Statement from RKTB, circulated16th March 2012:
As you will be aware, following a process of consultation on demand management, the ESRC are requiring all HEIs to make an institutional statement on the quality assurance mechanisms put in place to support self-regulation, in order to manage the increasing demand for ESRC research funding. Under its initial focus, the ESRC, and increasingly the AHRC, expects to see HEIs demonstrating that they are looking at ways to improve self-regulation concentrating on submitting fewer, high quality applications, with the prospect of institutional sanctions being put in place should self-regulation measures not prove sufficient. In response to this call and in order to enhance the quality of bids submitted to these funders, to improve the support offered to applicants developing bids to these funders and, ultimately, to enhance bid success rates, the Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) and Deans of the Arts and Social Sciences have made a number of recommendations to the University’s Research and Knowledge Transfer Board (RKTB).
RKTB have accepted these recommendations and have approved the introduction of an Institutional Demand Management Strategy for both the ESRC and the AHRC— as it is likely that AHRC will follow other research councils and require the introduction of demand management in the near future, and as such the strategy and mechanisms being adopted in respect of ESRC will also be introduced for AHRC. This Demand Management Strategy is intended to complement existing bid mentoring and review systems already in place within Schools.
CAS, as the overarching body which supports research capacity building in the Arts and Social Sciences faculties, has been charged with implementing changes resulting from these recommendations. CAS will support work within and between faculties and provide the infrastructure for the mechanisms proposed within this paper. As part of this role, CAS would therefore become a central information point on ESRC/AHRC bids under development across the University and mechanisms will be developed in order to ensure that all bids to these funders, regardless of Faculty, will fall under the recommendations outlined below.
There are two core aspects to the institutional processes supporting self-regulation:
Supporting bid quality to improve success rates,
Implementing an effective and robust review process which ensures that only bids which reach a certain quality threshold are submitted to the funder.
To underpin the specific recommendations below, our first action has been the appointment of an academic champion to lead on exploring and implementing the structures proposed, supported by the Director of CAS and the Deans of Arts and of Social Sciences and with a specific task-and-finish remit to deliver against specified targets over a two or three year period. The remit would include a focus both on demand management and on improving success rates. Prof. Mike Heffernan (Geography), who has experience with both AHRC and ESRC and is a former Head of School, has taken on this role.
Further information on the implementation of the Demand Management Strategy will be circulated in the near future. In the meantime, if any staff within Schools are planning a research application to any of the ESRC or AHRC funding schemes, we would be grateful if they could contact CAS in the first instance (for ESRC applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; and for AHRC applications, please contact email@example.com)
Posted on Monday 19th March 2012