Our Purpose

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Initiate, Nurture, Sustain

Jenny Ames Consulting Ltd provides expertise in:

    • Coaching and mentoring to develop talent, including career transition coaching and coaching of university researchers
    • Research leadership and management, including the impact in society of university research
    • Initiation and nurturing of cross-sector collaborations, including academia and business in the for-profit, public and charity sectors
Accelerating collaborations between universities and users of research, including businesses, the public and voluntary sectors, civic society and communities

The university story

Universities are multifaceted, complex organisations. Their traditional activities have been education and research. More recently, these activities have evolved and others have come into play. This has led to the role of universities expanding. These changes have placed additional expectations on staff.

Universities are facing diverse challenges from government, the public and society. These include economic pressure to do more with less, uncertainty about staff and student recruitment and retention, and questions about their value and role. Universities need to be agile and willing to evolve to survive and thrive. They need to differentiate themselves and become more innovative.

The traditional ‘ivory tower’ concept of universities has dramatically weakened with many universities now playing the role of an anchor institution in their region.

In the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the impact of research ‘beyond academia’ – in other words, on the economy and society – was introduced. The weighting for research impact case studies in REF 2021  has increased from 16% of the REF in 2014 to 25% in 2021. Therefore, the impact of research is being given increasingly serious consideration for the REF by universities. Collaborations with organisations and communities outside academia are essential for success here.

But collaborations between universities and other organisations should not be driven by the REF, nor are they all about the REF. Academic research can be the start of strategic collaborations involving universities with other organisations focused on, for example, attracting businesses to the region, Master’s programmes to provide advanced skills in shortage areas, and providing public events such as lectures and festivals that enrich life and wellbeing.

Beyond academia

Increasingly, universities collaborate with other organisations in their region including business, further education colleges and local government with the aim of sharing knowledge and making a positive difference in society. Universities are frequently very active members of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Enterprise Zones, City Deals and Growth Deals, local devolution, and regional Science and Innovation Audits. They are extremely well placed to collaborate with other organisations to address significant challenges faced by society.

Currently, there are several major challenges that need to be tackled by society. These include the need to ensure:

  • climate change is effectively addressed
  • affordable and clean energy and transport
  • affordable and sustainable healthcare (physical and mental)
  • affordable social care for a growing elderly population
  • education and skills development to meet the needs of employers
  • a thriving economy and employment opportunities
  • healthy and sustainable environments
  • social cohesion
  • safe and resilient communities
  • the wellbeing of society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society

While society faces several complex challenges, there are also opportunities. These can be addressed by a range of organisations, including universities, working together. Developments in robotics, autonomous systems and the digital economy provide the opportunity for innovation. For example, robotic surgery has been providing greater precision and access within the human body for several years. Big data (very large data sets) can be used to model scenarios and interrogate patterns to assist with planning in many areas including transport, healthcare, and security. What are the cross-sector advances that await identification and development for a better world?

In 2016, the government announced an additional £4.7 billion funding for research and development in the 4 years to 2020. In autumn 2017, Jo Johnson announced an additional £30 million to fund Knowledge Transfer Partnerships which help businesses to improve their competitiveness through working with the knowledge base, such as a university. The government has subsequently committed to reaching 2.4% of GDP investment in research and development by 2027, and to achieving a level of 3% in the longer term.

The UK’s Industrial Strategy White Paper was issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in November 2017 (updates June 2018). Its aim is to improve productivity by strengthening five ‘foundations’ – ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places. It emphasises the need for businesses and universities to work together. The government used some of the £4.7 billion funding announced in 2016 to establish an accompanying Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support world-leading researchers working with business to address 4 Grand Challenges identified in the strategy: artificial intelligence and data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and ageing society.

Sector Deals (partnerships between government and industry) in a wide range of sectors have also been made. The aims of the strategy are delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Funding is available to address predefined industrial and societal challenges. There is also funding to support significant regional growth and challenges faced by developing countries. Calls for funding applications and success stories are issued periodically.

The evolution and effective implementation of the Industrial Strategy is helping to address identified challenges and prepare the country for a changing world. Different sectors will need to work together in new ways to formulate innovative solutions and be open to viewing them from different perspectives.

Developing a clear understanding and plan for working with other organisations
Jenny Ames Consulting accelerates collaborations between universities and users of research
Jenny Ames Consulting accelerates collaborations between universities and users of research
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society

Coaching to support people to thrive in a changing world

People in all sectors need to adapt to a changing external environment and changes within their own organisation. This means being open to change and opportunities to do things differently, as well as facing challenges in partnership with other organisations or sectors.

Collaborating across sectors and types of organisation requires individuals to have the ability to communicate effectively and work flexibly with colleagues from other backgrounds who are used to working in different ways. This requires different ways of working to generate novel and effective solutions.

Organisations need to be agile and responsive to external changes, and this impacts on staff. Restructuring, new roles, changing roles and different ways of working all have the potential to lead to discomfort and stress (although they can also cause excitement).

Coaching can help staff at all levels to successfully and quickly adapt to change. This includes support for individuals who have (or are thinking of) changing job, either through choice or redundancy.

Research leadership and management

Coaching and mentoring to develop talent

Initiation and nurturing of cross-sector collaborations

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