Coronavirus information and guidance

Research culture

It is a strategic priority of the University of St Andrews to undertake world-leading research of the highest quality, and the University recognises that this is dependent on a wide range of institutional, group and individual factors that define the environment in which researchers work.

Drawing on the University Strategy, our vision is to nurture an institutional research culture in which the following are supported and recognised:

  • Collegiality: supporting each other to succeed through the observance of high standards, and treating each other with respect.
  • Equality and inclusion: achieving optimal levels of diversity in those leading and undertaking research, and research participants.
  • Collaboration and interdisciplinarity: fostering open exchange of ideas when working with others and across disciplines.
  • Career development and work-life balance: supporting each other to achieve our full potential in our chosen career paths, including development of leadership skills.
  • Integrity: supporting each other to apply principles of good conduct to all aspects of our research, impact and innovation activities.
  • Openness, transparency and fairness: embracing open research practices, evaluating research quality using fair approaches, and demonstrating that our policies are implemented in an effective manner.

How we will achieve this vision

The University Research Culture Group is joining up existing activities related to research culture to coordinate and co-develop cultural change between the University’s research community, professional services community and senior management:

  • mapping and celebrating what we have already achieved towards nurturing this culture
  • prioritising the actions we still need to take to further nurture this culture, including actions that will require us to advocate for change at a national or international level.

This group is steered by the University’s Research, Impact and Innovation Committee and chaired by the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation). It coordinates work across stakeholders, including the wider research community, and the following:

Research project on research culture at St Andrews

The University has funded a research project on ‘Research Culture in the COVID-19 era’, which is independent of, but liaising with, the University Research Culture Group.

The research is being undertaken by social scientists, and overseen by academics in the University’s Schools of Psychology & Neuroscience, and Management. The steering group for the research involves:

  • academics from St Andrews’ Schools of Art History, Chemistry, Management, Mathematics and Statistics, Modern Languages, and Psychology and Neuroscience
  • professional services staff from Research and Innovation Services
  • academics and professional services staff from the University of Glasgow.

Glasgow is already doing visible work on research culture, and recently launched a Lab for Academic Culture to help coordinate sector-wide action.

Starting in 2021, the project involves a literature review of existing reports and surveys on research culture, which will then be used to inform an internal survey on facilitators and obstacles to a positive research culture.

Once this project concludes, it is intended to seek national follow-on funding to pilot interventions across multiple disciplines and Scottish universities.