'Do Different' - Eastern Arc Newsletter #6 - Spring 2023

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do different

IN THIS EDITION

A m anifest o for our coast

Resources from our flagship conference

Tw o new net w orks launched

Equipm ent sharing edges closer

A t echnicians' net w ork is est ablished

Pract ice researchers share t heir know ledge

We respond t o t he Windsor Fram ew ork

Spring2023
The termly newsletter of Eastern Arc

Inthelast editionof Do

Different welooked forwardtoour annual conference, which focussedon'the CollaborativeCoast' The event,whichtook place inSeptember,wasa significant stepfor us, demonstratingthe conveningpower of the consortium,andmaking clear our mission Asyou will seeonp3, therewassignificant engagement from outsideof thethreeuniversities.For me,thisis important:I verymuchwant EasternArctoenable collaborationsacrossour region,andadvocateon behalf of our external stakeholdersaswell asthose withinour universities Youcanfindalink toslides, photographsandrecordingsfromtheconference below,andreadabout akey manifestothat hascome out of theconferencetotheonp4.

Elsewhere,wehavebeencontinuingtofacilitateand developequipment sharing,particularlyaround imagingfacilities,andwe'vetakenasignificant stepin signingamemorandumof understandingtoestablish anImagingPlatformAlliance(p5) We'vealsoreceived fundingfromtheBBSRCfor alightsheet microscope (p7),tobehostedat Essex,aclear demonstrationof the funder'sbelief inwhat wecandocollectively.

Finally we'veestablishedtwofurther networksaround openresearchandthemedical humanities Youcan readabout themonp8 andp9,but alsoclick onour new landingpagetoseeall of our current (and currently developing)networksacrossour consortium.

A note from the Director

'The Collaborative Coast': Resources from our conference now available

Resourcesfromour 2022 Conferencearenow availableonline.Theseincluderecordings,slides andphotographs.Toaccessthemall,gotoour dedicatedwebpage,here.

ThisConferencewasfocussedonour coast StretchingfromtheWashinthenorthtothe Channel inthesouth,it offershugeopportunities ?but alsosignificant challenges

It wasachancefor academicsandregional stakeholderstocometogether todiscusskey questionsfacingthecoast,fromaddressinghealth inequalitiestopreparingfor climatechange,from harnessingrenewableenergy tosupportingour creativecommunity

160 delegatesjoinedusat WivenhoeHouse Hotel ontheUniversity of Essexcampus.They camefromthethreeEARCuniversities,but also fromlocal authorities,NHSTrusts,charities, fundersandother organisations

Together,they heardabout adiverserangeof initiativesandprojects,engaged witheachother andexploredwaysforwardincollaboratingfor thebenefit of our coast.

Gotoour websitetofindout moreabout theday andcatchupwithsomeof thediscussionsthat wereheld

Launch of the 'Blue-Green Manifesto'

Thekeynotespeaker for our conferencewasProfessor Jules Pretty (University of Essex)whooutlineda?visionof hope?for our coastal communitiesandecosystems,basedonevidence fromaroundtheworld,andanunderstandingof thebroader historiccontext.Heset out aroutemapfor theway ahead, towardsafutureforgedfrom?blue-greenregeneration?

After theevent,Prof Pretty,workingincollaborationwith theEasternArcDirector Phil Ward,developedhistalk into a manifestofor change Entitled ?Blue-GreenCoastal and SeasideRegeneerationfor SeasideCommunitiesandCoastal Ecosystems:Renewal Principles,PrioritiesandEvidence?,the paper bringsanew focusonthevalueof healingwhole systemsat thesemarginsof landandsea,formingnew natural, social andcultural assets,engagingthepublicandcitizensin new ways,andcreatingpositiveside-effectstoadvancea circular andlow-carbonbioeconomy

It presentsexamplesof ?evidencefor hope,?andsuggest that stories,support andappropriatepoliciescanboost blue-green transitionsthat will helprebuildeconomicandsocial systems at all seasideandcoastal locations

It concludeswithtenpolicy proposalsthat challengethe current statusquo,andthroughwhichblue-green regenerationcanbeachieved

?Coastal locationshaverarely beentreatedby researchand policy asbeingpart of thesameconnectedsystem,?saidProf Pretty ?Different agencies,ministriesanddepartments, different businessesandthirdsector organisations,tendto approachcoastal locationswithonly narrow interests

?Thismanifestodeliberately andnecessarily takesadifferent approach.Weview thecoast asawhole,fromfishingvillages totourist resorts,fromdelicatenatural ecosystemstolarge industrial container ports.They areall interlinked,andwe must work holistically toaddressthesignificant and entrenchedissuesthey face Workingtogether,wewant to build ontheopportunitiesthat exist for regenerationand renewal?

