Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

NAMRIP heavily cited as example of good practice in HEFCE report

Published: 14 November 2016
NAMRIP members networking

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) recently published a report on best practice in the conduct of interdisciplinary research in the UK. The reports can be found on the HEFCE website.

NAMRIP is cited heavily in the report ‘Case study review of interdisciplinary research in England’ (available to download below), for example in the following paragraphs:

“Mentoring and development of postdoctoral researchers is another key strategy for sustaining IDR [Interdisciplinary Research]. Efforts are made so that the interdisciplinary way of working becomes attractive for ECRs and their future career prospects. An interesting example is the Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention (NAMRIP) where the chair has regular meetings with postdoctoral researchers to help them with career development. They are encouraged to attend conferences, be adventurous and rigorous, and build expertise in new areas. Moreover, ECRs are deliberately encouraged to apply, as the primary investigator, for pump-priming grants, which gives them experience of drawing up and being responsible for a budget (around £20,000), managing staff, and leading a project. ECRs in NAMRIP have found this tremendously useful as it sets them apart from other ECRs when applying for longer-term jobs. It also helps to build capacity and expertise within the area, making it sustainable over a longer period.”

The HEFCE report goes on to say:

“In its first year, NAMRIP has grown to £5 million from the initial £10,000 grant. The funds have helped to explore opportunities and ideas, and the administrative support proved vital for keeping track of finances, communication (twitter, blog, etc.) and general administration, leaving researchers free to conduct IDR. Small, quick projects are also useful to accelerate translation from fundamental research to impact.”

“What has worked well for interdisciplinary researchers at Southampton is a clear structure with able leadership and accountability in combination with the freedom to organise themselves internally. The right leader, once chosen, has to be trusted to deliver. In addition, encouraging researchers from all career stages to work together also seems to be important for successful IDR. On the one hand, having senior, experienced members makes it easier to attract funding, while on the other hand, ECRs help to carry the research area forward, thus making it more sustainable.”

The HECE report quotes NAMRIP’s chair:

“According to Professor Timothy Leighton, the chair of NAMRIP, moving from monodisciplinary to interdisciplinary ways of conducting research also requires some courage from researchers to take risks and investigate new research problems, since their tendency is to become experts in increasingly smaller areas that are as close as possible to their PhD training. Over-specialisation is unhelpful, because to tackle real-world and industrial problems, researchers need to be ‘problem solvers’ rather than ‘solution sellers’. His view is that the USRG model provides support for new ideas and allows researchers to remove the shackles of disciplines and talk to new people. He adds that it is not enough to just get people from different disciplines to work together. Fostering a community in which researchers acquire knowledge and learn new approaches from working with other disciplines results in genuinely innovative thinking and ground-breaking ideas. This approach leads to game-changing solutions, not just incremental changes.”

“In terms of what works generally for building and sustaining IDR at an institution, Professor Timothy Leighton states that there are three crucial factors: personal rapport and trust, leadership, and continuity of funding. Team members need to be able to get along and trust each other. They also should be motivated, engaged and well led. Personal qualities of the leader such as trustworthiness, rigour and vision are also vital for success."



Privacy Settings