Research Strategy

Research Strategy of the Department of Social Sciences

Research Aims: The primary aim of the research strategies of the Department of Social Sciences is to ensure the engagement of staff in cutting edge research, the production of high quality, nationally and internationally esteemed publications and to impact positively on communities, stakeholders and society beyond academia.

This is paralleled by two other core goals. First, to promote research that will generate and disseminate social knowledge designed to have a significant and positive social, economic and cultural impact in terms of policy and practice for socially marginalised and excluded groups and communities. Second, to increase the number of PhD students and create a context to ensure the successful completion of their theses.

Research Culture: The development and growth of a dynamic research culture is a key goal for the strategic planning of the Social Sciences. Research is central to our activities, reflected in its mainstreaming in departmental decision-making processes. The Social Sciences has a dedicated Research Coordinator who provides support and advice, along with senior researcher colleagues. Research is central to planning within the department. and also underpins curriculum design, management and delivery, with research-led teaching at the core of our programmes; particularly at all levels. The research culture of the department is enhanced by the organisation of seminar and public lecture series and via meetings of the research centres/groups.

The Department organises an annual Research Seminar Series. This includes fortnightly events where presentations are given by both invited academics undertaking cutting edge internationally-recognised research and early career researchers from within the department itself. The seminar environment provides an opportunity for colleagues to benefit from the insights of experienced visiting speakers and early career researchers to explore their work and future research directions in-depth, through discussion and dialogue, with colleagues.

Individual Planning and Self-Reflection is also central to the development of staff research profiles and activity and Research Support is provided in a range of guises, including appraisal and review processes to allow for the identification of support needs and to inform resource decision-making, including, staff deployment, administrative and other responsibilities and access to research leave and funding. A mentorship system ensures that all new staff, and early career researchers in particular, are allocated to, and mentored individually by, senior research active academics (Readers and Professors).The departmental systems of research support is oriented toward the support in preparation of external funding bids, production of outputs, development of research projects and delivering papers at international conferences, and is enhanced by university-wide research support policies and facilities.

Research Management, Leadership and Planning: Leadership within departments is provided by Heads of Department, supported by the research coordinators along with senior research members of the staff team (professors, readers). Research leadership within the centres/groups is provided by research coordinators. Department research planning forms part of the overall annual department strategic plans, discussed with senior management at bi-annual monitoring meetings, including the Faculty Associate Dean for Research and Head of the Research Office. Department plans are also discussed at Faculty Research Committee and the University Research Committee (at which in both cases the department is represented by the research coordinator).

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