RCUK.

Prof A Smith

How should we measure our performance?



PhD completion rates

High citation staff

RC Funded Centres

Funded fellowships

Esteem indicators (e.g. FRS)

Staff involvement (grants, PGR)

  • REF metrics

    • Research income

    • PhD student numbers

    • Citations

  • HEBCI metrics

    • Research income with/from industry

    • SME interaction

    • IP exploitation

Improving key metrics

Increase PGRs

Increase citations

Fully functional institutional repository for outputs and data

Support publication in open access journals

Improve international profile of the University

Examine publication strategies

(multiple “short” v single “long”)

Preferred journals

  • Develop the “package”: A Lancaster University Graduate School

  • Find more student funding

  • Consider different formats e.g. the Professional Doctorates, KTPs

  • Advertise well with our own students and others

  • Ensure we have processes that facilitate completion

Improving key metrics

Increase R income

Increase R with users

Fully functional institutional CRM function.

Recognise significance of the industry related activity

Develop Centres of Excellence

Student placements/KTPs etc.

Ensure that internal processes encourage user interaction

  • Follow the funding

  • Staff mentoring and grant “screening”

  • More resource support

  • Better funders intelligence

  • Increase income from users

  • Maximise philanthropic giving

Is our infrastructure good enough?

Do we have appropriate and high enough quality:

  • research support and information?

  • financial models?

  • research intelligence?

  • buildings and equipment?

  • recruitment processes?

  • library and IT functions?

  • workload and promotions criteria?

  • web presence

For discussion groups....

What are the 3 or 4 priorities for enhancing our performance in research and innovation and how should we address them?

Broad challenges/priorities?

  • Recruit and support high quality research staff

  • More funded and prestigious fellowships

  • Refresh the Lancaster Graduate School

  • Review our research portfolio

  • Increase the visibility of our outputs

  • Ensure high quality research infrastructure (physical and administrative) and governance

  • Enhance our user friendliness

  • Maximize the international profile of our research

  • Focus on, and fund the required approaches and initiatives to prepare for REF.

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