Research Development Services

Academic Capacity

Enhancing the skills of academics to develop and deliver high quality research is important for achieving outstanding research outcomes. We provide a range of support options to help research offices and academics reach their full potential:

Application development – we provide iterative support for research funding applications. We work with academics and university research offices to ensure that the research applications are strong, relevant and present the best possible case for funding.

Research support – we can provide ongoing research support to departments, faculties and universities. Support is offered on site or remotely and may include:

    • Advice, guidance, budgeting or drafting support for individual research proposals
    • Training and workshops
    • Supporting individual career planning
    • University infrastructure development

Professional Development and Training – we offer a range of short training workshops covering a range of topics designed to support academics make high quality funding applications. These include:

Introduction to Research Funding – designed to support researchers newer to research funding or early in their career. The workshop covers the basics of building a research career, tips for grant writing as well as ethics, budgets and useful hints for approaching research funding.

Grant Camps – A brilliant way to develop that first draft of an application when time is tight. This four-hour workshop, comprising six structured writing sessions, enables researchers to write a working first draft

Mock Grant Panels – This workshop helps academics to understand how funding decisions are made in reality. We use real bids and work through funding decisions in a participatory format (we organise researchers into panels to discuss and debate funding decisions) The workshop concludes with a facilitated discussion on lessons learnt.

Impact – understanding impact and making sure it is designed into your project is an important part of the research landscape, but is still often poorly understood. Drawing on examples, this session helps academics to think about the impact of their research and how it can be generated and recorded.

Introduction to academic reading and writing – Delivered in partnership with Professor John Sharp, this workshop is designed to help doctoral students and early career academics get the most out of their academic reading and writing.

Building an online identity (First Steps) – Having a clear and accurate web presence is an important part of a successful research career; it can lead to new opportunities and support impact generation. This workshop provides some simple first steps to help make sure researcher’s online profiles are healthy and helpful.

Specific funding call workshops – Workshops can be developed on a bespoke basis to support specific funding calls or for specific funders.

The no-time conundrum – With growing and competing pressures on academic time, finding the space to write a funding application can be tough – let alone doing research. This short workshop draws upon real life examples to highlight strategies and approaches to help you maximise your research time.

Research Budget Development – This workshop delves more deeply into the creation of a research budget. It explains concepts like Full Economic Costing, justification of resources and provides tips to support consistent and accurate budget development.

Research Infrastructure

The size and complexity of institutions in the UK varies enormously so getting the right infrastructure in place to support your researchers and enable growth is critical. We work with university research offices to help them understand how well their research infrastructure works, and help to design and implement improvements to better support their institution. We can provide support in the following key areas:

    • Research approvals: Designing simple but effective internal research approvals processes to help smooth the interface between academics and research administration
    • Peer review schemes: Ensuring that peer review schemes are fit for purpose – helping universities understand the pros and cons of different approaches
    • Mentoring schemes: mentoring can offer invaluable support to researchers. We help universities think through what type of scheme is right for them and offer mentoring training to new mentors to make sure the scheme is effective
    • Research Contracts: We also help universities set up contract templates for research which help academics and research staff navigate the complexities of research contracts and can save considerable time and outsourcing of support. Training workshops can be delivered alongside template development

Research Strategy

Developing effective research funding strategies – we work with academics, research centres, schools or faculties to develop practical and realistic plans for research funding over the short, medium and long term.

We can help you to develop research funding strategies in a number of ways:

    • Workshop facilitation: co-production is an important feature of successful research funding strategies. We offer facilitated workshops that bring together researchers across departments, faculties or entire institutions to reach common goals and priorities, and develop a practically-minded research funding strategy
    • Strategy drafting: Complementing facilitated workshops, we provide research funding strategy drafting support – an ongoing iterative support process whereby we co-produce drafts and work to final sign off, utilising best practice in the sector
    • Research Environment Audit: in collaboration with Professor John Sharp, we work with faculties, departments, and schools, to undertake Research Environment Audits assessing confidence levels in research, teaching and administration. The audit produces a report including summary statistics, narrative findings, and key recommendations to help target resources confidently