?Withthepublicationof thepositionpaper,EasternArcenters itsnext phase,?addedPhil Ward.?Wearebuildingonthe engagement andexcitement that wasclear at theconference andworkingwithexternal stakeholderstomakereal thehope that thismanifestoprovides?

Themanifestoisavailablehere(pdf),andonour Issuu bookshelf here

Imaging Platform Alliance: MoU signed

Thesharingof large,strategicand platformequipment betweenthe EasternArcuniversitieshascomea stepcloser withthesigningof a memorandumof understanding (MoU)for thedevelopment of an ImagingPlatformAlliance

?Thisisanimportant stepforwardfor theConsortium,?saidPhil Ward, Director of EasternArc.?Wehave beenworkingfor sometimeto developaframework by which colleaguescanaccessanduse equipment at eachof theuniversities

TheAllianceseesthisbeingput into practice.Eachof theuniversitieshas significant microscopesandother imagingfacilities(suchasthe recently-awardedlightsheet microscopeat Essex,p7),andmaking theseavailablewill bothenable

worldclassresearchtotakeplace, but alsofacilitatecollaborationsand closer linksbetweencolleaguesat threeuniversities.?

TheMoU relatestolarge,strategic equipment andfacilities,andmakes clear that theAllianceshould beas unbureaucraticaspossible ?Thiswill becrucial,?saidWard ?If theprocess isdifficult anddrawnout,people won? t engage.It shouldbeaseasy to accessequipment at apartner institutionasit isat your own?

A workinggroupiscurrently working tofinalisethesedetails,andit is hopedthat theAlliancewill launch later thisyear.

Technicians' Network established

All threeEasternArcuniversities recognisetheimportanceof techniciansandtechnical staff across all areasandthevital part they play indeliveringthevery best student experience,internationally recognisedresearchandinnovation, andsupport for thecommunity

Throughthenational Technician Commitment programme,they have pledgedtosupport thevisibility, recognition,career development, sustainability andimpact of all technicians

Followingthiscommitment,wehave establishedaTechnicians?Networkto

provideasupportive cross-institutional community by techniciansfor technicians.

It buildsonthework of theALENT Commission,whichhasprovidedan invaluableframework for technicians nationally

TheNetwork isbeingledby a steeringgroupof technicianswhich iscurrently developingalaunch symposiuminthesummer,and EasternArchasprovidedfundingfor themtodoso If youareatechnician at theUniversity of East Anglia,Essex or Kent andwant tofind out more,or get involved,doget intouch withus

Funding for lightsheet microscope secured

TheBiotechnologyandBiological Sciences ResearchCouncil (BBSRC)hasawarded EasternArca£480k grant for a state-of-the-art lightsheet microscope that will enablescientiststoobserve delicatecells,tissuesandwholeorganisms without damagingthemwithintenselight Dr PhilippeLaissue,wholedthebidand will host thefacility at theUniversity of Essex,explainedwhy thisissoimportant ?Microscopyhasturnedintoanincredibly excitingareaof researchover thelast two decades,withseveral recent Nobel Prizes andmany new technological developments

?However cellsareeasily damagedif intenselight isfocussedonthem?and many conventional microscopy techniques usevery bright light.

?Lightsheet microscopy cansolvethisissue by providinggoodimagesat low light intensity Usinga?sheet?or planeof light, cellscanbeobservedgently over daysand without damage,producingbreathtaking movies.Sogettingthislight-sheet microscopeisafantasticopportunity and enablesustodoresearchthat isnot possiblewithany other technique?

