The independent selection panel choose to fund the following bids:
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Policy Implementation Think Tank (ASHPIT)
University of Nottingham
ASHPIT is a think tank which will enhance the ability of researcher developers to deliver innovative discipline-appropriate support to researchers in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (ASH); a gap in support that is acknowledged needs to be bridged. Through this project, the current Vitae regional hub model will be complemented by nationwide discipline-specific think tanks, creating a national network of researcher development professionals working in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities to engage with the ongoing development of policy and practice.
The project supports capacity-building: sharing the resources and commitment means that institutions will be able to retain more than just the core functions that the current funding climate might otherwise dictate. If this project is successful, the panel identified the potential to roll-out the model to other subject groups with Vitae as the facilitating intermediary.
Emotional Reflexivity Training for Doctoral Students in interdisciplinary science Doctoral Training Centres
Department of Education, University of Oxford
This two year project aims to research for, develop and test a two-day introductory training course on emotional reflexivity (the ability to understand and communicate the meaning and impact of one's own and others' emotional experiences) for doctoral students at the Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) in the UK. With the rising complexity of interdisciplinary science, the daily work of doctoral students in the sciences demands emotional intelligence to build and maintain collaborative relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, and increasingly on multicultural and multi-ethnic, or multi-institutional platforms. Working with such a rich diversity demands a significant amount of emotional labour.
The panel recognised that emotional reflexivity was an area that was relatively unexplored in relation to researchers. The innovative concept promises the potential of rolling out a new, scaleable and well-founded training resource across STEM and interdisciplinary contexts.
Using applied theatre to enhance a researcher's ability to engage with professional users in Management and Business
Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University
The aim of this two year project is to develop a training module which will enhance the ability of UK postgraduate researchers and research staff to engage effectively with professionals working in public and private sector organisations in Management and Business and maximise the impact of their research. Focussing on two key areas of research activity: the process of co-creating the knowledge agenda and the dissemination process, this training package will uniquely use a selected range of techniques from applied theatre to develop the researcher's repertoire of transferable skills.
Whilst applying theatre techniques to business and management is not necessarily new, applying it to the postgraduate context is. The panel considered this to be a very bold and innovative bid which has the potential to provide a novel way of engaging with professional users and producing some useful and valuable resources for the sector.
Working creatively with sound and image: a collaborative, interdisciplinary learning workshop for researchers
University of Edinburgh
This one year project responds to the growing number of researchers working innovatively with audio and visual methods in data collection and presentation. With the expansion of digital and online media, and the increasing use of such technologies in qualitative research, new techniques are increasingly being explored by researchers but to date are often isolated and poorly explored. The project involves two main strands: The organisation of a week long field trip, enabling ten researchers to work innovatively with audio-visual methods, and the creation of a ‘Creative Practice Primer' which will take the form of a freely available online resource for use by anyone in the research community.
Based on the case studies and experiences of the participating researchers, the ‘Creative Practice Primer' will provide a sustainable resource offering inspiration and encouragement to others wishing to explore innovative uses of audio and visual media. In addition to the innovate approach of this project, the panel were impressed with the potential to transfer the model to other disciplines and the value for money it offered.
Supporting Part Time Researchers via multi-institutional researcher-directed clusters and on-line communities
Cardiff University/South West and Wales Hub
This one year project aims to develop a concept for support based on geographic clusters consisting of part-time researchers from multiple HEIs. The Vitae report on part-time researchers noted that "many researchers talk about experiencing isolation during part-time study and this is compounded by limited networks of peer support". Although it is acknowledged HEIs will wish to address developing links with their own part-time PGRs, there is evidence that researchers are simply keen to have contact with other researchers regardless of their departmental or institutional affiliation.
The outputs of this project will include the organisation of two events for each of the five researcher clusters hosted by South West Wales HEIs, a peer-led on-line community to support the clusters, and an evaluation report. If the outcomes and approach are well-received, then the project group will provide continuing support for the clusters, including ensuring that new PGRs are linked to them, and that the on-line communities are sustained. The panel supported this particular project for its innovative idea which responds to a growing area of demand whilst also demonstrating good value for money.
Bill Law's 3 Scene Storyboarding: An innovative technique for supporting the career development of researchers
International Centre for Guidance Studies, Derby University
This one year project will introduce Bill Law's innovative three-scene storyboarding technique (2010) to a group of researcher developers and advisers through a masterclass, to support them in their application of the technique among a group of researchers, and then to evaluate its impact. Three-scene storyboarding is a narrative-based technique for setting down experience. By reflecting on ‘before, during and after' scenes of a particular turning point in a person's life, processes encompassing thoughts and feelings are elicited and clarified. Such reflection ultimately promotes a greater self awareness, aids decision making and transitions and leads to a clarification of career goals.
The panel selected this project for its highly innovative and cutting edge approach. The project was also presented as a cost-effective way of expanding the methodological repertoire of researcher development and careers professionals' support for researchers at a time when budgets are likely to be under strain.
Getting out more: Contract research staff and public engagement activities
Imperial College London Science Communication Group and Arizona State University
This one year project will act as a scoping and agenda-setting analysis of contract research staff and public engagement. Through qualitative and quantitative research designed to uncover the degree to which researchers are able to engage in different forms of public engagement and to highlight key support, training and development needs, it will produce a set of recommendations for universities and funders and suggest concrete ways that research staff can be included in engagement activities and training.
The panel selected this as a timely, innovative and valuable project. As the proposal sets out: ‘Impact, public engagement and transparent research are important moves in the UK academy. Funded research projects are increasingly required to engage with the outside world, and while such activities may take many forms -the overall drive is clear: Research should get out of the lab (or office) and engage with the world around it'.
Non-Zero-Sum: Developing a training resource to facilitate discussions on collaboration for researchers
Dr Nathan Ryder
The outputs of this one year project will be develop a ‘Non-Zero-Sum' facilitated game and supporting materials for trainers of post-doctoral researchers. The game will raise issues concerning collaboration; both the benefits and the barriers that exist in working with other people. A zero-sum game has winners and losers, whatever one person wins the others lose. A non-zero-sum game is one in which players can achieve success without others losing out. This new resource will show researchers the real, positive benefits of collaborating, whereby collaboration should be seen as a non-zero-sum activity, and working with others in research has a great return on the investment of time and effort.
The panel selected this project as it offers real value for money. The resources will be offered for free and in full under a Creative Commons license, making it inexpensive with the potential to be an excellent aid to experiential learning.