Excellence with Impact

AU Watch’s Research Strategy – 2020 to 2021

1. Pre-amble

1.1 The current research strategy ‘Research Excellence with Impact’ was written and adopted November 2019.

1.2 Prior to the adoption of this strategy, AU Watch had a long tradition of applied social research.

1.3 It was recognised that to take AU Watch forward, in terms of reputation both nationally and regional, we neededto rebalance our activities to give as much priority to high-quality field research rather than desk research.

1.4 For this reason, AU Watch is evolving from ‘Applied Research’ as the sole basis of its strategy to ‘Research Excellence withImpact’ as the descriptor.

2. Rationale for the Research Strategy

2.1 Delivering a research strategy which focusses on research excellence with impact will dramatically improve the key metrics usedto evaluate research activity, in our Research Excellence Framework (REF).

2.2 By executing this research strategy, AU Watch Policy Organs and Research Unit coordinates all the research at AU Watch, in close coordination with AU Watch’s research Unit. It takes the lead in defining the research agenda and discipline in theareas in which it elects to specialise.

2.3 This strategy will serve to enhance AU Watch Brand and reposition itself in the Market.

3. Definitions of Excellence and Impact

3.1 ‘Excellence’ is defined as a combination of originality, significance and rigour and measured through metrics such as number ofresearch outputs (publications) and citations.

3.2 ‘Impact’ is the natural development of AU Watch’s previous focus on applied research, i.e. research conducted with and forexternal partners and beneficiaries. The ‘impact’ being auditable economic, social, environmental, cultural, policy-influencing orpractice-enhancing depending on the discipline(s) involved.


4. Principles of the Research Strategy

4.1 Research will be focussed into a number of AU Watch programs that represent niche research areas where we are dominant.

4.2Our research centres are developing a mixed human rights, media and development research, teaching, consultancy and continued professional development.

4.3 Research will be supported through our variousprograms.

4.4 The staff in each research centre will be co-located to generate a research environment conducive tohigh-quality research.

4.5 AU Watch will regularly invite external expert review of the quality of our research

4.6 Support for research proposal development and delivery will be provided centrally by the AU Watch Policy Organs and Research Unit.

4.7 The research centres will form the focus of the Research Excellence Framework submission.

5. Delivering the Research Strategy

5.1 The research mission at AU Watch is led by the Executive Director and Head of AU Watch and assisted by AU Watch’s Director of Strategic Operations.

5.2 Research at AU Watch is AU Watch is supervised by AU Watch fifteen-person Governing Council. In the day to day management of AU Watch research, the Governing Council is assisted by the Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) and the various programs where various types of research takes place.

5.3 The Research Leadership Team will meet regularly with the Governing Councilto discuss research strategy and act as a communication pathway for allresearch matters.

5.4 Research Services is led by a Director of Research Services and will provide support to the research centres with respect tofunding, proposal development, research finance & compliance, project delivery, research excellence and impact.

5.19 The performance of all research will be monitored by Policy and Research Centre.

5.20 Centres will be reviewed annually by a sub-group of the University Leadership Team.


6. Measures of success

6.1 The performance of all our research programs will be assessed against metrics and criteria by which research quality is measured inthe Research Excellence Framework. These measures are included in the number of outputs, the number of high-quality outputs,the number of outputs with international co-authors, the number of citations, the high-qualityresearch income, the impact case studies and esteem.