Review of the year 2023

Share this article

Latest Tweets

Review of the Year

As has become something of a tradition, December marks the time for a look back on the year. Writing this also gives an opportunity to look back at previous years. In 2022 the big story was research culture and in 2021 we undertook several ‘lessons learned’ reviews following the REF 2021 submissions.

The big news of 2023 was the company’s 10th birthday. Founded by Rob in 2013, the company has now delivered nearly 300 projects for clients who operate across the research and innovation landscape and grown to a team of 11.

When I set up the business, I knew it was for a purpose aside from purely profit-making, that it was a mission-driven business. I wanted Research Consulting to deliver work that makes a difference, with the drive and focus of a commercial undertaking. Rob Johnson, March 2023

2023 project highlights

Picking out a few highlights from 2023 illustrates the breadth of our work and expertise across the research landscape. Research integrity has been a running theme, including a review of indicators of research integrity for UKRI, Cancer Research UK and Guild HE and a review of annual research integrity statements produced by UK HEIs for the UK Committee on Research Integrity.

With OASPA and DOAJ we developed the Open Access Journals Toolkit, working alongside an Editorial Board of 12 international experts. For this work we also brought in Studio Seventeen, who designed our own website, to deliver a fantastic online resource.

Impact from research featured strongly, and included an analysis of REF2021 impact and environment statements for the Royal Society of Chemistry, analysis of impact pathways in highly rated social sciences impact case studies and an institutional research impact report for the University of Salford. The creation of a series of guidance ‘cards’ to accompany the University of Nottingham’s Equality, Diversity (EDI) and Inclusion cards to facilitate discussions and workshops around EDI in the workplace was one of our more unusual ‘impact’ projects this year.

More generally 2023 was the year when everything seemed to have an AI connection. Our work was not immune to this, and AI featured in a review of AI in healthcare for The Physiological Society, in our research contracts benchmarking study (see below) and in how we deliver our own work.

Our clients during 2023

Universities, research funders, learned societies, organisations in scholarly communications and professional associations all featured in our 2023 client portfolio.

This included 36 unique universities, including institutions located in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This work varied from reviews of research strategy and operations, through to support on research culture and public reports on impact. Our university clients included five Australian universities who, alongside 19 UK universities, joined the 2023 research contracts benchmarking study. The public report will be released in early 2024 and the adoption of eSignatures is already evident as a big change in practice since 2018.

Other clients in 2023 include funders (Wellcome, UKRI, European Commission, Cancer Research UK and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland) and learned societies including The Physiological Society and Royal Society of Chemistry.

In scholarly communications we continued to work with major publishers including Springer Nature, PLOS and Elsevier, and other organisations including cOAlition S on responsible publishing, the European Commission on scenario modelling for Open Research Europe, and the International Association of STM Publishers on their Open Access Dashboard.

Team news

Team news during 2023 included well deserved promotions for Andrea and Lucia, and we welcomed Ellie as a permanent member of the team following completion of her doctoral studies and part-time work with us during 2022.

On a hot and humid September (!) day we enjoyed some bushcraft team building activities which include a long session of whittling. An hour of quiet mindfulness whittling our butter knives was eventually broken by the inevitable “I’ve cut myself”. Turns out our career choices are well-founded and no-one is quite ready for off grid living.

During the year we issued various blogs on our website and our company profile on LinkedIn. These included the business model canvas (a tool we regularly return to as a way of simplifying complex situations) and an overview of the work we do in delivering training to researchers and research managers.

So that’s it, a quick recap on 2023. All that remains is to wish our clients, colleagues and friends a restful and peaceful Christmas break!

Related Posts

2024 Mid Year Recap

2024 mid-year recap

Here’s a mid-year recap of some of the work and projects that the Research Consulting team have been progressing recently. It covers a few threads

Read More
The rocky road to REF 2029

​The rocky road to REF 2029

Performance in the Research Excellence Framework continues to be a critical enabler of institutional success for UK universities. Ahead of the Association of Research Managers

Read More