I hope everybody enjoyed relaxing Christmas breaks, and came back full of newfound enthusiasm as we hit the ground running in the New Year. Whether you’re wondering what the results of the REF mean (there are some excellent – albeit slightly gloomy! – articles in Research Fortnight here); thinking about new funding schemes available from the Wellcome Trust (with more to come in the next few months, according to their 2014 annual report) and others such as the MRC’s new Industry Asset Sharing Initiative or pondering the broader underpinning messages of the Government’s new Science & Innovation Strategy (a nice quick overview from the Society of Biology here and a good blog post through LSE here); there is clearly plenty to be thinking about.
We also have the further development and implementation of our own Life Sciences Strategy locally to contend with, both within the College/University and more regionally, as well as the opening of the Institute of Translational Medicine and new Dental Hospital later on this year. We have the new West Midlands NHS Genomic Medicine Centre to get up and running with our local NHS partners, and are in the final stages of a number of very exciting strategic funding applications that could radically enhance our local infrastructure and research environment.
All in all it’s a fantastically exciting time, full of as many opportunities as challenges, and a critical time to consolidate and enhance our position as a leading research institution nationally and internationally. I know the R&KT Office team are as enthusiastic as I am about supporting you all to tackle this year head-on, and we’ll be running a number of new initiatives over the next few months. We have upcoming workshops on REF – and a more specific one on Impact – happening soon; some very exciting initiatives to support Fellows and our Centres; and new calls for the Wellcome Trust ISSF, MRC Confidence in Concept, and College’s Research Development Fund opening shortly. My personal favourite, however, is that I’m pleased to announce we’ll now be running a monthly celebration of the latest research awards – ‘Who Got What and Why?’ – highlighting all the new research that’s been funded, having some of those awardees talk about their applications and how others might be able to benefit, and even give out some bubbly (or suitable alternative) to people we think are especially deserving. Huzzah!
Happy New Year everyone – we look forward to working with you.