‘Growing the best and brightest: the drivers of research excellence’

Vitae welcomes a new independent report commissioned by The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)

The new report explores the drivers of research excellence (excluding funding) in UK higher education institutions. The project involved exploring ‘competitive advantage’ through interviews with research managers in 12 institutions. 

Research managers consistently identified the primary driver of research excellence as excellent researchers; particularly ‘activities supporting the recruitment, development and motivation of researchers’ are critical drivers of research excellence. The report noted the value of activities relating to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, the HR Excellence Award, CROS and PIRLS in contributing to research excellence and productivity.

It also recognised that lack of recognition for undertaking activities associated with developing and motivating people potentially impedes research excellence.

Increasing recognition could help increase researchers’ willingness to do them within the limited time they have and so contribute to research excellence and productivity in the longer-term.

Collaborations with others were also seen as an important driver of excellence. Research managers believed that personal relationships formed early in research careers can be critical in opportunities for later collaborations and help support larger scale collaborations. The report suggested that BIS and institutions could look at ways to facilitate more early career collaborations.