Researchers watching a presentation

Industrial Strategy inspires research staff development

The University of Liverpool’s 2019 annual ‘Making an Impact’ research staff development initiative is inspired by the principles of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The Academy partnered with colleagues from Research, Partnerships & Innovation to design and deliver Making an Impact in May and June 2019 as a series of connected development activities focused around the Industrial Strategy priorities. The 2019 series was part-funded by the University’s Industrial Strategy team.

The programme supported University staff - in particular the talent pipeline of Early Career Researchers - to develop their multi-disciplinary research-impact related knowledge, skills, attributes and competencies.

Dr Sonja Vujovic, Head of Industrial Strategy and Consultancy said: “The Making an Impact series is a fantastic example of initiatives the University has implemented to deliver support to our academics utilising Industrial Strategy HEIF funding.”

Taking place over seven weeks, 150 external and internal speakers provided 58 development sessions, with over 1300 registrations from 600 individuals, the programme was inspired by four of the Industrial Strategy foundations of productivity: 

  • Ideas: encouraging University of Liverpool staff to explore innovative ideas and solutions in relation to the impact of their research
  • Skills: ensuring participants develop and reflect on skills that will enable their greater contribution to the impact agenda.
  • Business environment: supporting participants’ ideas around IP and commercialising their research
  • Communities: enhancing the capabilities and impact of multi-disciplinary researchers who advance the communities within which they are based, and the wider UK populace

Sessions consisted of a mixture of workshops, seminars, facility tours, an informal café, masterclasses, boot camps, a keynote address, panel discussions, 1:1 surgeries and showcases.

Some key sessions included a public lecture for the University’s Heritage Theme delivered by Dr Ben Cowell, Director General of Historic Houses, and masterclasses from Hatch Regeneris on applying for Innovate UK funding. Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences presented an Impact Matters seminar series to showcase the faculty’s impact and how it was achieved.

The Series aimed to foster a culture of learning and development by providing high-quality development opportunities for researchers at all stages of their careers, developing Liverpool researchers for future roles both within and outside academia, and stimulating conversations with employers and industry professional across different sectors.

The Making an Impact 2019 Framework consisted of impact clusters and a knowledge and skill axis. Participants were able to build a tailored experience based on their respective research impact needs, ambitions and interests.

The Academy’s Dr Saneeya Qureshi said: “Making an Impact created the conditions for staff to build a tailored experience based on their respective research impact needs, ambitions and interests.

“The activity was unique and particularly valuable as participants were able to explore innovative ideas and solutions in relation to the impact of their research, engage in stimulating conversations with employers and leading industry professional across different sectors, and augment their research-impact skills and capabilities to take on high-paid, high-skilled jobs both within and outside of academia.”

Reflecting the changing needs and diversity of research staff, and the importance of an organic event that is constantly evolving, Making an Impact 2020 will take place from 1st-19th June 2020 and will involve a blended approach to include digital media in addition to face-to-face sessions.

In line with its commitments to providing a step-change in development practice at Liverpool, and to fostering a research-rich culture where colleagues are supported to develop impactful research, the Academy continues to be at the forefront of exciting and ground-breaking initiatives. In addition to Making an Impact, the Academy leads ‘Prosper: Enhancing first-time postdoctoral career development and success’. The Project, funded by Research England through its first ever RED Fund award, worth £4.4m, represents an innovative approach to tackle equality, diversity and inclusivity issues that usually present barriers to training for postdoctoral researchers.

The University provides high quality development opportunities to empower every individual to foster their potential. You can learn more about The Academy’s research staff development offering here.

Back to: Research