RSF Critical for Managing, Administering Research
April 5, 2018 – Aniruddho Chokroborty-Hoque
The Research Support Fund
(RSF) plays a critical role in supporting Western’s scholars by helping fund research-related administrative services like human resources, grant development and research promotion. As an example, this funding is often used to hire research officers who help faculty apply for research grants, facilitate research collaborations, and raise the university’s research profile. RSF helps scholars focus on their research by helping manage and administer their research programs.
Karen Kueneman is the Research Officer for three Western faculties – Law, Music, and Information and Media Studies. “It is really exciting to see the successes of faculty members and watch them grow,” she says. RESEARCH FUNDING
One of Kueneman’s key accountabilities is identifying and sharing funding opportunities, grant-eligibility requirements and funding deadlines with faculty members. As an example, she frequently uses the Pivot Database, a comprehensive, curated database of funding opportunities from around the world. Western pays for access to this database with support from the RSF.
“I am constantly looking for sources of funding that may fit the researcher’s needs,” she says.
She also reviews, edits and provides feedback to faculty members when they are preparing their grant applications. Kueneman runs a research blog for the three faculties – www.research-fimulaw.uwo.ca
– an invaluable one-stop web resource with updates about upcoming grant deadlines, grant-writing workshops, and tip sheets on ethics reviews and research contracts.
“Often researchers say, ‘I would not have done this without you,” Kueneman says. “It would have taken me too much time to figure out what to do or how to do this.”
The “maze of bureaucracy” often discourages researchers from applying for grants, which require a significant investment of a their time and effort. Kueneman’s support frees up some of this time. Our scholars are often able to write two to three research papers in the time it takes to complete a SSHRC Insight grant, Kueneman says.
She encourages faculty members to utilize her expertise and apply for funding opportunities.
“I want to help make the application process for researchers as simple as possible by providing as many resources as they need,” Kueneman says.
She also acts as a liaison between the three faculties and Research Western.
“Research Western is extremely helpful and I rely on them a lot,” she says. “It is a central place that I can go to when the researcher or I need answers regarding contracts or ethics, for example.”RESEARCH COLLABORATION
Kueneman also encourages collaboration between the three faculties.
As an example, she assists graduate researchers with their Graduate Interdisciplinary Research Day, and organizes interdisciplinary workshops where faculty members can share their research ideas with one another. She also facilitates collaborations with researchers from other faculties at Western, with other universities, and with partners outside of academia.RESEARCH PROFILE
“We have faculty members who are interested in getting their research out there, but they don’t know how,” Kueneman says.
She liaises with external and internal communications teams at Western to promote and publicize faculty research within the university and to the greater community outside Western. For example, Kueneman organizes the public interest lecture series at the London Public Library for the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS).
“These lectures bring cutting-edge research by scholars from FIMS out of the academy and into the community,” she says.The Research Support Fund assists Canadian postsecondary institutions with the costs associated with managing their research enterprise, helping them to maintain a world-class research environment. Grants can be used to: maintain modern labs and equipment; provide access to up-to-date knowledge resources; provide research management and administrative support; meet regulatory and ethical standards; or transfer knowledge from academia to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. All of this helps make Canada a world leader in research and development.