August 6, 2019, by Susan Lim

University of Nottingham UK establishes its first wave of Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (IRCs)

The Global Research Themes (GRT) and Interdisciplinary Research Cluster (IRC) programme continues to be a significant and well-supported component of the Research Strategy at the University of Nottingham UK (UNUK), in addition to the six Beacons of Excellence. In this blog, Prof Deborah Hall, Vice-Provost (Research and Knowledge Exchange) summarises a recent announcement about this programme.

UNUK is keen to use the funding purposefully and effectively to establish a portfolio of up to 25 IRCs which will deliver against the four Research Strategy objectives (Quality, Funding, Impact, Reputation) with a strong emphasis on winning external funding. IRCs reflect a new phase of what used to be Research Priority Areas. However, there will be a greater emphasis on inter-campus collaboration.

A panel led by Richard Masterman, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Strategy, which included all 5 GRT leads and with additional academic input from two Faculty APVCs, met to consider the 34 proposals for new IRCs. In this first phase of the GRT and IRC programme, the panel has agreed to establish 13 new IRCs.

The initial group of supported IRCs is shown here:

I am delighted to say that several of these IRCs have UNM staff as part of their management structure, in particular, those within the Developing Sustainable Societies GRT.

GRT leads are aiming to develop a University portfolio of IRCs which has broad coverage but does not duplicate activities that are best done within Schools and Faculties or in some cases Centres and Institutes. Over the coming months, the GRT leads will consider gaps in the IRC portfolio. GRT leads will respond agilely and flexibly to fill these gaps where there is academic leadership and a strong University case to do so.

Looking forward, there is a further list of IRC proposals where discussions will take place to consider ways to develop the case for bringing forward an IRC proposal as a resubmission, and in some cases merging areas. These discussions will be initiated and managed by GRT leads over the next six months.

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