The purpose of June's Advisory Board meetings was to gain advice, as listed below, on ways to meet recommendations from the Gateway review report, dated 29 April 2021, on the topics of Governance and Benefits realisation and demonstration. These meetings took place on 2 and 3 June 2021.
The advice and recommendations given at this Board are purely advisory, and UKCRIC have the option to take the below recommendations on board as they see fit.
- Organise UKCRIC so that it can deliver on its cross-disciplinary aspects. Begin to think of UKCRIC more as a consortium in the next phase and bring stakeholders and other partners on board by capturing, recording and acting on stakeholders’ views to improve their engagement with UKCRIC.
- Add to the core membership (comprising the founding partners, which are mainly civil engineering) an additional level (associate membership?) to reflect the inter-disciplinarity of UKCRIC. Set a target of five additional members per year.
- Organise UKCRIC governance with an Executive Board (replacing the CN); Advisory Board; Stakeholders Advisory Group (to report their strategic proposals to the Executive Board and to reflect the interdisciplinarity) and a Partners Governing Board. The Stakeholders Advisory Group should also represent communities, who should be actively involved and consulted; sub-groups may be needed.
- The Executive Board would report to the Partners Governing Board and would be advised by the Advisory Board and the Stakeholders Advisory Group.
- Renewed Terms of Reference should be produced for all four entities under the new governance arrangements; there must be clear evidence that projects are governed well.
- There is a need for a refreshed vision, akin to an ‘elevator pitch’.
- Consider employing: (1) a full-time director, someone supported by more senior people and who is enthusiastic and in the right stage of their career; and (2) someone to represent the marketing side, a “full time evangelist of UKCRIC”.
On Benefits realisation and demonstration.
- Having facilities without people running them or extracting meaningful research would be like having a Christmas toy without batteries. Hence funding people is pivotal to the success of UKCRIC.
Follow three steps prior to the benefits realisation:
- Develop the narrative of bringing the benefits of inter-disciplinary work into infrastructure research.
- Create awareness of UKCRIC by running workshops and roadshows with potential stakeholders and researchers. Ask how UKCRIC can play a role in addressing their problems. This would also clarify the capabilities of UKCRIC and give them the confidence to come to UKCRIC to address problems.
- Focus on research, and on easy deliverables to show success: line up a few projects to deliver results and build research proposals jointly with stakeholders.
Formalise the benefits realisation in stages – the first stage is the nature and depth of the partnerships which have been achieved. Second stage – what sort of outputs would be intended to be produced. Third stage – the actual realisation of those outputs.
Engagement with industry is important. Getting projects established into the labs and providing some metrics to demonstrate their value, thereby demonstrating to funders the need to provide resources to support the facilities going forward.