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Making a strategy happen

Aspirational strategies need practical measures in order to actually work. Alison Carminke, an academic enterprise manager at the University of Wolverhampton, sets out the necessary steps to make your research vision a reality.

An organisation’s strategic aim is effectively the destination it is heading towards. An example of a strategic aim common to many higher education institutions is something along the lines of “carry out world-leading research”. How can this sort of high-level and visionary strategic aim be translated into a specific and measurable plan?

First, the aim itself needs to be clearly defined. How will you know if your aim has been achieved? Taking the example aim above, let us assume that it relates specifically to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Perhaps part of the organisation’s intention with this aim is to be one of the top five institutions in each Unit of Assessment to which it returns a submission. This is already a clearer goal than “carry out world-leading research” and defines an area of focus: the UoAs of relevance to the institution and the publications and research impact of the researchers to be returned.

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