By Isabelle Szmigin, Deputy Dean of Birmingham Business School and Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer
On March 29th academics from Business Schools throughout the UK came together for the Annual Research Conference of the Chartered Association of Business Schools. This year the Birmingham Business School hosted the conference in our new Alan Walters building.
Following a welcome from Anne Kiem, the Chief Executive of the Chartered ABS, Professor Simon Collinson, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor in the Business School gave the audience some more information regarding research income for Business and Management that was included in a report within the conference pack. The report used data from HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) and unfortunately the news was not good! The report shows a total decrease of 8.2% in research income for Business and Management research since 2010/11. With inflation this is effectively a real decrease of 19%. This is at a time when research income for all higher education institutions has increased by a third. Our share shows a proportional decrease of 30%.
We then got more meat on the bones of the funding issues with Jonas Nystrom, Head of Science and Innovation at HM Treasury who made clear that the UK Government views sustainable growth in the long term as being through innovation with research being categorised as the process of innovation that leads to commercially successful application of ideas. This inevitably has a leaning towards science and technology. Post Brexit, Jonas emphasized that there was mutual benefit for participating in programmes across Europe and noted that internationally co-authored papers tend to get over 30% more citations.
There followed a number of interesting sessions with great input from both the speakers and audience and with some really incisive questions regarding the preparation for REF 2021 and delivering real-world impact. Our own Rebecca Riley, Director of City REDI gave an interesting and informative talk on the link between regional impact and delivering high quality output. Later in the day I was also impressed by the session on leading and managing a research teams and left with the importance of not forgetting that we are all in the market of producing knowledge.