RESEARCH CULTURE - Putting people at the heart of research and innovation

Posted in: Research Culture

Research Culture is a term that you may have heard being discussed recently. It’s a term that covers a wide range of inter-connected elements of everything related to research. It’s an area that the government and UKRI have prioritised in recent strategy documents, with funding from Research England endorsing a strong commitment to the agenda.

I’m delighted to bring you a post from Julie Barnett, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), describing the exciting work that she and Katy McKen, Head of Research Policy in Research and Innovation Services are leading on. The programme of work they have developed, with involvement from colleagues across the University, is looking at what the research culture looks like at Bath, how we can build on the good practice that is evident across the institution and what changes we can make to improve the experience for all our colleagues.

Research culture week, scheduled to take place from 20th to 24th June, is shaping up to be an interesting few days. Please do save the date in your diary!

If you have thoughts on how we could enhance the research culture here at Bath please do get in touch with Julie or Katy.

Best wishes, Sarah


What is Research Culture? 

Research Culture is a complex ecosystem at the core of everything related to research. It involves an intricate set of elements; both internal and external, visible and invisible. These include our collective norms, behaviours, values, expectations, and attitudes towards what is researched, how it is researched, by whom and how it is shared.  


Why is Research Culture important? 

An ambitious vision was set out to make the UK a global science superpower in 2021. In acknowledging the work required to achieve this, the Government published its R&D People and Culture Strategy in 2021. This sets out a vision for ensuring the research system is made up of talented and diverse people with the right skills, working in an environment that nurtures and gets the best out of everyone. 

The Royal Society have produced this video to help set out why research culture is so important 

But work by a number of organisations, including the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust have identified  that there can be a lot of work in order to achieve this vision. 


What are we doing at Bath? 

Earlier this year, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee approved a programme of work to look at improving research culture at Bath. Much of this work is funded by the Research England Enhancing Research Culture fund. The work is led by a Research Culture Working Group, which I am chairing in my role as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research). The group has representatives at senior and ECR level from all Faculties and the School, technical staff and members from relevant professional services including Research and Innovation Services (RIS), the Library, the Doctoral College and HR. Katy McKen, Head of Research Policy is leading this work from an operational point of view. 

To frame the work being undertaken, we have created six pillars that we believe are central to a strong research culture and around which the work will be structured: 

  • Career Development: Supporting colleagues to achieve their chosen career paths
  • Collegiality: Creating an environment in which colleagues support each other to succeed
  • Open Research: Supporting transparency, rigour, and reproducibility of research and valuing different research output types 
  • Research Design: Supporting excellent, flexible and appropriate research design
  • Research Integrity and Ethics: Supporting research that is conducted to the highest standards of academic rigour
  • Research Recognition: Recognising and celebrating the widest range of inputs to our excellent research

The initial outputs from the group include: 

  • A new University webpage has been created to bring together University resources in this area (coming soon)
  • A series of workshops in April and May 2022 to hear from colleagues across the University about how they perceive our current research culture and their ideas to improve it 
  • A series of job profiles showcasing colleagues working in ‘research enabler’ roles, who sometimes have a lower profile but whose contributions are invaluable to the success of our research and innovation 

And there’s plenty more exciting work underway, we have a series of blog posts planned over the coming months to keep you up to date – watch this space! 

If you’d like to know more about the work or have any questions please do get in touch with Katy McKen or myself.

I look forward to seeing you at one, or more, of the research culture events. Best wishes, Julie

Blog editor: Laura Laden-Zabihi, Marketing Officer, Institute of Coding

Posted in: Research Culture

What's on during research culture week?