How To Create A Positive Research Culture In A Teaching Intensive University

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Creating a positive research culture in a teaching-intensive university in the UK requires a multifaceted approach that involves fostering collaboration, providing support, and recognising and rewarding research achievements.

Here are some steps you can take to promote a positive research culture:

Step 1. Leadership Support

Gain support from university leadership, including senior management, deans, and department heads, for the development of a research culture.

This can help secure necessary resources and communicate the importance of research within the institution.

Step 2. Research Strategy

Develop a clear research strategy aligned with the university’s mission and goals. This strategy should outline priorities, funding opportunities, and mechanisms for supporting research activities. Focus on communicating the key drivers for the research – what it will achieve.

Step 3. Research Support Infrastructure

Establish a robust research support infrastructure that includes dedicated research offices, grant writing support, and administrative assistance.

These resources can help faculty members navigate funding applications, manage research projects, and facilitate collaborations.

Step 4. Funding Opportunities

Identify and communicate funding opportunities to researchers, particularly those suitable for a teaching-intensive university.

This could include grants focused on pedagogical research, interdisciplinary projects, or partnerships with industry.

Step 5. Collaboration and Networking

Encourage collaboration among researchers within the university and with external partners. Foster interdisciplinary interactions by organising seminars, workshops, and conferences.

Consider creating research clusters or centres to facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Step 6. Mentoring and Professional Development

Implement mentoring programs where experienced researchers provide guidance and support to early-career researchers. 

Offer professional development opportunities, such as workshops on research methodologies, grant writing, and publishing, to enhance research skills and productivity.

Step 7. Recognition and Rewards

Recognise and celebrate research achievements to motivate researchers. 

Establish clear criteria for assessing research productivity and provide incentives, such as research awards, sabbaticals, or additional resources for high-performing researchers.

Step 8. Research-Teaching Nexus

Promote the integration of research and teaching by encouraging faculty members to incorporate their research findings and experiences into their teaching activities.

This enhances the student learning experience and creates a research-informed teaching environment.

Step 9. Communication and Dissemination

Encourage researchers to disseminate their findings through publications, conferences, public lectures, and engagement with the wider community. 

Provide platforms, such as institutional repositories or research blogs, to showcase research outputs.

Step 10. Evaluation and Feedback

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the research culture initiatives and seek feedback from researchers to identify areas for improvement.

Maintain open channels of communication to address concerns and suggestions from the research community.

Building a positive research culture takes time and sustained effort.

It requires a supportive and inclusive environment where researchers feel valued and motivated to contribute to the advancement of knowledge within the university.