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How streamlining your research function can help you innovate and deliver excellence

Posted by  Andrew Garner

Research is increasingly important to Universities. At Unit4, we’re seeing a lot of interest in this area so we thought it timely to put down some thoughts on recent changes to this field and what it’s likely to look like in the next couple of years.

As the HE market changes and the old school data silos are broken down within Universities, we no longer see a clear split between research academics and teaching academics. Our most successful University customers have in recent years realised the importance of embedding quality research into everything they do academically. Learning and teaching is now influenced by research projects that academics are interested in, which in turn leads to higher quality teaching and student experience. This new approach just seems to work better and benefit everyone involved.

Of course research is about much more than just supplementing teaching. For many customers it’s about moving civilisation forward and solving real-world problems to make the world a better place for everyone. So the more people from different areas are involved, the better the outcome.

From a financial perspective, it is also favourable for a University to operate a comprehensive research strategy. This provides a diversification of income – another revenue stream in addition to student fees – which ultimately creates more opportunities locally, which, in our opinion, is a great thing.

We’re seeing a large increase in the number of customers who are gearing up take the business of research management more seriously, and move from a world of paper-based approval, poor costings or siloed departments working alone, to a much more constructive institution-wide strategy backed by support from the highest level of the University. Modern Universities create 5 to 10-year strategies for expanding the research area, underpinned by an investment in business processes and technology.

We have many customers who have started this journey with Unit4, who have found the benefits of creating a solid foundation from which to build. If you want to know more about how we help Universities deliver research excellence, you can read more here.

Andrew Garner

Andy has worked in the HE sector for the majority of his career, and joined Unit4 to specialise in Student Systems and Student Experience. During his career in HE, he has worked for several SI’s in different roles, giving him rich mixture of experience in the sector. He is passionate about making things better for students, and believes the power of higher education can transform lives. Andy has a unique perspective on how the sector works and he understands that success in the sector involves taking the time to build a strong relationship between parties, which can then be used to achieve great things together.

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