Focus on Research Strategy

Faculty of Medicine Research Strategy Team
The Faculty of Medicine Research Strategy team supports the work of the Dean and Vice Dean (Research) in developing and implementing strategies and policies to grow the Faculty’s research funding portfolio. We are a busy team of three with a broad array of research management and administration experience: Dr Des Walsh (Director of Research Strategy), Dr Sarah Wagstaffe (Head of Research Strategy) and Dr Kimberley Trim (Research Strategy Coordinator).

Responding to a continuously changing research landscape, we work with research groups to help develop collaborative, multidisciplinary research activity and facilitate the development of institutional relationships with major biomedical research funders. We also strive to ensure the Faculty of Medicine is central to research developments within College but also to exert influence on research strategy at national and international level.

Always available to discuss your ideas, we can work with you to explore potential funding opportunities and to ensure you develop the strongest possible application with the best chance of success. Whether you are trying to find potential collaborators, looking for insight into major funder strategies, exploring routes to research translation or are looking to develop a cross-disciplinary research theme to address a major global challenge – we are here to help you.

Looking ahead

March started with the launch of our annual Imperial Confidence in Concept scheme at the ‘All You Can Innovate’ event at the I-HUB – the closing date for which is 4 April and we have a busy few months ahead. The ISSF Global Health Fellowships, Faculty Fellowships & Daphne Jackson Fellowships will be undergoing internal peer review and panel interview and we will be offering strategic support to all applicants submitting to the MRC Infections and Immunity and Populations and Systems Medicine Boards through our ‘Shadow Panel’ initiative.

To coincide with WHO World Immunization Week 2018 at the end of April, we will be launching the Vaccine Research Network internally – further details will be released soon. We will also be working with several academic leads involved in major Faculty-led bids for research funding, including centre renewals and large-scale initiatives.

Further ahead there will be medium to long-term opportunities to work with us to explore major research themes around vaccines, digital pathology, artificial intelligence, ageing and nutrition. As we look towards to the Faculty’s REF submission in 2021, there will be increasing opportunities to engage with the team around exploiting the impact of funded research programmes and in the generation of high-impact case studies.

So, please come and discuss your ideas, proposals, views with the team – we are currently small but work closely with colleagues across the departments. Our funding pages may also help you to navigate the landscape at Imperial and link you to the best contacts.

You can find out more about Funding opportunities on the College website.

Get to know the team

Dr Des Walsh

Dr Des WalshThe newest member of the team, as Director of Research Strategy, my role is to oversee our activity across the piece from development to implementation. I am supporting the development of our submission for the upcoming HEFCE Research Excellence Framework, including leading the administration and coordination of our impact case studies. I also work with the Vice Dean (Research), Professor Martin Wilkins and Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), Professor Mark Thursz to help develop and implement the BRC research strategy and other research initiatives between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the College. I come to Imperial with 11 years experience at the Medical Research Council where I was both Head of Infections and Immunity and Populations and Systems Medicine. I also led the development of the Stratified Medicine initiative and developed new ways to work with industry partners. I am an alumnus of Imperial as a former research fellow in neurosciences at Charing Cross Hospital (1998-2006) and completed my PhD at the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1996 – so returning to Imperial feels like coming home!

Dr Sarah Wagstaffe

Dr Sarah WagstaffeAs the Head of Research Strategy, my role broadly involves identifying and developing new research collaboration and funding opportunities across the Faculty and College. I manage the implementation of the Faculty’s Research Strategy and take a strategic lead in the management of the College’s major biomedical devolved funding streams from MRC (Imperial Confidence in Concept, ICiC) and Wellcome Trust (Institute Strategic Support Fund, ISSF). I’m an Imperial alumna, having graduated with a PhD from the Materials Department in 2009. After postdoctoral research experience from 2009-2012, I was Research Development Manager at the University of Oxford and then on the other side of the funding fence as Strategy and Policy Manager at the BBSRC. After five years in research management within academia I have concluded it is better to receive than to give!

Dr Kimberley Trim

Dr Kim TrimI am the Research Strategy Coordinator for the team and have been in my role for the past eight years. Over this time I have the pleasure to work with a large number of academics across the Faculty, from early career researchers to senior professors.  I studied for my PhD in Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Birmingham and moved to Imperial for a postdoctoral position at NHLI in 2009.  I assist Sarah in the management of our devolved funding schemes, coordinate peer review support for a number of schemes (Wellcome Investigators, senior and intermediate fellowships, MRC IIB and PSMB project grants), act as FoM point of contact for the Imperial College Research Fellowships, and identify and disseminate suitable funding opportunities for our researchers. I am always happy to speak to academics on a wide range of research funding queries – my phone line is always open and I Iook forward to hearing from you!

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