Together withcollaboratorsacrossthe EasternArc,Laissuewill usethehigh-end light-sheet microscopeincombination

withcutting-edgesoftwaretoaddressnew andexcitingbiological questionsin biomedical andenvironmental research

Thecollaborationisthefirst stepinanew ?ImagingPlatformAlliance?betweenthe EARCuniversities A memorandumof understandingwassignedby the pro-vice-chancellorsof UEA,Essexand Kent inJuly,andaframework of access, costingandsupport iscurrently being developed.

?Thisisareally excitinginitiativefor EasternArc,?saidPhil Ward,the consortiumdirector ?Sharingequipment not only enablescolleaguestoaccess facilitiesthat they may not haveat their owninstitution,but opensup opportunitiesfor collaboration, exploration,andsharedworking.Not only that,but wehopeit will offer achancefor our technicianstowork together and thereby developknowledgeandinsights that will benefit their homeinstitutions andtheir owncareers By sharing equipment,everyonewins?

Moredetail ontheImagingPlatform Alliancewill beavailablelater intheyear, withadedicated webpageanddetailsof how membersof EasternArccanuse equipment acrosstheconsortium

GrowthofCandidaalbicansoverhalfaday,imaged usinglight-sheet microscopy.Thishumanpathogen canformthinfilmsonvoiceprosthesesand catheters.Abetterunderstandingofhowit grows canhelpusidentifynewwaystoprevent it.Timeis colour-coded,showingthestart ofgrowthinblue (0h)andendinginyellow-white(12h).Imagecredit: PhilippeLaissue,CampbellGourlayDanPentland andIntelligent ImagingInnovations.

Open research network created

EasternArchasestablishedanopenresearch network tohighlight theimportanceof reproducibleresearchandprovideacademics andresearcherswiththetools,adviceand support necessary toensurethat their research isopenandrobust

Ledby Dr StephanieRossit (UEA),theNetwork will mirror andamplify,onaregional scale,the work of theUK Reproducibility Network.

Asafirst step,theNetwork hasdevelopeda websitethat will act asa?onestopshop?for open research,signpostingthesupport availableat theuniversitiesof East Anglia,EssexandKent, theresourcesavailablenationally,andthe

eventsthat areopentothoseat thethree universities.

Inaddition,EasternArchasprovidedfundingfor aseriesof eventsincludinganannual conference,andisencouragingcolleaguestoget involvedwithitsactivities,either inleadingor participatinginthem

Tofind out moreabout theNetwork andtoget involvedclick onthelink here.For the backgroundcontext tothereproducibility crisis, havealook at our positionpaper,here.

PhotobyJakaylaToneyonUnsplash P h o t o by J a k a ly a T o n e y o n U n s lp a s h

What networks and groups exist across Eastern Arc?

At theheart of EasternArciscollaboration,conversationandcooperation Toenablethis,a number of networks,groupsandcommunitieshavebeendeveloped,andwe?vedevelopeda webpagetoreflect these

They involvebothacademicsandprofessional servicescolleagues,andcover areasasdiverseas openresearch,equipment sharing,medical humanitiesandheritage.Eachhasadifferent formand focus:they canbeinformal directoriesor discussion groups,or they canbemoreformal cross-consortiumadvocacy andpolicy groups,takingleadershipinspecificareas

Onthepreviouspagewehighlightedthecreationof theOpenResearchEasternArc(Orea) Network andbelow we explainthework of avery different kindof groupwithinour medical humanitiesfocusarea

Tofindout about themall gotoour dedicatedpage,or contact us.

Articulation

/ Experience / Embodiment

Our experiencesof the worldarealways embodied Wecannot helpbut speak from bodies;our bodiesspeak tous,inwayswemay not consciously understand; andthey alsooftenspeak for usinuncontrollable ways Aswearticulateour embodiedexperiences,we bumpagainst the understandings, experiences,and articulationsof other-bodiedpeople.The entanglementsof articulation,experience, andembodiment mark every attempt to understandourselvesand every interactionwith others.

Articulation/ Experience/ Embodiment probesthese entanglementsat theheart of thecritical medical humanities Thisnew

network will belaunched withanevent that will examinecrucial questions aroundtherelationship betweenexperienceand representation;different forms,meansandcontexts of articulatingknowledge andhealthandillness;and themethodsfor narrativizingembodied experiencethat openout techniquesandspacesfor empathy,healingand change.

Theworkshopwill bea springboardfor future activities,includingan online?livingdictionary? resourceandaspecial issue/editedcollection.

Wewelcomeresearchers at all stagesof their studies andcareers,workingboth withinandoutside academia

Sharing knowledge of practice research

EasternArchostedaoneday workshopon10 January 2023 for thoseworkingon practiceresearch(sometimes knownaspractice-based research,or practiceas research)

It wasledbypractitioners fromthethreeEARC universities,andwasachance toexploretheissuesand opportunitiesfacingthose whosework involvesa significant practiceelement Practice Research and the REF

Thefirst sessionheardfrom twoREFsub-panellistswho hadassessedpractice researchoutputsaspart of their work

Paul Allain (Professor of TheatreandPerformanceat theUniversityof Kent)and Anshuman Mondal (Professor of Modern Literatureat UEA)ledthe session

?Practiceresearchistreated very positively,?suggested Paul,?but rigour isvital when makingthecase?For complex or multi-component pieces, thereneedstobean understandablestructure withstrongrelationships betweendifferent elements, goodsignposting,andaclear articulationof theresearch dimensionof thework ?The panel needstounderstand theresearchprocess,andit shouldnot beassumed?

Hissub-panel hadbeen surprisedbytherelatively low useof double-weighting

inhispanel:only13.1%of outputshadusedthis,an increaseof 3.9%onREF2014. Thiswas,however, significantly lower thanother subpanelsinMainPanel D Anshumansaw hiswork asa panellist as?aprivilege? . However,it wasn? t easy.

isstill goodresearch:it is ?nationallyexcellent?,and shouldn? t bedismissedor seenasafailure?Inaddition,it may well leadto4* research asit develops

Creativenon-fictionwas increasinglyvalued,and websiteswerebeginningto play apart,althoughthey only formed0.3%of all outputs. Translatorswerebeing includedandrecognised,and thiswasa?step-change?inthe REF

Long-formoutputsusually scoredbetter,asit waseasier toseethedevelopment of an idea However,thiswasnot alwayssimple,andhegave theexampleof,say,ashort story by Hemingway Over timeit may havebeenhugely influential,but that would be difficult tojudgeby aREF panel whichhadjust received it post-publication

?Everyonetold meit wouldbe brutal,andthey wereright,? hesaid,andsuggested that ?creativeoutputswere?some of thebest thingsweread.? Throughtheprocesshehad learnt alot about the discipline,includingan understandingof new fields andmethodologies

Muchof thework that had beenpresentedwas ?intensely interdisciplinary? , andthiswasmost present in practiceresearch Healso emphasisedthat ?2* research

The300 wordsupporting statementsweren? t always important:theimportanceof thework wasoften ?self-evident?increative writing.Interestingly,his experienceonthepanel had rekindledhisloveof poetry, openinghiseyestotherange andquality of work being producedat themoment. Finally,bothpanellists highlightedthevalueof practiceresearchinimpact casestudies,wherethey were over-represented It was somethingfor which practitionersshouldbeproud

AnshumanMondal

Effectively managing practice research

Thesecondsessionwasledby four academicsworkingwith practiceresearch: Ambrose Gillick (Kent), Annecy Lax (Essex),Mary Mazzilli (Essex), and Amy Sackville (Kent) They spokeabout their individual experienceof practiceresearch,but alsotook part inapanel sessionwhere they discussedtheir work with eachother andrespondedto questionsfromthefloor

A number of key points emergedfromthese discussions.

- Don? t worry toomuch about framingthe researchquestions initially Thesecan emergefromthe practiceand development of the work Thequestions needtobe?inflected?by other disciplines Don? t beafraidof comingback toelementsof your work,or ?unpacking?it further.

- It isimportant to document your work.

Thevalueof doingsois fourfold.First,it helps toarticulatetheprocess anddevelopment of your research;second, it provides methodological evidence;third,it offers away tounderstand andarticulatethe questionsandaimsof your work;andfinally itt givesyoua framework for your research

- Bepreciseintheway youarticulateyour work It soundssimple but isvery difficult.

