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Strategic Alliance

AU/BU Research and Enterprise Support Unit (RESU)

RESU is one of the initiatives developed as part of the Research and Enterprise Partnership between Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities

The Research and Enterprise Partnership was established in September 2006 with the support of  Reconfiguration and Collaborative funding of nearly £11m from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. This pioneering partnership builds on the international research reputations and capabilities of Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities with the aim of enhancing their competitiveness and creating a sustainable world-class research base in North and Mid-Wales. In its first phase, the Partnership is committed to the creation of four internationally competitive research teams: the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research (CCCR), the Centre for Integrated Research in the Rural Environment (CIRRE), the Centre for Advanced Functional Materials and Devices (CAFMaD) and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS).

A major objective of the Partnership is to  develop innovative, effective and efficient ways of supporting, managing and developing research programmes and research collaborations of the highest quality.

The collaborative Research and Enterprise Support Unit (RESU) plays a key role in  supporting academics at both universities to win research grants and other forms of sponsorship. RESU also supports the exchange of knowledge between academic and industrial researchers and the successful exploitation of that knowledge by companies and society more broadly. RESU also supports researchers in the two Universities to address the priorities outlined in the Welsh Assembly Government's Winning Wales strategy:

  • enabling strong links between businesses and our education institutions on a wide range of matters including recruitment, training, management development, international networking and technology transfer;
  • enabling the successful commercial exploitation of good new ideas from wherever they emerge.

What is RESU?

RESU is being developed in order to maximise the effectiveness of the services which support research, innovation, enterprise and business development within and across the two Universities.  

RESU includes: the Partnership Office, whose  staff who are joint appointments of the two Universities and who have a special responsibility for supporting the work of the four research Centres, plus the Research Support Staff employed (and line managed) in the Research Support Offices of the two Universities; Aberystwyth’s Commercialisation and Consultancy Services (CCS) and University Innovations Bangor (UIB).
Strategic Objectives of RESU:

  • to increase significantly income for research, from the research councils and other UK public funding bodies, from the European Union and from industry;
  • to align the research and enterprise strategies of the two Universities
  • to develop business development capacity that can actively market the research expertise of both institutions to Wales and internationally;
  • to enhance the management of the institutions' intellectual property;
  • to develop shared best practice in business relations, commercialisation and technology transfer through the exchange and improvement of knowledge, skills and processes;
  • to promote effective and economic Third Mission activity, including:
    • promotion of a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship amongst staff and students;
    • providing services to business such as training, Continuing Professional Development and knowledge exchange activity;
    • engagement in regional economic development activities, partnerships and programmes;
    • development of alumni networks specifically focused on engagement with the universities' economically relevant activities.

The main functions of RESU at an operational level are:

  • To enable AU and BU to maximising the effectiveness of the support they offer for research, innovation, enterprise and business development by sharing complementary expertise and good practice.
  • To provide AU and BU staff with information on funding opportunities.
  • To promote the writing of joint bids for research and consultancy income.
  • To monitor joint bid submissions and success/failure rates.
  • To develop joint intellectual property (IP) and confidentiality agreements.
  • To provide financial advice during development of bids for research and consultancy income.
  • To provide support for KTE activities.
  • To provide support for building commercial partnerships.
  • To provide advice and judgements on project viability and financial soundness of large joint projects.

In addition, and at a more strategic level, RESU will:

  • Co-ordinate the production of joint strategies and policies (and alignment of separate strategies and policies) for: research, knowledge transfer and enterprise, IP and consultancy.
  • Co-ordinate the approach to the REF and metrics.
  • Monitor research income arising from joint projects and projects arising from collaborative research centres.
  • Implement the agreement on overhead sharing on joint grants.
  • Implement mentoring of joint research and consultancy bids.
  • Generically respond to consultations and the HEFCW Research Sounding Group.
  • Explore joint working on TRAC and FEC; compare TRAC and FEC data.
  • Develop joint bids for infrastructure funds (e.g. SRIF, as in SRIF3).
  • Organise staff training relating to research, innovation and enterprise.
  • Share expertise (e.g. in  KTPs at BU, and IP at AU).

Specific achievements of RESU to date include:

  • The provision of additional resource in the area of research support and project management in 2007.
  • Continued collaboration between the Directors of CCS and UIB in fostering links between their staff, leading to increased sharing of good practice  and increased resilience for the service.
  • Collaboration between CCS and UIB in exploring joint working on the skills for employability agenda with the Careers Departments of the two institutions and in seeking funding to pursue developments in this area through a bid to the HEFCW collaborative strategy fund
  • The completion of a skills gap analysis in the research grants area and proposals to inform the development of RESU.
  • The establishment of an EU Convergence/FP7 joint working group which also involves Swansea University.
  • The establishment of a joint technology transfer group to explore joint IP exploitation.
  • The establishment of the Welsh Institute for Sustainable Environments (WISE Network), led by Bangor with AU and Swansea as partners.  WISE Network was formally launched at the Royal Welsh Show in 2007 and attracted beneficial press coverage for the project and for the participating institutions.
  • Research Research, a UK wide information service on research funding opportunities, is being  delivered jointly within the two Universities from summer 2008 (when a new contract starts). Currently BU’s Research Newsletter (based on Research Research and other sources of funding information) is distributed to Aberystwyth academics working in the four research Centres.
  • A joint Aberystwyth CCS and Bangor UIB workshop on the 19-20 May 2008 to bring staff together to explore at synergies and closer working opportunities.
  • A Knowledge Transfer and Exchange conference for all interested parties across Wales has been organised for the 21-22 April 2008.
  • There has been a successful Business Alumni Networking Event at Bangor and Aberystwyth has begun a series of ‘open’ Business Networking Events.
  • Liaison on RAE submissions including wording of RA5s. 
  • Agreement on overhead distribution for joint grants.
  • Recruitment and appointment of a Business Development Manager and a Partnership Assistant.
  • Production of a joint Third Mission Strategy
  • Production of a joint response to the HEFCE/HEFCW consultation on REF.

The RESU BOARD

The work of RESU is overseen by the RESU Board, chaired by Bangor’s Registrar and  including the PVCs with responsibility for Research and Enterprise in both Universities and the Directors of CCS and UIB with Partnership Office Staff in attendance. The board reports to the Strategic Management Board of the Research and Enterprise Partnership and to the AU/BU Strategy Board

RESU BOARD Terms of Reference

  • To ensure that there is a joint strategy for research and enterprise support.
  • To promote the development of joint processes in these areas.
  • To ensure that both universities have an improved research and enterprise support service that adopts best practice from each institution, disseminates information about funding opportunities, supports the development of individual bids from concept to submission, and provides advice on the financial component of bids, particularly FEC.
  • To put in place mechanisms that facilitate joint bidding for research funds.
  • To act as a co-ordinating body for the development of joint policies on IPR and consultancy, and a joint research strategy.
  • To improve working relationships between the two universities and major funders, such as Research Councils.
  • To facilitate training for the joint research community.
  • To promote liaison over REF submissions and metrics-based QR funding.
  • To promote liaison over large infrastructure bids.
  • To encourage an improved joint service for commercialisation and knowledge transfer.
  • Developing a better service in as an efficient way as possible through operating economies of scale.
  • To oversee the operation of RESU, including the operations of the Partnership Office.