Before Covid-19 hit, Research, Enterprise and Innovation (REI) in universities was already facing a very challenging couple of years. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 was looming with universities investing significant resources in preparation. The UK had just left the EU on 31 January, following the ratification of EU/UK agreement by the EU with the UK entering a transition period, set to last until 31st December 2020.  Here, SUMS CEO Bernarde Hyde explores the added challenges imposed by Covid-19, immediate adjustments universities can make and ways to move forward successfully.

All universities have in place strategies for REI, but typically, the focus now is on the operational; the immediate and the short-term. For example, supporting Covid-19 initiatives, the recruitment and enrolment of Postgraduate Research (PGR) students and the completion of work in progress to secure the expected funding. However, a few universities are taking the opportunity to proactively test their strategies to see if they are still fit for purpose and are sufficiently flexible/agile to respond to change and able to shape the new normal.

Universities’ immediate challenges are to repurpose their laboratories and facilities to support the national drive to beat Covid-19 and provide PPE and other support. Researchers are responding to the funding/calls for Covid-19 research. Universities with teaching hospitals are engaging on all fronts to provide support. Consequently, some REI areas are under greater, but different pressures. Governance and processes have adapted, are more agile, and are delivering in a much shorter time frame.

Read the full Rapid Response Briefing Paper on SUMS Briefing Paper – The Impact of Covid-19 on Research, Enterprise and Innovation – June 2020.

SUMS’ consultants are gathering in-depth views from university leaders across the full breadth of university operations. We’ll be publishing their service-by-service findings later this month. Register here to receive your copy of our full sector report.

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