Presentation on theme: "UK Energy Research Centre WHAT ARE PROGRAMMES FOR? high quality research knowledge transfer/exchange training/capacity building international presence."— Presentation transcript:
UK Energy Research Centre WHAT ARE PROGRAMMES FOR? high quality research knowledge transfer/exchange training/capacity building international presence
UK Energy Research Centre ESRC PROGRAMMES IN CONTEXT the ratio of directed to responsive mode funding at ESRC has been 2:1 this compares to 1:2 for other research councils HoC S&T committee has recommended that resources be shifted towards the responsive mode ESRC accepts this, so less emphasis on programmes
UK Energy Research Centre ESRC PROGRAMMES – EVALUATION EVIDENCE mixed outcomes – some strong performances but many have failed to add value in terms of synergy and research coherence centres meet their objectives better than programmes programmes are more likely to fall short on key objectives weak programmes cover too wide an area in relation to resources with impacts on coherence and manageability tight commissioning schedules and limited powers for directors programme projects receive lower evaluation grades than responsive mode projects…. ….but they generate a greater volume of output
UK Energy Research Centre TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE ESRC RESEARCH PROGRAMMES HAD DEFINED AGENDAS? example: (failed) proposal for Environment and Sustainability programme to follow Global Environmental Change… … included 50 separate questions ESRC does not regard the directed and responsive modes as separate silos but as part of a spectrum of funding opportunities most of ESRCs research programmes are responsive competitions within a broadly defined subject area
UK Energy Research Centre GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE PROGRAMME atypical programme ESRC raid on NERCs heartlands large - £12m, 81 grants, 30 fellowships, 14 starter grants long - 1991-2000; three consecutive directorships diverse – subject matter, disciplinary spread, funding modes major shift in research policy in mid-programme (1994) with new emphasis on users and beneficiaries
UK Energy Research Centre COMMISSIONING AND RE-ORGANISING six calls for proposals 1991 – 1996 30 separate commissioning themes programme became less global as time went on by 1995, programme was uncommunicable to users and beneficiaries research portfolio was re-defined within five broad topic areas, with 16 sub-topics: attitudes and behaviour; business and the environment; environmental policy; international issues; sustainability and resource management in 2000, three Programme summaries: –risky choices, soft disasters –who governs the global environment –producing greener, consuming smarter
UK Energy Research Centre NETWORKING AND DISSEMINATION N&D fund as encouragement for programme participants to establish links with each other, academics outside the programme and users considerable use of the N&D fund, but under-spent and some clawed back by the Programme office Directors discovering research agendas and potential added value through project visits research fellows and assistants often richer source of ideas than principal investigators
UK Energy Research Centre CONCLUSIONS FROM GEC original framing of programme took advantage of broad policy context very broad research agenda shifted substantially over multiple funding phases hard to accept principal-agent model! long programme completely re-invented itself (more than once) to take very considerable scope for agents – Director and award holders to create programme added value
UK Energy Research Centre GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE PROGRAMME SUCCESSES capacity building created a research community(ies) international presence for UK social science quality of individual awards reasonable attributable to: –longevity –opportunities for joining up through N&D etc –accumulation (individuals holding consecutive awards) and gap- filling
UK Energy Research Centre (FAILED) ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY BID steering group comprising: –civil servants (including chair) –business –representatives of other research councils –academics all members active participants in discussion supported by academic consultant bid not accepted by Council too broad, unfocused – 50 questions
UK Energy Research Centre RESEARCH EVALUATION COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS closer involvement of users in research design less constrained commissioning timetables dialogue with short-listed applicants about content using second/multiple phase funding to fill out portfolios, adapt to policy needs greater powers for Directors to intervene
UK Energy Research Centre PROGRAMME DESIGN if the research councils, as principals, wanted to define a high impact useful research agenda would they do it this way? large numbers of research questions to prompt innovative proposals, not define research agenda invitation for widely spread research communities to participate alternative … two-three tightly defined research questions, defined with user which each project must address what do you want a programme to achieve?
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