Internal launch of the Exeter Research Networks
The University of Exeter has launched nine Exeter Research Networks to facilitate connecting researchers with shared interests in topics that cut across some of society’s most pressing challenges. A set of network showcase events will be occurring from 7th to 14th June.
On Tuesday, 31st May, we had the formal internal launch of the new Exeter Research Networks. Our nine Exeter Research Networks span across our institutional strategic themes which look to support how we address climate emergency and the ecological crises, transform human health and wellbeing and create a fair, socially just and inclusive society. From young people’s wellbeing to understanding how immersive technologies will lead to innovative ways of living and working, or from understanding marine pollution to cultural representations of consumption across time, our networks will help us in our mission to foster a fairer, healthier and sustainable world.
The aim of the short online event was to introduce the initiative to the wider university community but, more importantly, to draw attention to the nine networks and to highlight that each of the Exeter Research Networks will be showcasing their vision and activities in a series of events starting from 7th June until 14th June. Please see below for details of how to register for the events. The network leads and members will provide an overview with ample time for Q&A. Recordings will be available for those who cannot attend.
Professor Neil Gow, the DVC Research and Impact opened the event highlighting that each of the research networks launched was the result of academic collaboration and evidence of a critical mass of people at Exeter with interest in that theme from across different disciplines. He thanked the various network leads and the Exeter Research Networks team for bringing us to this exciting point when we can start to talk about what the networks have already begun to achieve. Some networks like Exeter Marine, Policy@Exeter, Environmental Intelligence@Exeter might already be familiar but others like Exeter Immersive, Exeter Brain, Exeter Food are brand new. Some, like Microbes and Society @ Exeter bring together groups of networks and centres like the AMR network, the microbiology network, the Wellcome Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Health and the MRC-Centre for Medical Mycology under a common network umbrella. These nine will not be our only Exeter Research Networks. In the coming year we might see a small number of others emerge. For example, two topics which received some development support include a network on violence, evidence and justice, and a network focusing on human mobility and displacement.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lisa Roberts formally launched the networks with a speech talking about what we want the networks to achieve for the community and the vital role they will play in new serendipitous connections between researchers across disciplines, campuses and career stages and in supporting new partnerships and collaborations. She highlighted the strength of interdisciplinary work at Exeter, of which these networks are a great example.
In his closing remarks, Neil Gow encouraged colleagues and students (especially postgraduate research students) to look at these networks and to join where it interests them. The networks are designed to be inclusive and interdisciplinary. The different themes/strands of activities within each network need the combined contributions across all our disciplines. More information on the networks can be found here: Our networks | Exeter Research Networks | University of Exeter.
Over 120 people registered for the event with questions ranging on how success would be measured for these networks, how can future network applications show evidence of critical mass, how to better highlight the myriad contributions from different disciplines to each network and how these networks might be used to support more external engagement.