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Case study 3 – Project development – (Simon Jones) How to suck eggs… Simon’s 15 minute guide to the bloody obvio PowerPoint Presentation
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Case study 3 – Project development – (Simon Jones) How to suck eggs… Simon’s 15 minute guide to the bloody obvious….

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Case study 3 – Project development – (Simon Jones)How to suck eggs…Simon’s 15 minute guide to the bloody obvious…

My instructions:“talk about how you have taken a research theme (remote sensing) and built a research group (culture) around this theme”. (too specific / boring for you)“What was the catalyst that lead to the critical mass you now have and how does your group provide support and encouragement to those undertaking the different projects”. (OK)“It would be good to follow on from this with some comment on what was involved in setting up the projects”. (a bit specific but I’ll give it a go)

“You could talk about how further research projects have come through building up a track record of successful projects. How does the group maintain its profile and how does it tell the world about the research achievements?” (you said 15 minutes!!)

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What was the catalyst that lead to the critical mass you now have and how does your group provide support and encouragement to those undertaking the different projects.

Catalysts:

  • Critical mass: people -the most important asset
    • Inside & outside RMIT
    • Always employ / collaborate with people more gifted than yourself,
      • you do not want compliance you want to be tested & stretched
  • Support
  • Complement-arity (key issue for SET)
    • Identify a key need for a technology in a parallel field of science
    • A marriage made in heaven e.g. RS & ecology
  • Opportunities
    • Be aware of opportunities by keeping up-to-date
      • Play a role in your professional society
    • Maintain currency with government departments / industry
      • Listen to the problem do not just try & impose your research agenda on them
      • Say no when appropriate but be open to opportunities
  • Divert some of your grant monies into “pure” unaligned research
  • Interlink your (sub) projects
    • Synergistic
    • Go with some left fielders (very unfashionable)
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What was the catalyst that lead to the critical mass you now have and how does your group provide support and encouragement to those undertaking the different projects.

Support & Encouragement:

  • Respect.
    • We must treat HDR students (as scholars & employees)
    • The most important resource in a university is its people.
    • Our job -protect them from an often poor system
  • Knowledge
    • Know your research area
    • Know the Uni / academic culture
    • Know the Context of your research (reflection)
  • Environment
    • Create sense of common space or community
    • Create stability
  • Opportunities
    • Create opportunities (see previous slide)
    • Make sure all sectors of your group attend conferences and meetings (this should be a large portion of your budget)
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What was the catalyst that lead to the critical mass you now have and how does your group provide support and encouragement to those undertaking the different projects.

Support & Encouragement: cont…

  • Communication
    • Have regular meetings
    • Be respectful / approachable
    • Hold both 1on1 & group meetings
    • Foster a feeling of being part of a research community
    • Make sure meetings are short & to the point (if not cancel them)
  • Transparency (don’t have secrets)
    • Encourage staff / students to speak their mind
    • Share your budget
    • Its an apprenticeship
comment on what was involved in setting up the projects
“…comment on what was involved in setting up the projects”

WARNING NO RMIT MONIES HAVE BEEN SPENT ON THIS WORK

  • Have a vision of what you want to achieve
    • I do not mean research bullshit metric outputs (these are important but are natural outcomes)
    • What are you researching & why?
    • Have a plan but don’t be rigid
  • What do you need to achieve this?
    • The VC gives you $500,000; What would spend if this to you?
    • How will you attract the right people?
  • Do look outside of this portfolio / uni for collaboration and inspiration
  • Try to engineer your research so that it has players at all levels final year / honours, Masters, PhD and Postdocs, exp researchers
  • Be in the thinking of your boss (Harass your HoS / HoD)
  • Be nice to your finance officer
    • Use your finance team, let them do their job / get them to do yours
  • Let go / do not micro-manage
    • If you employ / instruct someone to do something let them do it
some other thoughts priorities
Some other thoughts / priorities
  • Fund the fundamentals
    • Back performing researchers
    • Get your stats right
  • Do listen to your colleagues even the disenfranchised and confused ones who have been addled by years of RMIT bureaucracy they have a wisdom that is priceless
  • Break the Rules
  • Don’t try & emulate / be yourself
    • If you’re not a team player / don’t like people collaborate virtually
  • Do read research list
  • Be eternally vigilant there are always forces either active or random that will try and sweep you away
  • Be happy (its meant to be fun you’ve got the best job in the world)