'Do Different' - Eastern Arc Newsletter - #3 (Autumn 2021)

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do dif f er en t The t ermly newslet t er of East ern Arc Autumn 2021

M entori ng sch eme opens up Race, eth ni ci ty, decol oni sati on: new resources Ti nder f or col l aborators Wh at does new gov ernment pol i cy mean f or your research ? A gui de to th e new European f undi ng programme Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

Speci al I nterest Groups What are they, and how can they help you and your work?

A note f rom th e Di rector

It's become a cliche: 2020-21 was a year like no other. As with every other aspect of our lives, the work of Eastern Arc has been impacted by the pandemic, and we've had to adapt to working virtually. In March 2020 I thought this would be a negative, but the past 18 months have proved the opposite. Zoom and Teams have become normalised, and we've been able to have more conversations between the three universities with more people than ever before. This has paid off in the creation of our 'special interest groups (p7), communities of common interest and podcasts (p5), and the development of our publications (p4).

It has also enabled colleagues to get involved in our ground-breaking mentoring scheme (p6), and I'd encourage you all to consider joining in the second round. Together we've achieved a huge amount, and I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has made the time to explore the potential of our collaboration. If you want to get involved and haven't been in touch yet, do drop me a line at p.ward@easternarc.ac.uk.

A 'Ti nder' app to h el p EA RC dev el op col l aborati ons Developing creative, sustainable research collaborations can be difficult, particularly in a world in which the opportunities to meet in person have been limited. Early career researchers (ECRs) can find it especially hard, as they may not yet have developed a broad network of contacts, but academics at all career stages can face an uphill struggle in making links beyond their own discipline or with colleagues outside of academia. To help to overcome this, Eastern Arc is supporting the development and roll out of a new app. This has been created by TRN ? The Research Network, led by Dr Andy McElroy, who formerly headed the External Research Solutions team at Pfizer Sandwich, Dr Jennifer Hiscock, a reader in supramolecular

chemistry and UKRI FLF fellow at Kent, andDr James Bentham,a lecturer in statistics, also at Kent. Although three scientists created the app, it is suitable for people working in any discipline in which team-working is important. The app is a platform that uses AI machine learning algorithms to support the development of research collaborations. It is very simple to use and takes less than five minutes to sign up. The more people that sign up, the more effective the algorithms will be in finding potential collaborators. To download the app, click on the links to Google Play or the Apple App Store here.

Race Eth ni ci ty Decol oni sati on

In the spring we hosted a webinar and short podcast series Earlier this year a group of three academics from across the Eastern Arc, on ?decolonising the curriculum? . (Do Different issue 2). We were joined colleagues working across the three together with Irene Hardill frombyNorthumbria, secured funding fromEARC the universities to counter embedded racism provide a ESRC to look at Mobilising Voluntary Action: Learning fromand Today, positive, framework for both students and staff. Prepared for Tomorrow. Theinclusive project commissioned a series of podcasts to

discuss the effect of As thepart pandemic on agreed a rangetoofdevelop charities. Some had of had to of this, we a ?community ?pause?their volunteering services, while others hadEastern had to Arc increase them common interest? of those at the universities to cope with unprecedented need. in the wider issues of racism and with an interest discrimination, whether that be through their research, their

Two of the podcasts are now available on the project website, and also on teaching and learning, or through personal or professional the Eastern Arc website. The EARC Director, Phil Ward, speaks to experience. charities as diverse as the National Trust, the Aberdeen Arts Centre, In the summer we launched the first iteration of this list, Lurgen RFC and Befriending Networks in Scotland to take a measure of and it isaffected availabletheir here.work. how the pandemic has

We recognise that it is a starting point for conversations, discussions and collaborations, and will inevitably be Episode 19 ? Special Edition: Pausing during thedo contact incomplete. To help make volunteering it more comprehensive, pandemic us with suggestions of those to include, whether that be Episode 20 ? Special ?Befriending?during the pandemic yourselfEdition: or others.


Thedifferent participants in the original webinaracross are continuing to Tune in to listen to the experiences of charities the discuss theirthird work, and we will be which lookingwill at other country, and watch out for the special edition, be initiatives going on across the universities at an institutional level. By recorded over the summer. doing so, we hope that we can support and facilitate links within and between the universities that will enable the sharing of knowledge, experience and good practice. If you want to play an active part in this, do get in touch.

