The dramatic cuts in capital funding in 2011 rocked academics working in scientific research. However as Lancaster University VC Mark Smith reports, this shock to the system has enabled the concept of equipment sharing to gain real ground.
Collaboration has led to efficiencies in areas such as procurement and shared services, but it can be a challenge to embed this culture. The University of Nottingham’s Paul Greatrix shares his experiences of a successful collaboration with the University of Birmingham.
Adrian Cox, based at the University of Southampton, is project manager for equipment.data, an EPSRC funded project in response to the need to improve visibility and utilisation of UK higher education research equipment. We sat down for a ten minute chat with Adrian to find out exactly what equipment.data is all about and how it’s creating opportunities for efficiencies among institutions UK wide.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond’s report on efficiency in higher education highlighted universities’ achievements in asset sharing and called on them to build on this work. Rosie Niven rounds up the views of leading thinkers in the sector around the future of sharing and collaboration in research.
The final report of the Higher Education efficiency review can play an important role in informing decisions at the next Spending Review, the universities minister Greg Clark MP told the Universities UK conference.
The N8 Equipment Sharing Toolkit (EST) was launched in February 2014 at the University of Manchester. Sarah Fulton from the University of Sheffield explains the open and collaborative process behind the project's success.
Portsmouth University, together with Portsmouth City Council, has won funding from the Higher Education Funding Council (Hefce) to investigate ways of sharing resources.
These case studies were selected from the report ‘Making the best better – efficiency and effectiveness in higher education’, produced by Sarah Jackson of the N8 Research Partnership on secondment to BIS.
Dr Hamish McAlpine from the University Bath and Dr Steve Trowell from the University of Exeter talk about the simple steps we can take to become more efficient in how we support equipment through its life. These steps are also very amenable to measurement, offering the opportunity to benchmark and improve over time.