There is a Research Enhancer for ACE who organises research seminars, offers advice to colleagues on publishing and grant applications (grant proposals are presented to the group and the Assoc Dean Research), coordinates sabbaticals, and has begun developing individual research portfolios for each member of research-active staff to guide and plan their research agenda until 2020.
Staff have one day a week free of teaching or administrative duties to concentrate on research.The School’s sabbaticals policy allows each member of academic staff to apply for a research leave every three years. All sabbaticals are planned in advance, and include the development and submission of a research grant proposal, and research targets.
There is a special focus on supporting ACE’s Early Career Researchers mentored by a senior member of staff during their probation period. The University also has an ECR Career Development Plan. In 2012, three post-doctoral Research Fellows joined ACE. The post-doctoral fellows actively publish with their principal investigators – this being specified in the original research proposals – and co-organise research seminars and workshops, including with the European Commission in London, the DAAD, and the FCO, thus facilitating exchanges between ACE and other public bodies. ACE mentors and supports its Teaching and Research Fellows. When they move on to jobs elsewhere, they become Honorary Research Fellows of ACE and remain actively engaged with us as part of the wider ACE environment.ACE’s environment has a clear physical identity: designated seminar rooms, offices, a resource room for Masters and PhD students containing workstations, printing facilities, an upgraded website (www.aston.ac.uk/europe) and an active ACE blog.