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Growing and developing our research culture to build a vibrant research community


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Developing leading research and academic enterprise is a strategic priority for Leeds Beckett University. Professor Cathy Barnes, Director of Research and Enterprise, explains how we plan to grow and develop our research activity and culture.

Growing and developing our research culture to build a vibrant research community

“Strong, sustainable universities need the right balance between teaching and research. Our plans are to build a culture where teaching and research go hand in hand in our academic world to build the future of our university”, says Professor Cathy Barnes.

“We aim to enhance our research so Leeds Beckett is a university to be reckoned with, a university that sits within its geographical region – within Leeds and Yorkshire but one that does excellent research as well.  To do that we need to fundamentally change some of the things we do and we have appointed a number of professors to the role of Director of Research to grow some of the research within their area so that we can become much better at both teaching and research”, said Cathy.

“Last year we made incredible progress achieving £20.3m of additional income through our research and enterprise activities with almost £3m just from research. This is an incredible achievement for our university and one we hope to continue to build on in future years”, said Cathy. It enables us to grow our reputation, attract more Government funding and invest more in research to build our research community.

The Government is currently reviewing research and it is likely to bring big changes. There is a consultation on a new Research Excellence Framework (REF) and it is proposed that rather than choosing a number of academics to submit research papers, every research active member of staff can potentially submit papers. So a priority for the Research and Enterprise Service is to support all academics to do the best they can right across the research and enterprise framework

“If we improve our positon within the Research Excellence Framework it may mean more money from Government so we need everyone to work really hard on that”, said Cathy.

The other aspect is to grow the number of doctoral students we have. “This will help increase our income and develop a much more vibrant research community, building from the grassroots all the way up”, said Cathy. Alongside this, our peer review process implemented in January 2015 is providing essential support to academic staff applying for funding and driving up the quality of external research applications. During the academic year 2015/16 the University Research Office together with senior academics undertook peer reviews on 91 proposals and further panel meetings took place for European Union, Research Councils UK and other prestigious funders.

There has also been some significant work taking place to build our research capability with 35 staff training workshops involving 272 staff since September 2016 and 43 student training workshops involving 312 students since October 2016.

To find out more about the support available for research click here.

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