The Transforming Research Management Project has reached a key point in its development. The first steps to establish consistently structured, dedicated Research Support Teams in each college as part of the Transforming Research Management (TRM) project are now being taken. These teams will centre on the new roles of Project Coordinator who will be responsible for providing end-to-end research management support to our PIs throughout the lifecycle of a project. The college teams will be supported by redefined specialist Research Support teams within University Services.
As well as introducing the Research Support Teams, the project will also deliver a new Research System which will enable the creation and workflow of research activity across the full project life cycle. There has been significant input from across the University in the development of the system and the PI Steering Group will continue throughout the implementation phases.
Project Coordinators will work with PIs to develop cost models and budgets to support their bids and the approvals process will be managed via the system. Successful bids will then transition much more smoothly into post award mode and any resourcing requirements will flow directly into the recruitment system. The new processes will reduce the levels of approval required for smaller projects but also avoid unnecessary duplication of approvals and assist with reducing delays between award notification and project initiation. The system will also enhance the reports available to PIs and ultimately the changes should result in a reduction in the amount of funds returned un-spent. PIs will receive support from Project Coordinators throughout a project with the level of activity proportionate to its scale and complexity.
The new structures, processes and system will be introduced in a phased manner with Phase one commencing in July. This will incorporate the colleges of Arts and Social Sciences along with two Schools in CoSE (Chemistry plus Physics and Astronomy) and two Research Institutes in MVLS (Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine plus Infection Immunity and Inflammation). This will enable the University to manage the transition for staff, system and processes in a measured way and review requirements and impacts based on initial experience. It is expected that Phase Two will be delivered in early 2016 covering all remaining areas of CoSE and MVLS as well as finalising the transition to the new model within the Central Research Support Office.
Adverts will appear shortly for an initial group of Project Coordinators who will be hired centrally but aligned to the Phase 1 areas. The project will provide a comprehensive induction and training programme for them and it is hoped that we will receive a mix of both internal and external applications for these roles. The University will also initiate the recruitment of the four college Research Support Managers and a number of dedicated administrative positions. New roles will also be introduced within the Central Research Support team as the transition to the new model progresses over the coming months.
The introduction of the new ways of working will impact on many staff and the day to day tasks they carry out. There will be regular communication and engagement as the project proceeds and specific training as necessary to ensure all those involved are confident of their ability to support the changes. A small number of roles within the existing structures are expected to close once the new arrangements are fully implemented. It is important that we do all we can to retain existing skills and experience and managers will support staff through the transition to ensure the University minimises any potential negative impacts and all staff are clear on the options available to them.
The implementation of dedicated Research Support Teams is being led in the following areas by:
- CoA: Dr Catherine Martin (College Secretary)
- MVLS: Dr Jane Townson (Deputy College Secretary)
- CoSE: Dr Gordon Duckett (College Secretary)
- CoSS: Ms Nancy Donald (College Secretary)
- US: Ms Joanne Hulley (Head of Research Support)
Local HR teams are also closely involved with supporting managers and staff through the transition.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please speak with your line manager in the first instance or you can e-mail the project at firstname.lastname@example.org.