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The Research-Education Ecosystem

In this exciting debut blog post, Professor Neil Gow, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact,  explains how he sees the University’s Research and Education strategies interlinking.

Professor Neil Gow

‘A considerable part of the appeal of my joining Exeter last year, was its complementary strengths as both a research intensive university and an institution with a strong educational tradition – evidenced by writing for this Education Incubator blog!’

A significant challenge for me in my second term at the university is to work with a broad team of colleagues and staff members to begin to frame the next Research and Impact Strategy.

This will be a highly consultative exercise involving volunteers, workshops, site visits, a range of user groups across the entire university and on-line questionnaires that engages with academic and professional services staff, students, early career researchers, established senior researchers, collaborators and translational partners.

A fundamental principle in this exercise will be to recognise the intimate interdependence between our teaching and research programmes.  As a concept we might describe this interdependence as a “research and education ecosystem”.

We know that the ability to deliver the best educational opportunities generates graduates who go on to generate high quality research at the university and beyond.  The excellence and world-leading nature of our research programmes magnetises students to come to our university from the UK and abroad to undertake undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship programmes.

This is a true circular economy in which the currency of knowledge, skills and cooperation underpin our core values, global reputation as well as the financial stability of our institution.

Staff who teach and inspire new generations of graduates are also engaging with our research programme and feeding their expertise into the research community.

Researchers who teach become more effective communicators and can help instigate an understanding of how knowledge is created as an emergent property of research and scholarship.  This ecological interdependence recognises that we are one community engaged in the discovery of knowledge.

The new Research and Impact Strategy will support and develop this ecosystem and use it to ensure that we gain the maximum value from our outstanding staff and student community.  This mutual strength enables us to address the grand challenges of the world and to deliver a distinctive educational experience through collaboration.

I am looking forward to receiving your inputs into the development of the Research and Impact strategy, which you can do by sending your comments to our on-line site that enables anyone to input their thoughts at any time.

Professor Neil Gow is a globally-renowned microbiologist. Find out more about his work at the University of Exeter here


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