Teaching intensive environments are excellent places to develop research that can be directly applied to society.
Businesses like to engage with practical academic staff who can deliver innovative, pragmatic solutions to industrial problems.
Coaching academics to solve business problems also helps transfer knowledge in two ways:
From the academic to industry. Businesses get access to applied innovation directly and gain a competitive advantage.
From industry to academia. Working with industry gives academics a first-hand perspective of what employers need, and academics can use this to transfer valuable innovation and employability skills to students.
Research managers in teaching-intensive environments can use external funding to grow capacity for research amongst academics, whilst also improving two-way knowledge exchange between higher education and society.
Innovate UK is one example of external funding that can be a valuable resource for increasing research quality and income. Here are some strategies for research managers that use Innovate UK funding to increase research income:
1. Focus on areas that align with Innovate UK’s priorities
Innovate UK has specific priorities for funding, such as clean growth, emerging and enabling technologies, and digital healthcare and life sciences.
By aligning your academics’ research through coaching these priorities, they are more likely to be successful in securing funding.
2. Collaborate with industry partners
Innovate UK places a strong emphasis on collaboration between academia and industry.
By partnering with industrial companies you can demonstrate the commercial potential of your academics’ research and increase their chances of success in securing funding to generate additional capacity for applied research.
3. Develop a clear commercialisation plan
Innovate UK funding is often focused on supporting the commercialisation of research.
It is important to have a clear plan for how your research will be commercialised and how it will generate income. Many universities produce research that leads to IP generation, with subsequent lucrative licensing deals that can be a substantial long term funding stream.
4. Show a strong track record of success
Innovate UK is more likely to fund projects that have a strong track record of success.
Applicants should demonstrate a track record of innovation, which might include previous successes in securing funding and delivering impactful research.
However, the assessment of innovation includes prior activities by industrial partners, so it is not always necessary to have the comprehensive academic track record that other research councils demand.
Therefore, Innovate UK funding can be a useful vehicle for developing junior academics or Early Career Researchers.
5. Be strategic in your approach
Innovate UK funding is competitive, so it is important to be strategic in your approach.
This may involve focusing on specific funding calls or partnering with specific industry partners in your region for example.
6. Leverage additional funding sources
Innovate UK funding can be a valuable source of income that can leverage additional funding sources as well. This means using the outputs of Innovate UK projects to applying for other grants or funding from a range of sources, such as philanthropic organisations or even private equity investors.
Overall, the key to increasing research income through Innovate UK funding is to have a strategic and collaborative approach that aligns with Innovate UK’s priorities and demonstrates the commercial potential of your research.
Teaching intensive environments contain academic staff that have a range of advanced applied research skills and with an appropriate strategy, this expertise can be used to transform research activity and income using external funding.