SAGES call for members Research Fora: focused and time-limited special interest groupings for which, if approved, facilitation funding will be made available. Fora are intended to evolve within SAGES and to be cross-cutting, offering flexible ways of bringing communities together with relevant stakeholders. Fora might emerge around areas such as (but by no means be limited to): Carbon Dynamics, Water in the City, Source to Sea, Environmental Extremes.
The development of each Forum needs to be considered with respect to the wider remit of SAGES Research Themes, which remain the primary SAGES structures and will help to shape the scope and scale of activity required in each new Forum.
Fora should be developed with the clear intent of providing a structure which will facilitate the work of SAGES in delivering better coordinated and authoritative science, through engagement with relevant stakeholders and fostering multidisciplinary approaches. The expectation is that Fora will have clear purposes, for example: submission collaborative research proposals, joint supervision of PhD students, authorship of an expert white paper, publicity of a key environmental concern.
Proposed Rationale and Remit
The rationale and remit of each Forum will be decided by its members. However, it is expected that all Fora provide such information, together with a clear statement of objectives to SAGES Research and Innovation Committee (RICom). As some Fora are likely to be representative of science underpinning a particular sector they will, by definition, be outward facing. It will be important to ensure that these Fora are well structured.
Each Forum will be led by a Convenor and it is anticipated that they will establish a small group of representatives to assist them in guiding the work of the Forum. Inclusion of early career researchers is strongly encouraged.
In addition, representatives of the relevant research areas should be nominated and agreed (by the community or the Convenor). The remit of this group will be to facilitate the work of the Forum in achieving its objectives.
It is recommended that the Convenor, and Representative Group, agree a period of tenure. For example, the Convenor could hold office for a maximum of two years in the first instance and this should then be annually reviewed by RICom. The composition of the Representative Group should also be reviewed annually to ensure that individuals are not overburdened and that there is provision for flexibility and new blood.
Where appropriate, it is important that the Representative Group embraces the need to engage with industry, regulators and other stakeholders. This may be facilitated by securing appropriate representation from these bodies on the Group or by making sure that they are engaged in appropriate meetings and networking events of the Forum.
Those chosen to hold “office” in the Forum must act in the best interests of the community they represent and be prepared to contribute to the equitable and transparent decision making, forgoing institutional allegiances.
The intention is that the SAGES Administrator provides basic administrative support to the Forum Convenors. This function could include assistance in organising meetings and networking events. If the work of the Forum expands beyond the existing capacity of the Administrator’s resources, consideration will need to be given to the source of further resource input.
The work of the Fora will be supported and organised through SAGES but this does not preclude non-SAGES members from joining. Non-SAGES participants are welcome, but must register on the SAGES website and be recorded (including affiliation and contact details) as members of the group. They will not normally be eligible for direct SAGES funding.
Forum proposers are encouraged to consider potentially relevant links to other research Pools (e.g. MASTS), Innovation Centres (e.g. OGIC, CENSIS, SAIC), Scottish Centres of Expertise (e.g. CXC, CREW), and/or other NGOs (e.g. National Resilience Centre, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage), though this is not a prerequisite.
How to Proceed
If you wish to set up a SAGES Forum you are invited to contact the relevant SAGES Theme leader to discuss your idea, or contact the Director if your idea straddles more than one Theme. It is anticipated that funding of a few £k per annum for each Forum will be available. Prior to approval of funds to support any Forum, a written request to SAGES RICom will be required, providing information on Forum name, aims, Convenor, Representative Group, modes of working, wider stakeholder engagement, outputs, benefits to SAGES and wider impact.
There are no deadlines for submission.