The majority of the enquiries made concern the review of proposals in general with respect to research study design including the following issues
The position of statistician continues to be challenging, as the demand for statistical involvement increases over an ever widening range of studies, settings, methodologies, and analyses. This range calls for a pragmatic approach, meeting the needs of the individual researcher while retaining a robust statistical approach. As a part of the drive to increase research capability I started a statistics “drop-in” clinic at the end of 2008 to help address the needs of both novice and experienced researcher in all statistical matters, from study design through to analysis, including of course sample size numbers and statistical power. Key to these clinics is the development of the researcher skills for their own data analysis. In future I will be setting up an SPSS intranet site for researchers.
Tenders differ from research grants in that they are usually funded by public sector organisations to provide background information for policies and there are usually very short deadlines involved. The role of the Research Co-ordinator (Tenders) is to specialise in the support and co-ordination of the applications for this type of work, especially in the area of Health Sciences. This innovative post, funded mainly by CIHR, has been in operation since January 2008.
In the first year, 118 opportunities were circulated amongst QMU staff. Thirty eight expressions of interest were logged and we were invited to submit full tenders for twenty projects. So far we have been awarded contracts for 6 projects which has brought in approximately £320K in total revenue, of which £50K is for collaborators. Successful projects so far include:
Tenders are especially suited to Early Career Researchers as the research questions and methodologies are very specific, the projects are usually of short duration (eg months) and they are funded at 100% full economic cost. Because multidisciplinary teams are often involved, these projects can also assist in developing new research partnerships and collaborations both internally and externally, as well as resulting in publications and raising a researchers profile. A disadvantage is that the applications usually has to be submitted in a very short time frame and the research team must have the capacity to do the work immediately.