- Practitionershavea verydifferent view of researchandthe outcomesfromit ?Academicsliketomark piecesof paper,? suggestedAnnecy,and it?simportant to understanddifferent perspectiveswhen collaboratingwiththose outsideof higher education

Funding for practice research

Thefinal joint sessionheard fromtwoexperienced

academicswhotalkedabout their fundingjourney,andthe different opportunitiesopento them.Paul Allain (Kent)talked about smaller international or discipline-specificfunders; Paola di Franco (Essex)spoke about her experienceingetting aUKRI FutureLeader Fellowship

For smaller funders,the processof applyingisusually relatively simpleandinformal, andthechancesof successare high For thelatter,it canbea hugecommitment,requiring significant time,energy and effort.Thepayoff isthat the fundingtendstobemuch larger andtherecognition(and potential for promotionor other benefits)muchgreater Anoverview of funding availablefor practiceresearch isavailablehere(pdf)or goto our Issuubookshelfhere.

Future activities

It wasagreedthat aworkshop or mini-conferencebe organisedtoshowcase different PARprojects.Details arestill tobeagreed,but if you wouldliketobeupdatedon this,contact us.

InMarchtheGovernment agreed theWindsorFrameworkwiththe EuropeanUnion,whichopened thepossibilitytotheUK's associationwithHorizonEurope, theEU'sresearchandinnovation programme.Whenit was publishedwerespondedtoit, makingclearourposition.Our responsewasasfollows.

TheEasternArcuniversities haveastrongrelationshipwith mainlandEurope All threeare membersof activenetworksof Europeanuniversities(Aurora, Yufe,Yerunand3i),andinthe EuropeanCommission?slast researchandinnovation fundingprogramme,Horizon 2020,thethreeuniversities collectively secured£74mfor 168 projects

Theuncertaintyaroundthe UK?sinvolvement (or ?association?)withthecurrent framework programme, HorizonEurope,hashada significant impact onthework of our academicsand researchers Somepotential applicantsfor fundinghave beenreluctant toapply,and developinglinkswithEuropean partnershasbeenmademore difficult.

Althoughwewelcomedthe Government?sprovisionof a fundingguaranteefor UK projectsapprovedby theEC,as well asitswork incontingency planning,wemadeclear that thisisanimperfect solution, andthat full associationwith HorizonEuropeshouldbe pursuedasamatter of urgency toensurethat UK researchers donot loseout onthe opportunity toengageand buildonstrongcollaborations withEuropeanpartners. Assuch,wejoinwithother

university,businessandfunder groupstowelcomethesigning of theWindsor Framework,and thestatement by theEC President,Ursulavonder Leyen,that shewas?happy to start?work onanassociation agreement?assoonasthe Framework wasimplemented However,likeothers,wehave strongconcernsastothe timeframefor thiswork.These werevoiced most recently by theMinister of Statefor Science,Researchand Innovation,GeorgeFreeman, whosuggestedthat it may take 9-11 months,citingthe exampleof Swissassociation.

Moreseriously,wearealarmed that,havingreachedthispoint, thePrimeMinister issaidtobe ?sceptical?about thevalueof theprogramme Now,more thanever,wefacehuge challenges,fromdemographic changetotheclimatecrisis, fromthedevelopment of AI to antibacterial resistance It is only by workingcollectively andglobally that wecan addressthesechallenges,and full associationwithHorizon Europeistheclearest way that theGovernment cansupport our researchsector indoingso.

WeurgethePrimeMinister andhisgovernment toexpedite discussionsthat will leadtoa quick andcomprehensive agreement for theUK?s associationtoHorizonEurope. Without it,wefacecontinued uncertainty,disengagement, andaweakeningof our capacity toaddressthese significant global threatsthat,if left unchecked,will adversely affect usall.

Eastern Arc's response to the Windsor Framework

Wit h radical heart s and open m inds

Eastern Arc is the regional research consortium that brings together the universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent.

All three universities were established in the 1960s to be a different type of institution, aiming to work across disciplinary boundaries, and to offer alternative ways of thinking.

Eastern Arc continues this tradition. If you want to find out more about our work, go to our website where you can discover what we've achieved so far and how you can get involved.

ht t ps:/ / east ernarc.ac.uk/ get t ing-involved/

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