The NCUB Mobility Taskforce is off to a flying start as we kick off with visits and stakeholder engagement across the UK.

Building on the energy and insights captured in the project’s launch meeting last month, the team is on the road to form a 360-degree view of researchers’ career mobility.

We’re speaking with individual researchers and academics to capture their experiences of moving roles across sectors. Interviews with universities and businesses as employers will show us how they are seeking to attract and retain their innovative staff, and their attitudes to when these staff move on.

Our first stop was South Wales to learn how universities in the region value research staff mobility and how they share these talents with industry.

The University of South Wales (USW) seeks to employ research and academic staff with industry experience. Sharing why the university values this background so highly, Professor Martin Steggall, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research, said:

“Contemporary knowledge is time limited. For us to remain at the forefront of innovation, and to teach our next generation of students sector-relevant and current content, up-to-date industry knowledge is vital.

“Accessing these researchers’ expertise, and pairing it with the resources of the university, is what makes us a special place.”

Along the coast, Swansea University shared how there are also great benefits to be had when their own research staff move into industry roles. Its Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Helen Griffiths, said:

“Swansea University was founded by industry, for industry. Our connectivity with industry partners is important to us, enabling effective knowledge exchange in science and technology, and supporting longer term collaborations and innovation.

“This network brings benefits across sectors, inspiring collaborations on new and innovative projects, and developing and strengthening working relationships.”

To scale up this exploration, NCUB has commissioned the celebrated research group, Thinks Insight & Strategy, to formally interview up to 40 stakeholders in businesses and universities across the UK. This will sit alongside quantitative research, which will build a picture of the shape and scale of researcher mobility in the UK.

The Taskforce will report in Summer 2023. Before then, we will continue to share pulse checks of the project, and you can see us talking about the project in the context of evolving ways of working, and the Science Superpower agenda, live next week in the upcoming Knowledge Quarter conference.