A few months back my super-productive colleague Prof R and I wrote a proposal to EPSRC to get a research network on Effective Research Spaces funded. Well, it just got funded for £150K.
Effective what, you may wonder? Well, higher education academics might be familiar with the fashion for effective learning spaces, by which I mean designing the layout of classrooms to help people learn better. Someone somewhere in EPSRC must have thought it would be a good idea to look at how to design places which would help people to research better. Hence their call for proposals. Hence me doing a very rapid literature review about it in the summer and guessing at how you would develop a network of people who are all interested in that topic. (Hence a grumpy old reviewer complaining about a "patchy and rambling" literature review. Hee hee. That reviewer had obviously not been on the "two stars and a wish" training session on how to give feedback! :-) ).
So now I am relieved because I have brought some more research money into the department and I can breathe freely for a bit. Prof R got another project funded from the same call, so she is particularly popular in the department just now. I think she may have some kind of pact with the devil. She is Queen Midas of funding.
Below is the summary from the proposal if it means anything to anyone.
"The EPSRC Digital Economy theme seeks to investigate how the use of innovative ICT can transform both lives and work. SPIRES arises from a Digital Economy sandpit held in July 2009 on Effective Research Spaces and is a network proposal that aims to bring together currently disparate groups interested in the design of effective research spaces and environments in order to create a new research community. Through a set of focused workshop and outreach activities it will bring together the three perspectives of physical spaces, novel technology, and social interaction to support a new synthesis of ideas and new conversations between groups currently not in contact with each other.
· To form and support a multi-disciplinary community of researchers with expertise in enhancing physical, technological or social aspects of research environments;
· To develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which effective research can be fostered;
· To document and disseminate the current state of the art in nurturing effective research spaces, both from a UK and international perspective;
· To generate new methodologies for designing and evaluating effective research spaces."