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Midlands Innovation (MI) commissioned Research Consulting to provide further evidence on the nature of Research Enablers, their benefits, the skill sets involved and the challenges and risks. Research enablers are staff in research-performing organisations who support the successful delivery, co-ordination and implementation of projects, programmes and strategic initiatives.
This report considers the value, benefits and contribution research enablers make to research excellence, collaboration and culture. It considers how this contribution supports the research environment and a positive research culture. The methodology included interviews, a focus group and a survey of stakeholders, involving a total of 86 participants.
Research enablers undertake a wide range of functions to support the effective implementation, management and delivery of major programmes. They work closely with the academic teams and external partners (funders and collaborators):
The benefits of research enabling roles are experienced by a wide range of stakeholders, including academics, collaborating partners, and research funders. This research identifies research enablers as a highly skilled and experienced group of staff, supporting a specialist area of work. However, the benefits of research enabler roles are not fully realised for institutions and funders and are vulnerable to risks in the employment modes typically used.
The report identifies a number of recommendations for institutions and funders, grouped into four areas:
The project was delivered by Research Consulting working with Silke Blohm from 4Sciences.