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Graduate School: support for cross-disciplinarity 29 June 2005 Professor Paul M Heywood Dean of the Graduate School.

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Presentation on theme: "Graduate School: support for cross-disciplinarity 29 June 2005 Professor Paul M Heywood Dean of the Graduate School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduate School: support for cross-disciplinarity 29 June 2005 Professor Paul M Heywood Dean of the Graduate School

2 HM Treasury Science and Innovation Investment Framework  Para 1.21: “new approach to assessing research … will provide greater reward, and thus stronger incentives, for academics to work on both research relevant to users and work which crosses disciplinary boundaries.”  Para 2.9: “we need to enhance a culture of multidisciplinary research in the UK and provide the underpinning infrastructure and funding mechanisms to support it.”

3  Para 2.11: “Over the next five years Research Councils (driven by the needs of their research communities) will work with universities and other funders in the public and private sectors to establish multidisciplinary capabilities in research- intensive universities.”  “Research and Funding Councils will work with universities to establish more translational courses to help bridge the gap between disciplines.”

4 Research Councils Formal response to Science and Innovation Framework in Research Council ‘Delivery Plans’ (May 2005) – strong emphasis on multidisciplinarity Builds upon existing trends towards supporting multidisciplinary initiatives – several joint programmes in recent years

5 Examples of Research Council support for multidisciplinarity AHRB  ‘The Challenge of Interdisciplinary Research’ – major seminar May 2004 AHRB/EPSRC  Culture and Creativity Programme – aim to support research at the interface between science and engineering, and the arts and humanities  ‘Designing for the 21 st Century’ (2004) – 5 yr programme BBSRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC  ‘New Dynamics of Ageing’ (2005) – 7 yr programme:  Theme 1: Ageing Well Across the Lifecourse  Theme 2: Ageing and its Environments  “Welcomes innovative interdisciplinary initiatives aimed at developing and applying novel methodologies that bridge conventional disciplinary boundaries”

6 EPSRC/BBSRC/MRC/NERC  Life Sciences Interface Programme – to support research at the boundary between engineering and the physical sciences (EPS) and the life sciences  “Primary goal is to ensure that both exciting interdisciplinary research and training at the EPS life-sciences interface are supported in collaboration with (…) the other research councils.” EPSRC  Networks in Crime Prevention and Detection  Multidisciplinary Critical Mass Centres in the Mathematical Sciences  IDEAS Factory (Sand-pits) – “to provide mechanisms that will stimulate highly innovative and more risk-accepting research activities that would be difficult to conceive under normal circumstances”

7 ESRC  Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy (NERC/EPSRC)  Climate Change (ESRC/EPSRC NERC Tyndall Centre)  Rural Economy and Land Use (ESRC/NERC/BBSRC plus DEFRA and Scottish Executive)  Sustainable Water Management (social and natural scientists, plus engineers) NERC  ‘Strategy for Science’: “integrated environmental management and sustainable development require an interdisciplinary approach”  Promote collaboration to understand Whole Earth System: environment and social issues (ESRC); human health (MRC); microbiology and biotechnology (BBSRC); waste management and sustainable energy (EPSRC)  Address interdisciplinary skills shortages through targeted training initiatives

8 University Research Strategy Aim of being international centre for the highest quality research – to be achieved through six priority actions, including:  Proactive approach to forge interdisciplinary links in areas of research synergy and priority to society, based on Research Committee assessment and priorities of the research funding councils “Nottingham’s research strength derives from investing in and sustaining core disciplines combined with encouraging a collaborative approach, crossing academic disciplines and boundaries, to share valuable experience and forge breakthroughs in new areas.”

9 Role of Graduate School Support for University’s crossdisciplinary strategy delivered through three main strategies, developed by Graduate Strategy Group in collaboration with Research Committee: Interdisciplinary doctoral training centres (IDTCs) Collaborative training account (CTA) Roberts Money initiative

10 IDTCs Aims: to promote interdisciplinary research; foster collective existence amongst members; support funding bids Centre for Social Research in Health and Health Care Stem Cell Plasticity Slavery Studies Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Neurosciences Photonics and Electronics

11 CTA EPSRC Collaborative Training Account (£1.2m) “to provide a seamless integration of world-class academic knowledge and the business and technology skills required by the modern workforce to compete successfully in dynamic, highly competitive and knowledge intensive environments.” Four CTCs to integrate pg training and the workplace: Cleaner Technologies (Chemistry) Food Process Engineering (Biosciences) Geospatial Science and Environmental Engineering (IESSG) Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacy)

12 Roberts Money For postgraduate students, recommended: increased stipends (£12k per annum) improvements in training (minimum two weeks dedicated per year) principally in transferable skills, which should meet stringent standards Research Council funding for 42 months post-PGT qualification For CRS, identified: lack of clear career structure and uncertain career prospects unsatisfactory training increasingly uncompetitive salaries Recommended: Academic Fellowships Industrial secondments Clear development paths in HEIs

13 Nottingham response to Roberts agenda University of Nottingham received £1.3m over the first three years of the initiative. Roberts Money Working Group Scoping exercise to investigate CRS experience in Schools and Institutes Initiatives to develop and integrate support services Careers Advisor for CRS Allocation of funds to support joint projects at School and Institute level


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