LGMF Project: Innovative, Effective, Enjoyable

Creating the Evidence Base to Deliver Productive Academic Workplaces

Leadership, Governance and Management Fund (LGMF)

All UK funding councils (HEFCE, SFC, HEFCW and DELNI) have invested in improving leadership, governance and management in the higher education sector through the Leadership, Governance and Management (LGM) Fund. A total of £10 million over three years was available from August 2004 to fund a wide range of projects, and a further £10 million over three years was available from August 2007 to July 2010.

Universities of Loughborough (Lead HEI) Nottingham Trent & Leicester

Higher education sector work environments are changing: Examples of innovative work settings and practices are emerging from a backdrop of traditional, cellular offices. Yet the literature on delivery and subsequent impact of academic office environments remains scant.

To address this knowledge gap, Loughborough University is leading a HEFCE-funded study of innovative academic office environments, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University and the University of Leicester. This project will deliver guidance documents for policy makers, estates personnel, HEI senior managers & design / project managers, in addition to the recently launched Academic Workplace Forum.

The Academic Workplace Forum provides a platform for exchanging thinking, experiences and good practice regarding office environments and build projects in the Higher Education sector. The forum events to date have yielded some really interesting debates around issues in this area. Key messages include:

  • Whilst delivering value for money is central to obtaining funding for new work environments, many academics still don't consider the cost of the space they use: 'Space is seen as free'.
  • Workspace provision is a significant factor in the recruitment and retention of academic staff, and the wider estate plays an increasingly important role in the recruitment of student. However, capital projects in HE are often beset by problems such as poor user consultation, inefficient decision-making, lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities, and an absence of common success criteria (with different stakeholders pursuing contradictory goals).
  • There's also a lack of understanding between academics and estates professionals about their respective jobs, often due to poor communication. The result is an "us and them" attitude that colours project from the start.

Find further information at www.academicworkspace.com

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