High quality applications make a big difference
Here there are a number of specialists who keep their eyes open for new ideas and keep in contact with financiers to keep track of the current issues that may be of interest to the university.
Ellen Rydberg, Director of GIO, would like to see more of the university's researchers turn to the office.
"Although all researchers may need help finding funding for their projects or innovation ideas, it is especially our junior researchers who may need extra guidance and support. Getting help with setting up a funding strategy based on one's career and research goals may be a good place to start, as well as attending our grant writing course," she says.
Grants and Innovation Office (GIO)
was established in 2005 as part of the university's goal of increasing the proportion of research and the proportion of external research funding. It is a function that provides high-quality support, mainly in the form of advising, to individual researchers and research groups, as well as the review of their applications for funding from external financiers in Sweden and within the EU. Innovation advising is a service that has also grown ever stronger. GIO regularly organises workshops, seminars and other arrangements for university researchers.
Continuous contact grows knowledge
One who frequently engages GIO – and advises colleagues to do so as well – is Mohammad Taherzadeh, Professor of Biotechnology and Research Manager for Resource Recovery.
"In our research team, we are happy to turn to GIO to support our applications and to find funding for our projects. We have also received valuable support in terms of innovations," he says, continuing:
"The advisors follow our work from funding calls until we submit an application. We researchers write the applications ourselves, but the advisors help us to review the applications before submitting them. We also get valuable help in setting up budgets for our projects."
He emphasises at the same time that the advisors are not experts in the different research areas, but during the course of things, they build up knowledge, which means that continuous contact provides a lot of benefit, both to the individual researchers and to GIO.
"We have developed a good collaboration and think of GIO as part of our research group. It makes for a good synergy. They take the initiative and give us tips on opportunities, and we turn to them when we have ideas for projects."
Submitting an application for research funding is a learning process. As a new researcher, it can be perceived as a difficult obstacle. The first application may be rejected – this is not uncommon.
"It is a matter of not giving up in that situation, and in our research team we support each other," he says.
Difficult without a routine
Karin Högberg, Senior Lecturer in Caring Science, is grateful for the support she has received, both with research applications and with support for an ongoing innovation project: "Spacerpad," a reusable menstrual pad.
"I'm probably one of those who turns to GIO most of all at the university; they help me and my colleague Lena Berglin, who is in a different Faculty than I, with applications for funding the project," she says.
"I am a junior researcher and do not have the routine required to run the project alone; without the support it would have been difficult to make progress. GIO acts as a sounding board to help create possibilities. In order to run a project, it is not enough to have a research question or innovation idea; you also need external funding. The support makes a significant quality difference when it comes to applications."
She regards the personal relationship as very important. And the positive meeting is mutual.
"Being involved and following our researchers and their successes is amazing fun! I actually believe that we are sometimes happier and more proud of the researchers' achievements when it goes well than the researchers themselves! We know how much work is behind each application and competition is often very strong – it feels good that we have been able to make this work easier," says Ellen Rydberg.
Text Solveig Klug
Photo: Suss Wilén
Translation: Eva Medin