“Interesting projects that can make a difference” was how one (successful) applicant described why they were interested in working with us. 2022 delivered on that front, and we have enjoyed another busy year working with 41 clients from across the research landscape, in the UK and internationally. Universities, research funders, learned societies and sector organisations and publishers all featured. As has become something of a tradition, we’ve summarised our year in baubles: we interacted with nearly 900 participants over the course of the year.
Whilst much of our work is confidential, 2022 featured a number of public outputs for our clients, for example on the impact of open data sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the research integrity landscape and on the operationalisation of Open Research Europe as a collective publishing enterprise.
2022 also saw a welcome return to in networking through in person events. We attended the PraxisAuril and ARMA annual conferences and also delivered presentations and papers at the Society for Scholarly Publishing 44th Annual Meeting (June), LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) in July, the OASPA Conference (September) and the Munin Conference of Scholarly Publishing (November/December).
An Interesting and Varied Year
Through the year we’ve worked on policy and evaluation projects for major funders and policy organisations, including BEIS, Wellcome, UKRI and the European Commission.
Back in 2021 the knowledge exchange concordat drove several of our projects for universities. In 2022, perhaps unsurprisingly research culture has featured strongly in our work for universities this year, including work looking at diversity in research careers. These required engagement with many internal stakeholders: students, researchers, academics, technical staff and professional services teams supporting research. Undoubtably successful research is a team effort.
Last year we undertook ‘lessons learned reviews’ for universities on their pre-submission REF processes, this year post-publication analysis of REF impact is a focus as universities, funders and other organisations seek to glean insights and evidence from the published data. Our work here is much assisted by our internal understanding and experience within the team: in June, Chris Mellor joined us from the University of Nottingham, having co-ordinated their REF 2021 impact submissions and Angharad Roberts re-joined us following a secondment to Research England as a REF Panel Secretary.
What Else Have We Been Up To?
Here’s a run-down of a varied and interesting year:
- commercial projects for publishers and vendors involved in the increasingly diverse and sophisticated landscape of solutions and services for research management;
- reviews of research data management provision and strategy for universities (e.g. Edinburgh and Southampton);
- evaluations of funding schemes for charities and learned societies;
- strategy, evaluation and operational reviews for industry engagement and partnerships;
- open access reviews and analysis, including projects for UKRI and University of Liverpool;
- investigating indicators of research integrity; and
- delivery of training and development workshops for researchers and research managers.
Our projects page outlines some of these as case studies.
In other team news, we were delighted to welcome Diane, Elle and Frances to the team, each bringing additional skills and capability. Diane has taken a firm grip on the office administration and Elle brings experience and additional capacity to the consulting team. We don’t know if 2023 will deliver a project needing PowerBI and Korean language, but if it does Frances will be involved (as she’s currently learning the language).
Through the year we continued to work with talented PhD students from the University of Nottingham on a part-time placement basis. Emily and Ellie, both medieval historians, have been great additions to the team and their contributions have been superb. Finally, we are supporting Lucia, our Senior Associate Consultant, to undertake a Master’s in Evaluation and Policy Analysis which is supporting a growing number of our evaluation projects.
Back in 2020 we spent an enjoyable afternoon in the office designing a game for Rob to use in a training course for EARMA. We played it ourselves, and then decide to share it with the world. “Research Management: The Game”is available on Zenodo and we were recently astonished to find out that it has been downloaded over 1,600 times! We will be playing it over our team Christmas lunch, and we shall find out who has the skill (and luck) to emerge as the winner.
What Will 2023 Bring?
We didn’t set out to sponsor a rugby team in 2022, but it happened, so predicting 2023 isn’t easy! Based on 2022 we’ll see some of these clients returning for new projects (about 60% of clients in 2022 have worked with us before).
The ongoing issues at Twitter have seen us create a company Mastodon account, and several of the team now have personal accounts. How the research community develops on Mastodon during 2023 is something we’ll be watching and engaging in.
At some point in 2023 we anticipate delivering our 300th project since Research Consulting was founded in 2013… which also means we’ll be having a birthday party next year!
Wishing our clients, colleagues and friends a restful and peaceful Christmas break.