Helping Researchers Succeed

Research in Focus

Critical Friend Support, tailored to researchers by former funding staff

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Services

What We do

#1

Critical Friend Coaching Support

Virtually, we sit alongside PIs and larger funding application teams, confidentially supporting proposal development. Most often that means we review fairly late stage draft proposals and mark these up with detailed and specific suggestions for improvement. We provide that objective but supportive view not long before submission when individuals/teams may have been working on the bid for so long that it can become difficult to “see the wood for the trees”.

In addition to supporting written bids we provide support for those preparing for funding interviews. Over a period of time prior to the interview we help interviewees to prepare and shape what they wish to say, prepare themselves mentally and conduct mock interviews all to enhance their performance.

#2

Impact Demonstration

We have authored a large number of REF impact case studies and continue to consult for the UK Research Councils on impact demonstration projects.  Our strength comes from knowing the research community and having a thorough theoretical and practical grounding in impact demonstration; we often unearth impact where researchers thought there was none!

#3

Training & Facilitation

We don’t just consult on a 1:1 basis, sometimes larger numbers of staff require more general knowledge to help prepare their bids. We run in-person training courses for ECRs, or those looking to apply for an individual fellowship or groups of researchers associated with learned societies with or without follow on 1:1 advice on outline proposals.  We also develop agendas and facilitate research workshops such as sandpits to develop and refine new research projects or to solve research problems.

Why Choose Us

We Understand Research Funding

Innovation

We don’t have a one size fits all solution. Often the same intervention suits lots of people so we have standard models but each project is different so we listen to your needs first, then make a proposal rather than offering a specific “product” which might not work for you.

Accuracy

We care about what we do, we really care!  RiF was established as a mechanism to allow our founder to work on interesting projects not as a purely business enterprise.  It has to keep the bank manager happy but ultimately we take on projects because we want to make a difference.

Flexible

We have spent our whole careers working in the academic research field and know that good ideas don’t only happen within 9-5, Monday-Friday.  We seek to be as responsive as possible whilst treating all our clients fairly.

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say?

“Just wanted to say a huge thanks to you […] was very impressed with your contribution and it really helped them to focus on key messages and reflect on areas less well thought through”.  

Head of Research Development
A UK HEI

“Thanks again Becky for all your help & advice, which I & colleagues found extremely valuable! I’ve fed this back to the … research & enterprise office, and recommended that they involve you as an adviser on other large/strategic bids”.

An ESRC Strategic Grant Applicant
UK HEI
“Thank you very much for all your work on these case studies; I think they have been hugely improved with your help and look in good shape now”.
A REF Coordinator
UK HEI
Image of Rebecca Steliaros
Talk is cheap (well completely free actually but then we also act on what we say!)

Drop us a Line ...

RiF was established to be useful and make a difference; it is driven by interesting projects not financial business metrics. As such we never take on a project without first discussing exactly what a potential client wants to get out of the interaction. If our full time or associate consultants cannot help it is highly likely that we know someone who can and thus we are happy to provide recommendations and introductions. Once we've discussed a potential project and have established that we are appropriately skilled then we will prepare a first draft formal quote. Once a client sees the project set out as objectives, process, timing, etc. they may refine their requirements and we will happily iterate the quote until everyone is clear and happy. For simple projects this can of course be a very fast interaction but experience suggests it is beneficial for all to be clear from the outset.