The meeting was introduced by Sarah Barton, Strategy and Operations Manager for Digital Futures and Sustainable Futures , who welcomed new members including Lorna Pontefract, Senior Communications and Engagement Officer for SEED, Michelle Davies, Business Engagement Lead for the Productivity Institute and Victoria Phillipson, Business Engagement Officer for RBE. She then updated on recent activity across Digital Futures and Sustainable Futures including the Fellows Information event, CaDiR / Innovation Clubs Showcase event, BBC Reith Lecture, and Turing Fellow spotlights.
Professor Nigel Hooper, Associate Vice-President for Research, presented on the focus of his role, and discussed how interdisciplinary research is facilitated through the University’s institutes, platforms and beacons:
- Institutes are where we’ve achieved or aspire to achieve world-leading status in interdisciplinary research. There are currently 24 Institutes, which link to UMRI as a governing body for oversight.
- Platforms provide forums, focus and resources to connect and drive interdisciplinary collaborations and amplify our strengths in these key areas. They support research, external engagement and impact across the relevant Institutes, Centres, research groupings and individuals.
- Beacons showcase our pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-sector partnerships we have when tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges.
He then took part in a two-way Q&A session with network attendees, which explored key topics like how to measure interdisciplinarity, making sure the impact from our research is realised, the importance of closely involving communications and marketing with research, and the benefits which come from bringing together researchers and PS staff from across the University to tackle new questions in ways they couldn’t do alone.
This was followed by an update from Lauren Mullan, Communications and Engagement Coordinator for Digital Futures and Sustainable Futures, on the recent external launch of the Sustainable Futures Platform, and a presentation from Jo D’Angelo, Energy Beacon Communications and Marketing Manager, on the University’s ’Climate questions’ campaign.
We also heard ad hoc updates from Matthew Harrison on the ongoing IDSAI-Turing Sandpits , Peter Kane on the upcoming AI and the Arts event , Orla Burden on the GM Connected Heath Ecosystem event , Fiona Treacy on Guest Access for Teams , and Rachel Kenyon on the FinTech North Manchester Conference.
About the network:
This network brings together colleagues from across the University in PS interdisciplinary research roles, including Institute, Centre and Beacon Managers, Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange staff, and Communications and Marketing colleagues. The group meets every two months to hear updates from colleagues and discuss synergies and ways of working together across interdisciplinary activity at the University.