What is an effective research environment?

In the context of this project, an effective research environment has been defined as one which supports the behaviours and practices that are expected in world-leading research environments, as well as supporting world-leading research of the highest quality. This was informed by:

UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity's definition:

A research environment is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers. Includes:

  • Clear policies, practices, procedures to support researchers.
  • Suitable learning, training, mentoring opportunities to support researchers.
  • Robust management systems to ensure policies relating to research, RI and behaviour are implemented.
  • Awareness amongst researchers of standards and behaviours expected of them.
  • Systems that identify potential concerns at an early stage and mechanisms for providing support.

REF definition:

In REF the research environment is assessed in terms of its 'vitality' and 'sustainability' ('environment' covers strategy, people, income infrastructure facilities, collaboration & contribution to the discipline).

Here's what some of the participants said about what a 'healthy' and effective research environment means to them:

  • "A culture of excellence in terms of research, in terms of expectations, in terms of commitment to graduate education"
  • "Opportunities to discuss and develop research ideas"
  • "People having the initiative to do things in an environment where they are encouraged to do so and are supported; individuals make their own connections, students beginning to collaborate with one another, taking the lead on particular initiatives"
  • "Externally competitive but internally cooperative"
  • "People talk to each other a lot… there is mutual respect and mutual support"

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