Platforming our people

Platforming our people

MI Director, Helen Turner, blogs on the platform that Midlands Innovation provides for people to collaborate, and the people that power our partnership.

Many think that Midlands Innovation is a place-based focused research partnership, delivering high-quality research that makes a difference and influences national and regional policy. While it is all of those things, it is also much more than that.

In our new strategy, we added a bespoke ‘people’ priority. It’s a deliberate move to not only underline the work we undertake to nationally champion the critical role of research and innovation staff, from researchers and technicians to PRISMs or ‘research enablers’ as we call them, but we also wanted MI People to provide a path to widen our work out. After all, it’s the fantastic people we have that make research happen, our partnership wouldn’t be able to deliver without the people across it who help make it happen, and of course my fantastic team. That’s why I am focusing this blog on those very people.  

February has very much been centered on bringing MI’s various committees, research theme groups and networks together to discuss and agree priorities. Our Executive Management Group of Pro Vice-Chancellors of Research, was chaired for the first time by Professor Philip Baker. The Executive Management Group oversees the research strategy for the partnership and the delivery of our significant programmes.

We also brought together the eight Researcher Directors from our partner institutions, and the steering group of our Inclusive Transformation research theme. Inclusive Transformation brings together academics from the arts, humanities and social sciences who collaborate on interdisciplinary research projects that are making a real difference to communities in the Midlands. When the group met, they discussed the British Academy Early Career Researchers Network event in mid-March which will be hosted by Keele University. Find out more information and book your place here.

A key recommendation of the TALENT Commission and MI’s commitment to implementing all of its employer recommendations is bringing technical team leaders together to share learnings and experiences, and how these can be applied to attract future generations into the profession. Read more here.

The HyDEX team hosted the HyDEX Hydrogen Summit at Keele University and the HyDex Awards – the UK’s first awards recognising industries and researchers involved in hydrogen innovation. You can read more about the winners here.

Following the recent successful launch of our fifth sector prospectus as part of the national Universities as Drivers of Trade and Investment Pilot, we brought together the operations group working for the programme, including representatives from the Midlands Engine and Midlands Enterprise University group, who we are collaborating with on this trail-blazing programme.

Our health research arm, MI Health, has also been working to convene a series of key regional people to facilitate nationally impactful conversations. Leading this activity, the MI Health board, made up of the Deans of Medicine and Healthcare, met to discuss their future ambitions for collaboration to improve regional research culture.

The partnership has supported two key national conferences; the Health Data Research UK Midlands and Health Innovation East Midlands Making a difference webinar ‘Using Data to Improve Care’, and the Midlands Racial Equality in Medicine (MREM) Network annual conference at Keele University. MREM aims to empower staff and students to collaborate to make real impactful change. 

MI Health has also enabled regional coordination activity by leading a strengths and opportunities mapping workshop to support the development of the new Midlands Engine Health Board strategy.

Finally, colleagues from across our partner’s Technology Transfer Offices continue to meet regularly to discuss collaborative working, and in particular preparations for close working with Midlands Mindforge.

These are just some of the committees, groups and networks who have met recently, and the conferences we’ve supported to bring people together. Midlands Innovation is more than a research partnership, it’s powered by people who are passionate about championing the Midlands and our fantastic research and innovation ecosystem.

Learn More About Our Research Priorities



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Newsletter - February 2024
Newsletter – February 2024