Research and Innovation Strategy

Our overarching strategic goal for 2018-2022 is to further strengthen our reputation as a research university of international significance and secure our future standing, through focused investment in research capacity in a number of priority areas, a commitment to both fundamental and engaged research, and by empowering our staff and students to bring their collective creativity to bear on major societal challenges.

How we will do this is set out in four actions.
1.1 We will continue to build research capacity and a research culture of international quality and outlook, investing across disciplines and in focused areas of strength to address major societal challenges.

  1. We will strengthen our University research institutes and centres, to provide dedicated space, time and infrastructure for research, to support major research programmes and grants, to foster interdisciplinarity, to stimulate and nurture the development of research groups of varying scale, and to provide a platform for major interdisciplinary research programmes addressing significant societal challenges.
  2. We will prioritise participation in SFI Centres which align with our areas of strength and will invest in research capacity which enables such participation.
  3. We will add unique value to the national research landscape through a specific initiative at the intersection of technology and society, which will facilitate deeper consideration of the diffusion and impact of new and emerging technologies.
  4. We will build on our national leadership in open access to research and will continue to actively promote open science and open data.
  5. We will ensure that internal research funding allocations support high quality research and scholarship across all our disciplines; in particular, we will ensure support for quality publications and outputs, international engagement and collaboration, early-career researchers, and departments and institutes generating significant research income.
  6. We will further raise the profile of our research and scholarship with important external audiences, highlighting its quality, value and relevance, and promoting public engagement with and understanding of our research work. 

1.2 We will further strengthen our capacity for excellent research and scholarship by investing in people.

  1. We aim to double the number of postdoctoral researchers by 2022 via external funding, particularly in priority research areas; and we will enhance our postdoctoral career development structures and supports, encouraging postdoctoral researchers to gain an appropriate breadth of skills and experiences for a diversity of career opportunities.
  2. We will establish a formal professional development programme and set clear expectations for early-career academics in building an international research profile.
  3. We will revise sabbatical and research leave schemes to provide much more flexible forms of leave—including short periods of leave—which do not impose financial penalties, are incorporated into departmental workload allocations and models, and are aligned with our internationalisation and equality strategies.
  4. We will ensure strong research leadership both by supporting and developing existing and emergent leaders within the institution and by targeted external recruitment. 

1.3 We will increase support for engaged research and enterprise-facing research and innovation, building effective and sustainable research and innovation partnerships.

  1. We will create a new senior leadership role with a clear remit to develop activities and partnerships in support of engaged research and teaching, supported by a new MU Engage office, the current successful MU Knowledge Transfer and Commercialisation office and MaynoothWorks business incubator.
  2. We will continue to encourage appropriate academic participation in mutually beneficial enterprise partnerships, knowledge transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship; we will augment our support for student and postdoctoral entrepreneurship.
  3. We will launch two major initiatives in engaged research: extending the role of the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) to become the National Centre for Service Innovation and Technology Adoption and establishing the National Centre for Design Innovation.
  4. We will build a new enterprise co-location facility on campus, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. 

1.4 We aim to increase annual external research income by 50% by 2022.

  1. We will increase our overall annual external research income by 50% and will at least double our income from EU, enterprise and non-governmental sources.
  2. We will implement a refreshed strategy for EU funding to include targeted recruitment and specific supports for ERC and large EU project and consortium grant applications.
  3. We will establish a new internal seed funding scheme and short-term research leave programmes to support the development of high-potential proposals for external research funding.
  4. We will support the Research Development Office and research institutes in offering high quality pre- and post-award support, and making it as straightforward as possible to seek funding and carry out externally-funded projects.