Sam Kingman

September 27, 2023, by Rob Ounsworth

Signing off with news of excellent Knowledge Exchange Framework results

Welcome to my final update as Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange. Thank you for your support and goodwill during my time in this interim role.

I’m delighted to sign off with excellent Knowledge Exchange Framework results and a strong round-up of support and opportunities for our research community.

From October I hand over to Professor Tom Rodden. Tom is a Professor of Computing at the university and has been working at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as its Chief Scientific Adviser since January 2019. 

As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering, I look forward to working with Tom and supporting him in delivery of the university’s research strategy and enhancing support of our researchers. 

University reaffirmed as leading collaborator with industry and public sector 

In KEF3, Nottingham has been reaffirmed as one of England’s leading universities for working collaboratively with industry and the public sector and the commercialisation of Intellectual Property. 

Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is a survey of how universities work with external partners for the benefit of the economy and society.  

The results of KEF3 reconfirm Nottingham’s excellence in knowledge exchange and the vital role we play in supporting innovation, addressing global challenges, and driving local economic growth. I am pleased to see that we have scored highly on public and community engagement, ensuring our audiences are aware and able to be involved in what we are doing embodies the spirit of KEF.  

The KEF results, however, can only tell part of the story and are made up on the back of hundreds of projects delivered by UoN colleagues from working with global firms like Rolls-Royce, Siemens and GSK to develop zero carbon transport and new therapeutics to supporting inclusive communities in our city in our pioneering Universities for Nottingham partnership.   

Our recent investment in Castle Meadow as well as our work with the East Midlands Freeport and investment zone demonstrate our commitment to ensure our world leading KE delivers tangible benefits to the people of the region. 

In my final update before handing over to Tom Rodden, I am also delighted to share with you further news of progress in delivery of our research strategy, while thanking all colleagues who play key roles in enhancing support for researchers.

Knowledge Exchange and Impact Awards: have you applied? 

There are just a few weeks left before the application deadline for the Knowledge Exchange and Impact (KEI) awards 2024, which celebrate the contribution of our research to society and the economy.   

The deadline is Monday 16 October. Find out more and apply. 

The awards are open to all disciplines and present an exciting opportunity for researchers to celebrate their achievements with colleagues, funders, collaborators and beneficiaries and raise awareness internally and externally of the exceptional work across the university.    

The ceremony will be hosted by Vice Chancellor Shearer West at the East Midlands Conference Centre on Thursday 1 February 2024.  

I look forward to seeing you there.

Thanks and farewell to Research & Innovation’s Pip Peakman as further support for researchers is rolled out 

Research and Innovation (R&I) is rolling out further improvements and enhanced programmes designed to improve the researcher experience and strengthen support throughout the research project lifecycle.  

Its latest programme has focused on delivering faster sign-off of research contracts, which are fundamental to getting collaborative projects off the ground and releasing funding.  

Investment in additional resources and optimising processes means more research projects are getting their contracts completed faster and the team have seen a 60% reduction in completion times since 2020.  The next phase will focus on securing the all-important project code, so that research projects can get off the ground and retention of researchers is improved.  

This progress has been achieved as part of the R&I Roadmap which was delivered under the leadership of R&I Director Pip Peakman, who is leaving the university at the end of September. Over the past four years Pip has overseen the transition of Research and Innovation to a new operating structure, which has strengthened support to academics and allowed R&I to be more agile in anticipating and seizing funding opportunities.   

Pip has made a tremendous contribution to the enabling and delivery of world-class research at the University of Nottingham.  

Under the new joint leadership of Niall O’Loughlin, Director of RKE Excellence and Strategy, and Rachel Brereton, Director of Research & Innovation Operations, we can look forward to further progress in improving the researcher experience, focus on key areas to support the delivery of the university’s research strategy, and preparations for the next Research Excellence Framework. 

Researcher Academy unveils new training programmes and bids farewell to champion of research culture 

The Researcher Academy is set to release its new training and development programmes for researchers across the university.  

The news comes as we say farewell to Professor Lucy Donaldson, who, as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Researcher Academy and Researcher Career Development, has played a key role in developing the academy’s award-winning programmes and building a positive research culture. Lucy has brought such positivity to her role and has enabled researchers to work together and take ownership of change. 

The academy’s training for the new academic year will be released for booking on 10 October.    

Please visit its SharePoint Training Hub to view the courses in Researcher Fundamentals and to book a place on a thematic programme. 

International Research Collaboration Fund: apply now 

The university’s International Research Collaboration Fund (IRCF) is welcoming new applications. The £450,000 fund supports international research collaboration and mobility for colleagues across the UK campuses.   

Funding is available up to 31 July 2024 and is open for two streams:  

  • International mobility grants of up to £5,000 for early career researchers (ECRs), established researchers, technical, and APM staff (level 5 and above), to initiate and deepen high-quality international partnerships. 
  • Partnership accelerator grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 for ECRs, established researchers, technical, and APM staff (level 5 and above), to support more substantial activity accelerating high-quality international partnerships. 

The IRCF particularly welcomes applications from colleagues seeking to establish or grow links with world-leading research groups and institutions that will lead to excellent research outputs. It operates via a rolling-call model with a quick, straightforward application and monthly approvals process.  

Find out more and apply  

UNICAS: sign up for sandpits and apply for interdisciplinary research funding 

UNICAS, which brings together cross-disciplinary groups and provides pump-prime funding for exciting, novel research projects, is welcoming registrations to a new series of sandpits, which facilitate networking and are an essential springboard to developing collaborative projects between teams drawn from across the university.  

UNICAS is also seeking new committee members for its 2023-2024 funding call. To register your interest in becoming a committee member, please complete the short MS Form. Deadline for applications is Friday 6 October 2023 at 5pm.  

Following the sandpits, researchers (including PGR students) will be able to apply for funding for an interdisciplinary research project.   

Register to attend a sandpit 

Nottingham Research and Anne McLaren fellowships 

A reminder that the deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 6 October 2023 via the relevant school or faculty vacancy. You must discuss your research proposal with your host school or faculty, and you must have been awarded your PhD to apply.  

Our fellows are essential to our mission of delivering exceptional research that transforms lives in the UK and across the world.   

Our offer includes: 

  • three years’ independent research funding
  • the link to a permanent academic post, subject to performance 
  • funding for research expenses
  • childcare costs

Find out more and apply 

Be part of 100 ways to change the world 

Finally, please look out for a new campaign that’s celebrating our research and its impact. 

We’re proud to be one of the one of the world’s top 100 universities and over the coming year we will share 100 ways we make a difference to people’s lives and are helping to secure a fairer world.  

We want your help in suggesting inspiring stories to include in our forthcoming 100 ways to change the world website.  

We’ll be featuring stories about how our pioneering researchers deliver solutions to complex global challenges.  

We’ll also celebrate how our work with communities, locally and globally, makes a difference.   

From October, we’ll begin sharing your stories over the next academic year.  

Please send your stories to   

Signing off with thanks and good news  

Thank you for your support and goodwill during my time in this role. I’m delighted to sign-off with a strong round-up of support and opportunities for our research community, and not least following the tremendous news that the UK has rejoined the Horizon Europe research programme 

Best wishes 


Professor Sam Kingman 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange