What is RaISE?

Research and Innovation Support Enhancement (RaISE) is a project that the University has been developing since the summer of 2016.  It aims to deliver a more efficient and streamlined process for supporting research and innovation activities across the University. 

What is the background to RaISE?

As part of the development of the University’s research strategy, an audit of research support across the University was carried out by Uniac, the University’s auditors, in the summer of 2016.  The audit concluded that the current research support system would be unable to support Keele’s future research ambitions, noting a mixture of uncoordinated devolved and central support provision, a lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities and a lack of planning and process related to the provision of research support.

The recommendation was to develop a single, cohesive and integrated research support team able to work across the institution, with clearly documented processes, roles and responsibilities – this led to the development of the RaISE project.

What has happened so far?

All professional and academic staff with formal responsibilities relating to research support were invited to one of two externally-facilitated workshops, held over the winter of 2016/17 to discuss the outcomes of the audit and to reflect on current research support provision and how it could be improved. 

These workshops led to the development of a series of outline proposals for a new support system, which were approved by University Executive Committee (UEC) in March 2017. 

In order to refine these proposals into a more concrete specification for the new support system, five design groups, consisting of academic and professional services staff, were commissioned to look at different aspects of the proposals and feedback suggestions on further development.  Feedback from these groups led to the development of a formal set of proposals for the implementation of RaISE.

Following approval of these proposals, a period of consultation was commenced with the 61 professional services staff directly impacted by the proposals.  Feedback from this consultation was used to make final revisions to the RaISE proposals, which were formally approved for implementation by UEC in July 2017. 

Formal changes to the line management of affected staff occurred on 18th September 2017 which marked the start of the implementation of RaISE.

What is the new RaISE staffing structure?

RaISE is structured around a series of well-defined roles that work together to deliver an effective and cohesive support function for academic projects.  Individuals are grouped within five professional teams, each of which provides a defined ‘service’ within the RaISE structure.

These teams, and their primary roles, are as shown below:

Research Development: Identify and disseminate funding opportunities and help academic colleagues to develop research proposals

Partnership Development: Business engagement, strategic partnership development and impact realisation

Research Operations: Produce management information, support REF preparation and oversee the University’s portfolio of funded projects

Research Funding & Systems: Provide advice and guidance on research finance, cost projects in development and coordinate support for research systems

Project Assurance: Draft, negotiate and approve contracts on behalf of the University and advise on regulatory compliance

All staff within RaISE are line managed through the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Engagement, with research and partnership development staff also reporting to Faculty Deans and Associate Deans.  

Who’s who in the new RaISE structure?

All RaISE team members have now been confirmed in their new roles, with new line management, with effect from 18 September 2017.  Not all teams are fully operational during the transition phase, but the final structure is as shown in the PDF available to the bottom of this page.

Where will RaISE staff be based?

RaISE is delivered by three research hubs: a cross-team hub based in IC2, and two faculty-based hubs. The RaISE team supporting the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will be based in the David Weatherall building; the RaISE team supporting the Faculties of Natural Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences will be based in the Claus Moser building. 

The new hubs are expected to be fully operational by the end of November 2017.

When do the changes occur?

Formal line management changes were made on 18 September 2017.  In order to ensure a managed approach to transition, a detailed implementation plan has been developed.  This plan is overseen by an Implementation Task & Finish Group and supported by three Faculty-led Transition Teams, chaired by Faculty Business Managers.

During September and October 2017, support for contracts and costings will move to the new RaISE Project Assurance and Research Funding & Systems Teams.  Business carries on much as usual during this period, with some changes to personnel supporting funded projects taking place during October.

During November and December, all RaISE teams will move into the new roles and there may be changes to the personnel providing support for projects at Faculty level.  During this period, further information will be provided on hubs and personnel to contact for support. 

Who do I contact if I need support?

Support for projects in development and delivery will continue throughout the RaISE transition period as normal. You will be notified of any changes in personnel providing support.

If you are unclear who in your faculty or RI is best placed to provide support, the first port of call should be:

  • Faculty of Natural Sciences: Rachel Blundred
  • Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences: Mike Hession
  • Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine: Mark Smith
  • Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences: Irena Zwierska
  • Institute of Applied Clinical Sciences: Jo Simon
  • School of Health & Rehabilitation: Jo Simon
  • School of Nursing & Midwifery: Jo Simon
  • School of Pharmacy: Mark Smith
  • School of Medicine: Mark Smith

Where will my support hub be based?

For staff in the Faculties of Natural Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences, the support hubs will be based on the first floor of the Claus Moser building. 

For staff in the Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences (including RI staff), the hub will be based in the David Weatherall building.

What other changes are going to occur?

In line with the implementation of RaISE, each Faculty is reviewing its ongoing support mechanisms for academic projects.  This process will be continue throughout the autumn and is likely to result in changes to personnel providing support for funded projects.  Information on changes to personnel will be provided as they are confirmed.

A further aim of RaISE is to develop a common framework for supporting the preparation and delivery of all academic-led projects, including research, teaching and learning and business focused projects.  A set of standard policies and processes for project development and contracting are currently being developed and will be rolled out between now and April 2018.  These will be communicated to all staff once they have been fully approved via established University governance processes.

What benefits can I expect to see?

There will be more targeted support available for project development at Faculty level, with dedicated teams based in local hubs.  Communities of practice will be formed amongst the research support team, which will allow the sharing of expertise across the faculty-based research support staff.  Working in teams will also allow resources to be shared across the faculties more effectively and allow support to be prioritised in a faculty during times of unusually high demand.  Better co-ordinated research support systems will also allow interdisciplinary research opportunities to be highlighted earlier and responded to more effectively, reducing potential duplication of effort. 

The research development staff have had their roles focused much more on helping academics to realise their research ambitions, taking away many of their contractual and general administrative responsibilities.  This should allow for much more rapid response to enquiries and provision of support.

When will more information be available?

An email will be sent out to all staff in November 2017 outlining the changes to personnel providing support.

During December 2017, hubs will hold welcome events which will provide the opportunity for you to meet with your new local RaISE team.

These pages will be updated with further information as implementation of RaISE progresses.

What if I need more information now?

For more information on transitional activities taking place in your Faculty, contact your Faculty Business Manager:

  • Faculty of Natural Sciences: Paul Cartwright
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Carol Hough
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (including RIs): David Myatt

If you have a question about RaISE more broadly, e-mail: RaISE.Research@keele.ac.uk