The University of Westminster has launched the new Westminster Researcher Development Awards, which were developed by the College Research Directors in collaboration with the Research and Knowledge Exchange (R&KE) Office at the University.

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The Awards aim to nurture the growth of academics in the earlier stages of their career, supporting them to become more research active and achieve major impact. They will provide two years of support at £5,000 per year, with the second year contingent upon successfully meeting commitments agreed for the first year.

At least 12 awards will be made across the University in 2021/2, and the College Research Directors and R&KE Office anticipate a further round of awards each year during the current REF cycle. Researchers are able to use these Awards to help them fund conferences, research travel, field work, research expenses or specialised methodological training.

The Researcher Development Awards are available to staff on joint teaching and research contracts who are at Lecturer or Senior Lecturer level, and to research only staff at Research Fellow or Senior Research Fellow level. By accepting an award, researchers commit to developing their skills and knowledge of the funding and impact environment by attending relevant researcher development programme events, as well as working with a mentor to support their development and attending peer networking sessions.

Each of the funding awards will be given to researchers who demonstrate sufficient prior research experience, and evidence that they are able to develop and grow their research over the two-year period of receiving the funding. They must also have developed a track record consistent with making independent funding applications during the course of this period.

Talking about this new initiative, Professor Andrew Linn, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), said: “In all universities there tends to be a small number of established researchers who draw in the majority of the funding or achieve the major impact. We want more people at an earlier stage in their research career to be moving into this category, hence our new Westminster Researcher Development Awards. We plan to offer these each year, and I’d like to encourage our academic colleagues to consider this opportunity and how your research might achieve a step change from gaining one of the awards.”

To find out more about the Researcher Development Awards, email [email protected].  

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