Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies: Reshaping our research environment

Posted by rmt22 at Sep 28, 2017 01:55 PM |
Dr Lisa Smith, from the Department of Criminology, has been appointed Director of the newly established Institute for Advanced Studies.

We take research seriously at the University of Leicester. In order to meet the challenges posed by the modern world we need to reshape our research environment. Part of that is looking at how we run and locate research projects. Dr Lisa Smith has been appointed to look at our institutional response to these challenges through the Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies.

Creating a truly interdisciplinary research culture

Colleagues across the University already engage in exciting collaborative research, which is vital to our future as a leading research-intensive University. In order to meet the challenges facing higher education and achieve the truly interdisciplinary culture envisioned in our strategic plan, we need to be more strategic about our approach to interdisciplinary collaboration, and create an environment that brings disciplines together and provides structure and support for ambitious research projects.

Research funders are placing growing emphasis on larger, more interdisciplinary approaches to complex questions facing society and science. The launch of the UKRI, Global Challenges Research Fund and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund signal an emphatic move to larger, more collaborative research projects.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, the new Chief Executive of UKRI, recently spoke about the need to break down silos in research. In order to succeed in this new landscape we need to support our staff to work together and be able to compete with the very best.

The Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies

The Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies will provide a physical, and virtual, space to enable academics to come together and engage in the social aspects of interdisciplinarity, while also providing resources to support collaborations – for example support for visiting scholars and funding for research networks and ‘tiger teams’.

Lisa’s role as Director of the Institute is to provide leadership and vision through the establishment of the programme of activities, and to champion interdisciplinary research across the University.

“This is an exciting development for the University, which demonstrates a strong commitment to growing our research activity and income by supporting interdisciplinary collaborations. My vision for the Institute is to create an environment where interdisciplinary approaches are supported, valued and celebrated – internally and externally, locally and globally. I look forward to working with colleagues across the University on this initiative, and invite researchers from all career stages and disciplines to engage with the Institute to expand your network of collaborators and support your interdisciplinary research ambitions”

The Institute for Advanced Studies is a University-wide initiative but will be situated in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Head of College, Professor Julie Coleman says “The Institute represents an opportunity for researchers across all disciplines to address real-world challenges by reaching out across existing boundaries. Colleagues who engage in interdisciplinary collaboration on this scale will have an immensely enriching and stimulating experience which will open doors in their thinking, their research plans and their career development. The Institute has the potential to transform our research ambitions and I encourage all research-active colleagues to consider the opportunities it offers.”

The Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies will be co-located with the Innovation Hub in 128 Regent Road and will be part of the University’s ‘front door to industry’ allowing true engagement with businesses and external partners.  This new space is being designed to offer research teams dedicated meeting rooms, seminar and workshop facilities, and office space for visiting fellows.

Find out more

Over the coming months, the Institute for Advanced Studies webpages will be launched and further information about the research networks and tiger teams will be announced shortly. In the meantime, please contact Lisa.Smith@le.ac.uk to find out more about the Institute and how you can get involved.

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