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Message from Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Innovation

Parveen and Dominik

A message from Professor Parveen Yaqoob and Professor Dominik Zaum, Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Innovation.

Dear All,

Welcome back to the new academic year! Before looking ahead, we want to take stock of the last year and what we achieved as a research community. While the last six months might make 2020 a year that most of us want to put behind us and forget as soon as possible, this should not detract from the significant individual and collective successes over the last year - from national and international awards to major grants and fellowships.

Despite COVID, 2019/20 was one of our best years in terms of successful grant applications, with over £41m of grants secured. As the final year of our five-year 2020 Research Plan, this brought our research income for the period to £200m, amounting to 95% of the ambitious target we set after REF 2014. Growth in research income has been almost twice as high as the average increase across the Russell Group, and is testament to the efforts of all involved.

The extension of the REF submission date to March 2021 means that REF will continue to dominate much of the next year. In the short term we also need to complete our KEF submission by October and it will be timely to evaluate the 2020 Research Plan and start to plan for the next five years, in line with the priorities and objectives outlined in our research strategy.

We also plan to revitalise projects which were paused or delayed by COVID, such as supporting the development of research leaders at all levels of seniority and developing a plan for public engagement with research, linked to the University's community engagement strategy. To that end, we will reinstate calls for pilot research projects through the open calls and for University Research Fellowships, and will continue to support our newly appointed University Public Engagement Fellow.

Other strategic projects will include a investing in a digital humanities hub in the library; continued support for open research; completing a review of the policies and practice which support the new Concordat on Research Integrity; finalising our action plan for the Researcher Development Concordat; and planning in preparation for the new Knowledge Exchange Concordat.

As always, we will use the monthly research newsletter to update you on research and innovation across the University. It is sent automatically to all research staff and others can sign up here.

Best wishes,

Professor Parveen Yaqoob and Professor Dominik Zaum

Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Innovation

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