Researcher Collaboration Group
During the U21 Research Leaders meeting hosted by Lund University in May 2012, delegates voiced the desire to share knowledge on funding streams which were available for international collaboration. It was noted that each member university has strengths in research and the group should take the opportunity to facilitate researcher mobility and collaboration by jointly applying to funding bodies. The Research Leaders nominated colleagues from within their offices who have responsibility for research funding and international collaboration – and so the Researcher Collaboration Group was formed.
The Researcher Collaboration Group held its first meeting by teleconference in July 2012, with representation from eleven U21 universities in eight countries. That meeting discussed a number of topics centred on funding and the associated challenges and barriers that come with international joint bids. The outcomes and direction of the group are briefly noted below:
1. An expert panel to assist and advise U21 researchers about international funding
One of the main barriers highlighted was lack of knowledge about how researchers can access international funding, as many are simply not always aware of the different funds available. It was noted that the ability to guide researchers to accurate information and, more importantly, a point of contact with regional expertise of those funding opportunities, would be a powerful tool. It was decided that this group should act as regional experts who could respond to U21 researchers with technical assistance and knowhow to aid international funding bids. A central, single point of contact would be provided and promoted around the network, and queries would be directed from this to the appropriate member of the panel.
2. Researcher mobility
Many of the EU members noted a number of funding streams which could be accessed to assist with researcher mobility into and out of Europe. A number of members expressed interest in seeing if U21 could collectively take advantage of these and agreed to work together following the meeting.
It was also noted that this group should share information concerning internal scholarships and fellowships, and additionally expressions of interest to host incoming researchers.
3. Project partnerships
As discussions progressed it became clear that different universities facilitated research bids in different ways. Some members were happy with a top-down ‘facilitated’ method, whereas others chose to let researchers approach them when they needed assistance/advice in association with research funding.
It was noted that not all members need to follow the same initiatives, but any members wishing to follow a top-down facilitated method could use the contacts within this group to explore possibilities.
Current Group Overview
A workshop took place from 6-7 August 2013 at UCD with the theme: Accessing and Leveraging International Funding for U21 Universities. There were nine delegates from eight members, who shared regional funding opportunities and experience – this group will look to submit at least one joint funding application a year, while additionally seeking best practice in the mechanisms that support research administration/grant submission and research impact.
David Crowley, Head of International Research Development at the University of Nottingham, is the second and current chair of this group.
The next workshop is planned for 6-7 April 2014 and will be hosted by the University of Maryland.
The Research Collaboration group now incorporates 17 members. Please click the button below to see which representatives are participating in this U21 initiative, or contact Dr Gemma Marakas for more information.