The six USW Research Institutes are:
Traditionally, research at the University of South Wales has been structured in Research Groups and Research Centres. A Research Group exists within a Faculty and consists of a group of researchers working together to take research in a particular discipline area forward.
Each Group is led by a Group Leader who acts as a conduit for information to all Research Group members. Research Centres tend to be umbrella organisations, spanning Faculties and containing a number of relevant Research Groups. Research Centres are also considered to be more outward facing and often have external members. Both Research Groups and Centres are approved by Research Committee however their membership tends to be fluid with some members of staff being members of several Research Groups and Centres at any one time.
Creating a USW sustainable research base is vital. Structural changes have now been considered to ensure that academics have both the time and support to maximise their ability in applying for research funding. And also that the University has mechanisms in place to monitor performance to ensure that time allocated for research is used for research and that relevant outputs are produced. As a result, Research Institutes have been established in the areas where the university already has a significant research profile and where the university has made a strategic decision to support this area of research strength.
Research Institutes will provide a mechanism for enabling researchers to conduct their research with appropriate support so that the University benefits from the resultant outputs from that research. The six Research Institutes created will have a positive impact on research focus, research sustainability and reputation for research:
Research Focus – The USW approach to date has been to support research across the University in all disciplines, encouraging researchers at all levels from early career researcher through to Professor. Given the external push towards concentration of research income to research groups with proven research excellence, it is no longer affordable and practical to support researchers wherever they are in the University. It is now necessary to focus our investment in, and support research in a limited number of areas of strategic importance.
Research Sustainability – Focusing investment and support in key research areas for the University will ensure that our research base is sustainable and benefits the university as a whole. As well as considering financial sustainability, it is necessary to ensure that there is a sustainable supply of researchers within the University of South Wales chosen research areas. Therefore initiatives that impact on research students and early career researchers are important as well as the expectation for research leaders to consider succession planning within their research strategies.
Reputation – By focusing investment and ensuring sustainability, a reputation for excellent research will follow. A sound research base is key to creating an innovative University which businesses want to engage with.