Today I was at a one-day information event run by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). According to UKRI, the GCRF is a ‘a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries’. Also, ‘GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.’ My paraphrase is that GCRF funds research specifically to do good things™.
It’s already been good for me and my colleague Wegene Demeke because it funded our research in Brazil earlier this year. Now the onus is on us to follow up that 3-week project with a bigger piece of research leading to positive impacts on Brazilian society. So I was keen to learn more about how to do this from the funders themselves. In fact I was so keen I was on an aarrgghh-o’clock train this morning to sunny Glasgow. (I am not usually capable of simultaneous speech and locomotion, let alone anything approximating to thought, before about 10am.)
Lessons and take-home messages
GCRF has been going for more than 4 years and will finish at the end of year 5, so why did I only hear of it in mid-2018?
This is probably because my university was awarded an amount of funds for seed-projects in 2018, and I’ve not looked too assiduously for funding!
If I heard correctly, there isn’t a guarantee of GCRF 2.
However, UKRI and the research councils wouldn’t be running events like this if GCRF2 was unlikely.
According to other another researcher I talked to, Wegene and I aren’t the only ones finding it difficult to obtain funds for translation.
Our saga is too painful to repeat here.
The value of this sort of event is who you meet.
I met another researcher who is doing engineering research in Brazil. I hope this will help build our networks in Brazil.
It’s very pleasing to say that the latest paper by Hazel Hall, Peter Cruickshank and me has been accepted for publication. A PDF of Closing the researcher-practitioner gap: an exploration of the impact of an AHRC networking grant will become available on the university repository page in the not-too-distant future. (I think it’s embargoed until the relevant issue of Journal of Documentation is published.)
We’re using the funding to organise four one-day network events between July 2019 and July 2020. A proportion of this will be used to cover expenses of network members to participate at the events: travel for all members as required; travel and accommodation for those travelling long distances, e.g. from the Highlands and Islands. An extensive online presence for RIVAL will allow others to benefit from the project.
The main goal of the project is to develop and strengthen relationships between LIS researchers within Scottish universities, and between these LIS researchers and practitioners in Scotland. We hope that in doing so the practitioner participants will increase their confidence and self-efficacy as research users and partners.
The project team members Hazel Hall and Bruce Ryan are based within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, and supported by a Project Board that includes Ines Byrne of the National Library of Scotland, Martina McChrystal of the University of Glasgow, Paul McCloskey of the City of Edinburgh Council, Emily Prince of Westerhailes Education Centre, and Andy Taylor of the University of Edinburgh.
At a turning point in my life, I applied to study for a part-time MSc in ‘Information Systems Development’ at Edinburgh Napier University. Apart from meeting my wife and becoming vegan, this is probably the best thing I’ve ever done. Now there are two PhD studentships available, so you can join me at the university’s Centre for Social Informatics. Continue reading →
This is an update of a post from my first week in São Paulo, with input from my much better half. Mistakes of course are my fault, not hers.
If we don’t get PB right first time, people will lose confidence in it.
In this lesson, right can be replaced with good enough, because nothing is perfect, and Scotland is just learning to do PB.
This lesson means we need effective processes so that people know they have made the choices.
It also means that what is promised must be delivered near enough on time and near enough on budget.
This should happen in any context, no matter how much (or how little) money is involved.
We can argue about what near enough means at appropriate points.
Projects must be monitored as they proceed.
Also, due diligence/monitoring must happen at the end of project periods.
And that data must be analysed to see what is effective.
There should also be the possibility of discontinuing projects if it turns out that they are unlikely to be delivered, or if the benefits can be delivered in better ways, or if an urgent need arises for the money allocated to the project.
But this must be done transparently, and must not even appear to be party-political.
Don’t rely on revenue forecasts, because what is forecast may not materialise!
Annual cycles, i.e. projects that must be started and completed in a year, may be sub-optimal.
LeithChooses’ 2018 turnout (1000/20,000 = 5%) is good.
I’ve been a mostly-quiet member of the Open Government Network Scotland for about two years. I’ve not done much, just quietly supported the idea that if we have access to facts and ideas, we can make more informed, and hence better, decisions. However, in December I spent a weekend proofreading a late draft of the new Open Government Action Plan, so I was delighted to be invited to this morning’s launch of the finished document.
As ever, this post is to consolidate and review my thinking and learning, as well as to share it. So errors and omissions in this account are mine.
Here is the agenda for the day. My tweets, thoughts and write-up follow it.
Official Launch (Livestreamed): Welcome speeches by, then Q&As with, co-chairs of Open Government Steering Group:
Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell
Member of the Open Government Partnership International Steering Committee, Lucy McTernan
COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) – Cllr Graham Houston, Vice President
Workshop: Delivering the Action Plan in partnership and beyond
Group discussion questions: How do we work in partnership?
How do you want to be involved? How can government and civil society/third
sector work collaboratively together? How might this work? How do we take
Table 1: financial transparency
Table 2: participation and public involvement
Table 3: access to information
Table 4: being more accountable
Table 5: transparency on Brexit
Closing remarks – Stephen Gallagher, Director of Local Government
Three years after Write Now! was launched, it’s back! This time around I’m the project lead, because I benefited from many of the sessions during the first year and so I was keen to get it going again. My colleague Frances Ryan has joined in on the project bit to add her expertise and experience, and to assist in setting up the writing sessions each week.
The sessions are held on Wednesdays from 2.30-4.30 pm. There is no obligation to join us every Wednesday. However the sessions are held at the same time each week so that participants can add the on-going events to their calendars. This will essentially block time out in advance so that they can protect this valuable time slot from being taken over by other meetings. It’s a great way to prioritise writing time.
Write Now! is for research students and academic staff who want time for concentrated writing. This time can be used to work on thesis chapters, journal or conference submissions, research grants, or other academic writing.
The sessions are self-led and participants manage their own writing processes. On arrival, participants are given a voucher for a drink and snack before they start writing. At the end of the session, they are asked to fill out brief (anonymous) progress cards noting what their writing goal was (and whether they met that goal) and the approximate number of words they wrote during the session.
Join us every Wednesday through May (and maybe into June)! Triangle Café (downstairs at Merchiston)
Free drinks and snacks
And don’t forget your laptop (or pen and paper if you’re Old Skool like that!)