CoBud: A Model for Effective Inter-Disciplinary Research Collaboration within Universities

By Kevin Curran and Bernie Hannigan.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A major challenge for scientific collaborations is coordinating work so that scientists can effectively use one another’s ideas and expertise without numerous face-to-face interactions. Coordination is the integration or linking together of different pieces of a project to accomplish a collective task. This paper outlines a methodology called CoBud currently in operation at the University of Ulster which seeks to embed a framework which encourages inter-disciplinary sharing of ideas. CoBud seeks to exploit the Colleague-Buddy relationship which seems to naturally arise over time within and across research faculties. The Buddy (Bud) aspect is anyone’s closest working partner in a department and a Colleague (Co) is a contact that one has developed a relationship with inside another department within the institution. The ideal size of the group is 8 individuals made up of 4 CoBud’s. The idea behind the colleague-buddy aspect is that all members of the group should feel relaxed as the focus of the group is on the sharing of research practice with the aim of future inter-disciplinary collaboration. An important aspect is that each individual sharing must pitch their research as if explaining to their mum. This eliminates the risk of isolating group members and also reduces the pressure to ‘perform’ on each member. We have simply attempted to outline a structure based on bestpractice which will enable academics to more easily come together and increase their research output. The rest of this paper outlines the CoBud model and discusses recommended best practice.

Keywords: Collaboration, Research Collaboration, University Research, Research

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.61-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 594.189KB).

Dr. Kevin Curran

Lecturer, School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster, Londonderry, NI, UK

Kevin Curran is a Lecturer in Computer Science. He has published widely in the field of distributed computing and computer networks and is a member of the editorial board of a number of international journals and conferences.

Bernie Hannigan

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation, University of Ulster, Londonderry, NI, UK

Professor Bernie Hannigan is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research & Innovation at the University of Ulster. Prior to her current appointment Bernie was Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, the largest of the University’s five faculties and was previously Head of School of Biomedical Sciences which achieved 5* in the 1996 and 2001 Research Assessment Exercises in the UK. Bernie’s own expertise is in Immunology, most particularly in understanding the relationship between nutrition and immune responses. Bernie represents the University on many local and national bodies and is also a member of the Board of Invest Northern Ireland.

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