A toolkit that facilitates Research & Innovation (R&I) enablers to engage in discussions about R&I culture has been launched as a free to access resource. Here at PraxisAuril we're proud to have played a part in the development of this key culture change tool, working in a group drawn from across the sector that included PraxisAuril's Director of Policy & Communications, Tamsin Mann.
Why R&D enabler?
R&I enabler is an umbrella term used to describer those who faciliate research and innovatioi. Many roles and grades across the sector are R&I enablers; from accountants and administrators, to technicians and teachers. These roles influence how research and innovation happens, is funded, communicated, achieved, experienced and maintained. R&I enabler roles can be entirely focussed on R&I - for example innovation manager, or can be part of a wider remit - for example, librarians. These are roles that often go unacknowledged in public discussions about research and innovation. UKRI's '101 jobs that change the world' campaign is going some way to change perceptions around the 'lone scholar' stereotype in particular, but more can be done to recognise their contribution and address aspects of working culture for non-academic staff.
Shared experiences, shared solutions
The toolkit, an evolved version of the Wellcome Trust Reimagine Research Café Culture kit, is designed by R&I enablers for R&I enablers. It aims to give a voice to the those historically absent from research culture discussions, despite evidence that indicates they are experiencing many of the same issues that are highlighted in researcher surveys (1-3). For example, 44% of Researchers and 43% Research Managers and Administrators surveyed in 2020 by ARMA reported experience of bullying, harassment and discrimination (4). It is therefore important that R&I enablers are part of these discussions to help shape a solution to a shared experience, to ensure sustainable and inclusive change for the benefit of all.
However, there are areas where R&I enablers have community-specific issues and experiences. This toolkit illuminates and consolidates some of the most common R&I enabler experiences in one place to help provoke solution-based discussions, which will empower agents of change within and for R&I enabling communities.
Everyone can be an agent of change
This toolkit is the product of a collaboration between professional bodies representing R&I enablers who are passionate about giving a voice to their community. It is specifically designed to facilitate discussions around experiences of R&I culture by R&I enablers, and has been piloted in two Higher Education Institutions, University of Glasgow and Queen’s University Belfast.
It is freely available to download from collaborator websites and includes clear instructions, facts, figures and quotes to generate discussion, and a framework to identify solutions and pathways to realise these:
Download Guidance Notes for Hosts
Download Slide Deck
Be part of the change
Because everyone contributes to and benefits from a positive and inclusive R&I culture we want every role and every career stage, in every corner of the sector, to engage in this. Your voice matters. Your experience and skills are valid. You have the power to change the culture you and others experience.
Share this with others and help spread the word by using #R&IEnabler on social media.
(4) Experienced bullying/harassment/discrimination (B/H/D) (ARMA: includes ‘experienced – 13%’ and ‘both witnessed and experienced 31%’ figures) ARMA (N=224) Wellcome (N=4167-4169) 44% 43% : Source: https://arma.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ARMA-Research-Culture-Survey-2020.pdf