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Research and Innovation Services

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The Research and Innovation Services (RIS) division has been set up to integrate research, innovation and enterprise support at UCL.

Research and Innovation Services (RIS)

Led by Claire Glen, Executive Director of Research & Innovation Services, RIS brings together UCL’s Research Contracts and Research Services teams.

As well as sponsored research, the new division will also support innovation and research-related projects. While there are no changes to any current processes or ways of working at this point, over time we envisage that RIS will include the activities and functions of Research Services and Research Contracts, along with new teams for Operational Strategy, Policy & Planning, and Quality & Assurance.

Over the next few months the Research Support Transformer team will be supporting RIS to:

  • identify what changes might be needed to the systems that support research and innovation;
  • to better understand how innovation activities could be supported centrally through RIS pilot;
  • and to make it easier for researchers to find the information they need by developing an online portal that offers signposting and guidance based on the research and innovation lifecycle.​

As subsidiaries of UCL, UCLC and UCLB will not be part of RIS and will continue to provide their services to the academic community.

Why setup the Research and Innovation Services Division?

Since June 2019, the Research and Innovation Support Transformer team have been working closely with the Research and Innovation community, the Research Operations Group and the Research Strategy and Implementation Group, to explore the changes to research and innovation support that we think are needed to enable us to sustain and advance our position as a world-leading, research-intensive university.

In June 2020 we agreed on a vision for the future of research and innovation support that “enables excellent research and innovation by providing efficient, effective and flexible advisory and administrative services”. Integrating our services within RIS is key to achieving this vision and is aligned with the needs of researchers, for who research and innovation are often inherently linked or indistinguishable from one another. 

Through RIS we aim to deliver:

  • high quality end-to-end research and innovation support that adds value to the academic mission;
  • improved compliance with terms and conditions, policies and regulation;
  • and the professionalisation of, and investment in, research and innovation as a discipline and career.

Trialling new ways of supporting Innovation Projects

In order to understand how we can best support innovation activities centrally, we have established a pilot with colleagues in the Faculties of Engineering and Medical Sciences. There are many ways that collaborations and funding is brought in to UCL and the aim of the pilot is to capture as many of these routes as possible.

Starting in February last month, the pilots led by Liam McCafferty, Head of RIS pilots are planned to run for at least six months and will be focused on a small volume of projects. The first three months are focussing on supporting innovation activities in the pilot faculties, while the second three months will focus on how innovation and research support could be more integrated to improve services to academics.

The pilots will therefore seek to work with a wide range of professional services divisions including, but not limited to, the following teams: Research Services, Research Contracts, OVP Innovation and Enterprise, SLMS and BEAMS Research Coordination Offices, Translation Research Office, OVP Advancement and UCL Legal.