Photo by Philip Martin on Unsplash

The two episodes are:



Part of our work isin sharing the knowledge and expertise we have in each university with colleagues acrossthe Arc for mutual benefit. One way we do so isthrough our publications, which are available online on our Issuu channel. Thisterm we look at two bookletsthat can help you navigate the complexities of European funding and the government'srecent strategic priorities.

A gui de to Hori zon Europe Following our joint series of webinars on the EU?s new funding programme, Horizon Europe, we have produced a simple introduction that can help academics and professional service staff understand and navigate it. It gives an overview of: -

The structure of the programme Each element ? or ?pillar? Wider issues such as partnerships and widening participation The ?COST?actions, which provide network funding.

The guide is available here (pdf) and on our Issuu channel, here. For more information on applying for European funding, talk to the experts in your research office: -

Ian Beggs (European Funding Manager, University of East Anglia (UEA)) i.beggs@uea.ac.uk Dr Beat e Knight (Research Development Manager EU/International, University of Essex) beate.knight@essex.ac.uk Dr Sarah Tet ley (Funding & Partnership Development Officer, University of Kent) s.r.tetley-8@kent.ac.uk

Understandi ng th e pol i cy l andscape The research and innovation policy landscape has shifted significantly in the past decade, and change has accelerated since the Johnson government came to power in 2019. There has been a large number of recent strategies and policies, and it?s difficult to find time to understand the maze of promises and proposals. To help with this, we have prepared a briefing paper that offers a short overview of the current priorities of the Government following recent developments, and how EARC is placed to meet them. It is intended to be a primer for those applying for funding, or those who lead and support them in doing so. Understanding the broader framework of priorities will, we hope, enable us to better focus our efforts and ensure that our research ties in with the areas the government wants to fund. The paper is in two parts: Section A summarises four key messages that appear consistently in government policy and strategies, and how EARC?s strengths and profile relate to them; Section B provides a brief overview of each of the documents themselves. The paper is available to everyone at an EARC university. To access it, contactinfo@easternarc.ac.uk

New Heal th Ch ampi on at K ent Dr Rob Barker of Kent's School of Physical Sciences has joined Eastern Arc as the thematic champion for Health Systems, Social Care and Wellbeing. He will be taking the place of Prof Michelle Garrett, who has had to step down due to other commitments. Rob will bring an invaluable perspective to the theme, with an interdisciplinary interest that crosses fields as diverse as engineering, physics, chemistry, forensics, biology, medicine and computing. To find out more about Rob?s work, watch him talking about his research here. For more information or to get involved in Eastern Arc, get in touch with us at info@easternarc.ac.uk

Communi ti es of common i nterest

Podcasts During the summer we released two new podcasts. -


Natural Capital, which brought together Andrew Lovett (UEA), Alex Dumbrell (Essex) and Rob Fish (Kent). 'Deplorables?and the deep web?, which was a recording of Prof Alan Finlayson's EARC conference session.

Photo by Vyacheslav Prisichev from Pexels

In addition, the ESRC-funded project on volunteering during the pandemic (featuring Jurgen Grotz (UEA), Ewen Speed (Essex) and Eddy Hogg (Kent)) has released two special podcasts hosted by EARC Director Phil Ward, and featuring discussions with charities. These have been published on the project website, and are available on the EARC site too.

As well as the community of common interest focusing on 'race, ethnicity and decolonisation' (p3), we've also been supporting the creation of two more: -


Heritage management, material and visual culture:The Eastern Arc region is home to some of the most significant historical and cultural sites in the country. Our universities are a reflection of this, and our expertise in heritage management, material and visual culture is broad and diverse. Natural capital: The idea of ?natural capital?extends the economic notion of ?capital?to encompass the world?s stock of natural resources, including its geology, soils, air, water and all living organisms. This directory demonstrates the range and diversity of research going on across EARC to assess these.

EA RC M entori ng Sch eme: open f or appl i cati ons The second round of the Eastern Arc mentoring scheme is now open. Over 90 colleagues took part in the first round, and feedback from it included comments about why participants had found it useful, including: -



?Shaking up set ways of thinking, whether that be ?It doesn?t have to be done like this?or ?Thank God my institution doesn?t do things like that?: both are equally illuminating and helpful.? ?Peer support from a colleague with more experience and knowledge of working in the academy full time. You can gain from their wisdom and knowledge. It has enabled me to write a first draft of a paper for publication which has been something I?ve wanted to start for a long time?. ?Finding someone who ?gets?me and having unconditional support from someone with lots of experience of what you have been through?. ?Having a mentoring relationship with someone outside of your own institution. It forces you to listen to the issues rather than seeking to provide solutions based on your understanding the structures. It also allows a greater sense of honesty?.

