School research grants increase

Year-end figures from the Research Support Office show that for the financial year 2008/09 Aston received some 102 research awards, producing research income of £11.04M, up 33% compared with the 2007/08 figure of £8.3M.

The number of research applications made in 2008/09 increased to 331 from 279 in the previous year, although the total value of applications made in 2008/09 fell from £86.2M to £67.2M. The average award made in 2008/09 was just under £108,000 which is an increase of nearly 26% on last year’s figure.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Hooley said that 'this is a major achievement, especially given the prevailing depressed economic situation throughout much of the world, which has impacted negatively on many research funders. Such a substantial increase in research income is clear recognition of the excellence of research being carried out in Aston University, and is testament to the extremely high quality of Aston’s academic and research support staff.'

While recognising that cross disciplinary and cross School projects are going to play an increasing role in research carried out at the University, some key figures are worth illustrating at an individual School level.

  • The value of the average award in 2008/09 was just under £108,000, an increase of nearly 26% over the 2007/08 figure
  • LHS showed the largest year on year increase at 68% to £4.4M
  • EAS awards increased by 13% to £3.1M whilst ABS increased by 7% to £2.9M
  • Although starting from a much lower base, LSS achieved a 50% increase in their research income to £287,000.
  • Both EAS and LHS achieved substantial increases in the average award made to them (LHS 52% and EAS 58%).

Recent noticeable successes (this is not a complete list) have included Dr Tony Bridgwater who was awarded £599,578 for his collaboration in an EU FP7 Energy project “Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches Network (DIBANET)”, Professor Mark Georgeson who received £354,219 from the BBSRC for his project “A multi-scale model of binocular fusion in the human visual system”, Dr Jane Binner who received £208,792 from EPSRC for “Design in the Digital World - uTELLus’ and Dr Urszula Clarke who was awarded £79,896 from ESRC for a project entitled “Language, performance and Region: Discourse and Socio-cultural Identity in the Black Country”.

Further major awards are in the pipeline, including one for £323K from the BBSRC for Dr Stephen Hall.

Words by Chris Harrison









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