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Straight talk: Vanilla strategies

All universities must set out their institutional and research strategies to meet government demands but must they be quite so bland? Phil Ward, deputy director of research services at the University of Kent and a Funding Insight columnist, dreams of a more exciting approach.

Last month I mentioned that the University of Kent had been going through the process of drafting a new Institutional Plan, with an associated Research and Innovation Strategy. The strategy’s vision is for the university to be “clearly recognised worldwide for the quality of its research…[to undertake] radical and innovative research [with] broader impact…to be exploited through partnership with those in industry, government, charity or the cultural sector…[and] embedding research-led teaching.”

Excellent research, impact, partnership, and research-led teaching. Sounds familiar? If it does, it’s no surprise. Almost every university has something similar: essentially they all want to host the best researchers undertaking the best research with the best partners, which will result in the best impact and best teaching. Sometimes interdisciplinarity is thrown in, sometimes mention is made of specific disciplinary priorities.

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