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Video message: 4.5M investment to address challenges in our research portfolio

A video message from Professor Emma Flynn, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, on our University Executive Board's prioritisation of just over £4.5M to address some of the challenges we have faced within our research portfolio. The funds will be used to address issues such as support for grants and PHD students in their final year.



I’m Professor Emma Flynn, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise here at Queen’s.

2020 has not been the year that we expected, and I have been enormously impressed with the manner in which we have embraced and overcome the challenges that it has brought. We have all had to make difficult decisions and sacrifices. In June of this year my counterpart, Professor David Jones, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students stood where I am today and read out a joint statement that we had written. In the statement we asked staff to prioritise the immediate needs in the teaching portfolio. You did an amazing job: moving teaching online, dealing with students’ uncertainty and needs, and making critical changes to our teaching delivery, including the acceleration of completion of courses for some healthcare students. While I am so proud of what we have achieved, I am also sure that you can imagine that that was a difficult decision for me to make, as I know that Research and Enterprise is a central part of who we are and what we do.

Therefore I am delighted to announce that the University’s Executive Board have prioritised just over £4.5million to address some of the challenges that we have faced within our research portfolio. We are extremely grateful to the Department of the Economy, UKRI, and the University, for providing these funds which will be used to address issues such as support for grants and PhD students in their final year. We’ll be thinking about how we align these resources to significant missions and initiatives such as the Belfast Region City Deal and Strength in Places bids, drawing on our skills in secure, connected intelligence; Advanced Manufacturing; Health and Life Sciences, sustainability, as well as the Creative Industries. We also acknowledge that certain groups within the University have been impacted more than others by the lockdowns. Those who have had to care for young, old and vulnerable relatives have found that their typical working patterns have been particularly adversely affected. We will be working with the Faculties, and Queen’s Gender Initiative, which has done some amazing work to audit the impact of the lockdown on our community, to find out how best to deliver these funds to those individuals and teams that have been most impacted.

We value all our staff. We value all your research. Not because it meets external metrics, but because it makes a positive contribution whether to your discipline, or to our local and global communities through social, environmental and economic change.

I have no doubt that there will be challenges to face as the new year begins, but I know that we are committed to building a better future. This investment is one step towards this.

I hope you have a restful Christmas and a happy new year.