The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is supporting a pilot by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which will help to benchmark the quality and impact of UK funded chemical engineering research compared to international competitors.
The pilot benchmarking process will use methodology - known as "Virtual World Congress" (VWC) - that does not require the level of time, resource and cost of the full International review process, which will continue to be used by EPSRC.
VWC has been shown by the US National Research Council to be an effective approach for determining the relative current standing of a nation’s research.
The VWC process asks leading international experts to identify the key speakers who they would invite to a virtual conference in a nominated area of research.
The benchmarking will be delivered by an independent panel that base their conclusions on the findings of the VWC exercise.
A separate bibliometrics study will also be carried out as a further source of evidence and to enable triangulation with the VWC exercise.
David Brown, IChemE’s chief executive said: “We are pleased that chemical engineering research has been chosen to pilot this benchmarking exercise and hope it will give the profession another insight into the current status of UK chemical engineering research.
“Making sure we continue to invest in life-changing research is a central component in our latest technical strategy - Chemical Engineering Matters. This pilot will help inform EPSRC’s strategy for chemical engineering and also how the VWC process could be rolled out into other fields of research”.
Further information on how to get involved with the pilot is scheduled to be published by EPSRC in October 2013.