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

In one case, a respondent described the experience as ?life changing. It made me realise I do have a place in academia and that I am allowed to take up space, and find meaningful ways to work, I don?t just have to be grateful for whatever scraps my employers throw my way?. If you would like to take part, fill in the simple form on our dedicated page by 31 October 2021.

EARC Special Interest Groups Publications group This group is exploring the options for developing a joint platform for small-scale open access publications. It invited the Director of the White Rose Universities Press to discuss their work, and has also been joined by a colleague from Amsterdam University Press.

Research development group Currently in development, this this group will act as a platform for seeking collaborations, sharing training and other opportunities (as appropriate), and sharing best practice/specific questions. The first meeting is due to take place later in the autumn.

Part of the work of Eastern Arc is to encourage and facilitate those working in professional services to meet, discuss common issues, ideas and problems. By doing so they can work together to identify solutions and share resources. Here we give an update on the work of a selection of the groups that have come together over the last 18 months

Archives and Special Collections group The EARC universities are home to outstanding art collections, rare archives and unique repositories. Archivists and curators have been forging links with the National Archives and the CHASE consortium, considering how best to link the collections for the benefit of researchers and students.

Visa and Immigration group

European Funding group After the success

Current events have been challenging for those working on issues of visas and migration, and the group has discussed issues such as the uncertainty around association with Horizon Europe, raising awareness and engaging overseas colleagues in the Global Talent Visas, and the development of Gender Equality Plans.

of the coordination of UKRO visits across EARC and the development of a guide to Horizon Europe (p4), the group is now considering how it can further coordinate training events and develop factsheets and guides for academics across EARC.

HPC and IT Infrastructure group High performance

Technicians? network Technicians

computing (HPC) is becoming increasingly important for research that involves big data, and the group are looking at learning from each other as to how this is provided at each university, sharing strategies and supporting each other in their implementation.

play an essential and fundamental part in the work of a research intensive university. A proposal for an EARC technicians?network has been prepared, and a first meeting of technicians scheduled for the autumn. The network will also play a crucial part in the development of a joint equipment database and sharing protocols.

Getti ng i nv ol v ed i n Eastern A rc In each of our newsletters we finish with a reminder of the ways in which you can get involved in Eastern Arc. The suggestions below are not exhaustive; we're constantly exploring new ways of developing collaborations. If you have an idea for an initiative or activity that doesn?t fit within these categories, contact info@easternarc.ac.uk.

Bepart of alargeinterdisciplinarynetwork


In this, the second phase of Eastern Arc, we are focussing our efforts on four areas of common strength. Find out what these are and contact the academic champions who are leading our collaborative efforts in these areas.

As well as developing thematic networks, we are compiling directories of EARC academics working in specific areas, such as Healthy ageing, Mental health, Migration, Medical humanities. These can be used to identify potential collaborators and colleagues.

h t t p:/ / bit .ly/ EARC4t h em es h t t p:/ / bit .ly/ EARCch am pion s

Con t act in f o@east er n ar c.ac.u k t o f in d ou t m or e

Joinaspecial interest group

Get adviceoutsideof your university

As we set out on p7, there are a range of special interest groups for those working in professional services. They're a great way of making links, networking, and sharing issues. You can join existing ones or set up your own.

With EARC we can go beyond the limits of our own university and benefit from the opportunities offered by working with others. Mentoring is one way of doing that, giving us a different perspective and alternative insights. The second round is now open; find out more on p6, or by clicking the link below.

Con t act in f o@east er n ar c.ac.u k t o f in d ou t m or e

Talktothepublicabout your research

h t t p:/ / bit .ly/ EARCm en t or in g

Learnhowexternal policyaffectsus

Last year we launched our podcasts as a way of helping to inform the public about what was going on and the research behind the headlines, but also to enable us to continue collaborating during lockdown. We've now recorded 13 episodes, and are always on the lookout for new ideas.

EARC lobbies on behalf of the EARC universities and other stakeholders in our region. As part of this, We have set out our position on key issues affecting us, including the levelling-up agenda and post-Brexit research funding. Click on the link below to get briefed on the issues that affect you.

h t t p:/ / bit .ly/ EARCpodcast s

h t t p:/ / bit .ly/ EARCpolicy

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