This week, I had to re-apply for the role of Research Leader within the Business & Management department. The request was to submit a brief on why I was suitable for the role and to discuss this informally. Now, since the UK government has cut funding, the role is becoming more prominent and carries more responsibilities as the university needs to be strategic about its resources. It is important to develop the research activities of colleagues while reviewing how this fits in with the greater picture of the Business School.
I have many ideas, some of which directly related to the need to involve businesses more. Not to annoy any consultant out there, but the social capital that exists within universities is spectacular and it is not a source that is tapped into enough. Practical impact of research now will count for 25% (additional to publications, funding, phd students) when we submit our case for research funding to the government in 2014 (REF), so it is imperative that academics engage more with businesses. It would be good to know how these bridges can be built. There seems to be this odd phenomenon that people don’t trust that which is available for no or low cost (case in point: try getting rid of your old bookcase by putting it outside by your door – put a note that says ‘free – please take’ and it’ll remain there longer than if you put ‘£10 – please ring doorbell’). This is one of the challenges I’ll be working on in the future, apart from enhancing my own research profile.
The actual interview was thoroughly enjoyable (despite my initial nerves). In fact, I was a little overwhelmed by the extent of the positive feedback that my name came up during the other interviews and that I am highly valued and a role model within the school. My influence has extended beyond the business school and I have changed and improved research related activities. Their main concern was that I need to take care of ‘me’ and work on my development too. Fab.