Reflections on March and April's UKCRIC Management Board Meetings

Reflections on March and April's UKCRIC Management Board Meetings
UKCRIC Executive Manager (University of Birmingham)
28 April 2020

In early March, the UKCRIC’s Management Board met to discuss the reallocation of capital grant funding arising from the institutional underspend. This process has since been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Coordination Node has been working closely with EPSRC to ensure a successful outcome, which now seems in sight.

In April there was a full-day meeting of the Management Board which was largely given over to discussing the impacts of the pandemic. Members explored how they were dealing with issues such as the closing of University labs, the halting of construction on new facilities, disrupted supply chains and transitioning to remote working. Specific issues are being communicated to the EPSRC through the regular 'highlight report' mechanism, with the Coordination Node picking up on system-wide issues.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for reflection upon how the pandemic is affecting infrastructure and cities and the role of UKCRIC in a post-lock-down world. To advance this thinking, the Coordination Node organised a brainstorming seminar.

The Coordination Node continues to shape potential future business models, looking to achieve sustainability beyond the end of its current EPSRC grant. The medium-term impacts of the pandemic clearly come into play here and will inevitably affect the proposal that will be made to the Management Board.

Also affected is the CIRIA workshop proposal, which was discussed at the January Management Board meeting. The Coordination Node is working with CIRIA to explore the options given the short-term impacts of lock down and the longer-term impacts upon organisational and societal priorities.

Other business addressed at the meeting included reviewing the draft UKCRIC Risk Management Strategy. There was also a report showing progress against the recommendations from the UKCRIC Gateway Assurance Review. In short, all recommendations have been taken on board and either completed or are now part of working practices.

Finally, the Management Board received an update on the PLEXUS pump-priming project. You can read more about PLEXUS here.

The UKCRIC Management Board meets monthly, alternating short, virtual catch ups on key issues with more extensive, full-day meetings. The Management Board is UKCRIC’s formal governing body, in the context of the UKCRIC (academic) Collaboration Agreement. It is responsible for:

  • setting strategy and direction
  • consensus building across the Collaboratorium
  • pan-UKCRIC decision making
  • coordination and management

The Management Board next meets for a quick catch up on the 8th of June.

The next full-day Management Board meeting is on the 9th of July.