My week - 25 February 2013 - Professor David Hogg, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Professor David Hogg, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, gives an update on European research funding, a postgraduate open day, and research ethics.

Professor David Hogg

The European Union (EU) budgetary negotiations which took place earlier this month brought relatively good news for us. Although the size of the research budget is less than 3% of the total EU budget, it’s a lot of money in research terms. Research is one area where the UK does much better than the rest of Europe in terms of our success at winning the grants.  The University itself does very well out of European Research Council (ERC) funding – it makes up about 15% of our total research budget – so there was concern that a cut in funding could have a very big impact.

In the end, the European Council agreed an overall budget for Horizon 2020 (the funds earmarked for research over the next seven years) which is expected to be some €70 billion.  Although it’s not as much as we had hoped for, it still exceeds the current Framework Seven budget by some €17 billion.  So, a substantial fund is there and the good news is that the intention is to allocate a large percentage of this money to ‘Synergy’ projects, which have between two and four Primary Investigators and a maximum value of €15 million.  With our acknowledged expertise in broad strategic themes, such as water and food security, Leeds is in an excellent position to put together convincing cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional bids for these larger projects.

I was delighted with the initial results of ‘Join the Leaders’, our first University-wide Postgraduate open Day. It attracted over 400 visitors, close to 70% of whom were from outside the University. Feedback at the introductory talks and information fair in Parkinson Court was extremely positive, before delegates made their way to individual faculties to find out more in the afternoon. Whilst it’s a little too early to quantify how many of those attending will go on to take up PG study with us, the interest levels shown certainly demonstrate that there’s an appetite for a regular University PG open day and we’re already planning for the next one. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part for making the day run so smoothly.

I am pleased to report that the new Research Ethics Policy that the University Council approved earlier this year is now in place. It sets out a framework of good conduct and legislative compliance for researchers, research participants and the University. The policy applies to all research involving human subjects or their data; all research with the potential for an adverse impact upon the physical environment; and all research with other significant ethical dimensions. You can find more information at In addition, the policy will soon be available on the Secretariat’s website along with the other University policies.

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you in advance to all those colleagues who have been working on their second submissions to Research Excellence Framework.  This week sees the cut off date for submissions; it’s a major milestone and will be the first proper ‘dry run’ of what our final submission will look like. It’s been a demanding process and I really do recognise all the hard work and efforts put in by colleagues.


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