Introduction to the department
The department has a significant spread of research disciples, much larger than its name indicates. The discrete areas within the department, each of which represents a broad research spectrum, include mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, building services and renewable energy engineering, as well as manufacturing and medical applications. The department accounts for over 75% of the college’s research income according to university records from 2014 to date. The source of funding includes RCUK, EU, Industry and other sources such as NGOs.
To maintain the international research reputation of the department’s key research areas while ensuring the development of research cross-over areas of internationally upcoming importance. Thus, also guiding the development of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research activities within and beyond the department, the college and the university; enabling complex research and important (global) challenges to be addressed.
New appointments will be made in order to strengthen key areas and enable the development of cross-over areas as stated above. Care will be taken to ensure new appointees are availed of everything, including equipment, required to rapidly commence and build their research.
- To build and bolster the research environment at every level, the department will focus on the staff pipeline starting from the most junior people. Thus, a strong mentoring ethos will be developed to enable everyone to reach their potential.
- To ensure taught programmes contain research input to ensure engaged potential future researchers.
- To have more than 60% of T&R staff on externally funded projects as principal investigators. Thus, building a department that is resilient to fluctuations in external funding opportunities.
- To minimise other requirements placed on the time of staff.
Outputs and impact
Outputs, the subject norm being journal papers, will continue to be excellent, equivalent to 3* and 4* on the REF scale. The number of independent researchers producing such outputs will increase.
External profile and partnership
Staff will be supported in building external partnerships. They will also be encouraged to host events including conferences at Brunel to which academics and industry would be present.
- Maximising Contiguous Research Time: To maximise the amount of contiguous time available to staff, all the programmes and associated timetables have been optimised. Where possible new staff given very low teaching loads and no administrative tasks.
- Mentoring New and Junior Staff: All new staff mentored and assisted in writing their initial funding proposals including Brunel’s BRIEF and typically EPSRC’s New Investigator awards.
- Enabling New and Junior Staff: New appointees are provided with the equipment and associated consumables they require to start their research.