The Life Science Research Hub is located on the third floor of the ILS2 building and serves two very busy Colleges, Human and Health Sciences and the Medical School.

Life Science Hub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hub staff provide support to academic and research staff across the breadth of life science disciplines from Biomarkers & Genes to Psychology and Nursing , assisting them in sourcing funding opportunities, developing grant applications and managing new awards. 

Established in October 2015, the Hub has seen and supported a huge variety of research-funding proposals, from small grants offered by niche-specialist charities to very large European projects with multiple partners across different countries and a budget of several million euros.

There’s no doubt in the minds of the Hub staff that being located closer to the researchers they serve has helped to build strong relationships and enables them to provide a level of service that can make a real difference to their customers. Holding the fort for much of the period when the Hub has been between Managers, Research Development Officer Nicola Purdy remarked:

“It’s always really busy here and we get a huge variety of queries over and above the day-to-day business of supporting applications for research funding. We find it particularly rewarding when we’re involved in a proposal from start to finish – helping to identify a funder, working with the academic to develop a strong proposal and then getting it submitted to the funder on time. Then if we do get word that an application has been successful it’s an extra boost for us.”

One of the biggest proposals to have passed through the Hub to date was recently submitted to the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. Professor Tom Humphrey, Chair in Bacteriology and Food Safety, worked with the Hub during 2016 when he was the first academic in the Medical School to develop and submit a Swansea-led Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation proposal. Reflecting on the experience, Prof Humphrey commented:

“My first significant interaction with the Life Science Hub involved a substantial multi-partner Horizon 2020 application, initially at stage one and then a few months later working on the much larger stage two proposal. These €multi-million applications involve a great deal of work – an international consortium requires a lot of effort to build and manage and the application process itself is quite complex – and so it was extremely helpful to be able to draw on the support available within the Hub. It’s clear to me that the decision to embed Hubs within the Colleges they support has facilitated access to a multi-stranded but integrated service that includes invaluable help with project costings, assistance with proposal development and support with the various internal and external administrative tasks that arise when submitting a proposal to the European Commission. Moreover, the Hub was able to signpost me to further advice and support available within REIS in areas that include internal bid-development funding, contractual matters and project-management best practice. It would not have been possible for the bid to have been submitted without the invaluable support of Hub staff.”

Another researcher in the Medical School is similarly positive about the impact that the Hub has had. Dr Martin Clift, a lecturer and specialist in nanotoxicology research, joined the Medical School in December 2015 and has interacted regularly with staff in the Hub from the outset. Commenting on the service provided to academic staff, Dr Clift said:

“The Hub is an excellent resource and has greatly assisted me in resolving a range of different queries, along with helping me initially in getting to grips with the University’s internal systems and procedures. Whenever I prepare a research-funding proposal I draw on many aspects of the support available from the Hub to help ensure that the application gets completed and submitted in a timely manner. It is always a pleasure to interact with the Hub. The support is highly professional, provided by easily approachable and beyond-helpful colleagues that can be depended upon”

Within the College of Human and Health Sciences, Dr Tessa Watts, Associate Professor of Nursing, described how the Hub had been able to help her manage the research-grant application and award process:

“The process of taking a grant application from inception through to award and completion of the financial procedures necessary to receive and spend the funds can be time consuming and quite involved, so it’s most helpful to be able to call on staff in the Hub for assistance when it’s needed. I have received support from the Hub on a number of occasions with various different aspects of applying for and winning research funding, and this has saved me time while helping to streamline the process.”

Ceri Jones, Director of Research, Engagement & Innovation Services concludes:

It is really pleasing to hear the positive feedback arising from the huge amount of work colleagues in the Life Science Hub have been undertaking.  The progress that we are now seeing as a result of providing services locally within the Colleges is the strongest possible endorsement for the new College Hub model.  It has been an extremely intense time at the Hub, which serves two very busy colleges, and I’d like to take the opportunity to commend the team, who have done a tremendous job.  They have stepped up to support the research community, and gone above and beyond their remit on a daily basis whilst the Hub has been between Hub Manager appointments.  I look forward to welcoming Bethan Mackay back to the team as the new Hub Manager on her return from maternity leave on the 1st December, and very much look forward to sharing news of more Hub based success over the coming months.  If you have any Hub related feedback you’d like to share directly with myself, please send this through to reisfeedback@swansea.ac.uk