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Need help spending research money!

(29 Posts)
QueenRefusenik Fri 05-May-17 10:30:43

I realise this is a nice problem to have! Basically each researcher at my institution gets a small pot of cash for research expenses. Mine is bigger than usual this year as they gave me a little bonus for having been on maternity leave last year. It all has to be used by the end of July, I can't carry it over and it's not even as if it goes back to the dept if I don't spend it - it just vanishes. I think the VC spends it on quails eggs and champagne for his bath or something. Anyway, I need ideas! No need for expensive research equipment, havr a reasonably new laptop and I'm already committed to as many conferences/workshops I can do with a 15month old. Do I just buy a load of books I'll never have time to read? Cool tech-y gadgets? Do I need an iPad (for marking from home, you understand...) or Kindle-thingy? Should I pay a student to do some scut-work? Ideas please!

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Fri 05-May-17 10:40:08

What a lovely problem!

I am not a tech-y person but I know someone who got an iPhone with extra money.

I would personally go for additional RA/student work, doing whatever you need to move your research/pubs forward- so for me, that's things like having them do literature searches, putting relevant refs into Mendeley, reviews, whatever you find time-consuming but not too difficult. Or a short bit of data collection if you are short on data?

QueenRefusenik Fri 05-May-17 11:12:55

I think you might be right and the RA @Foureyesarebetterthantwo. I'm just scared of the paperwork involved! But yes, I can think of things they could do with minimal supervision that would be really helpful...!

lovecreameggs Fri 05-May-17 11:30:58

We're not allowed to spend our research money on anything useful tech, books or RA time so check your guidelines. When I have money over I've used it for data collection panels (e.g. Crowd flower or similar), transcriptions or for skills training (nvivo, spss, matlab etc)

QueenRefusenik Fri 05-May-17 12:39:27

Good point @Ilovecreameggs, I think we can hire RAs but will check. I know other people have bought iPads, so surely...?!

DoctorGilbertson Fri 05-May-17 15:51:56

What a nice problem.
Pay a library or research consultancy for a rapid evidence assessment to support a grant application?
Internet panels good idea. Run a PPI workshop?

impostersyndrome Sat 06-May-17 07:47:03

Specialised software; journal subscription; specialised training; gold open access for your best publication; design of project website. Remember it may have to be spent by July, but activity could be in the future.

MedSchoolRat Sat 06-May-17 11:17:45

How much money is this?
Only 10 weeks to get an RA contract sorted, can your HR do that, do you have an RA with capacity & skills?

My boss had this problem. His PhD student blew > £2k on equipment she can use in her field work over next 2 yrs, like recording items & USB battery packs & mozzie nets. Another time we put £5k on deposit with a publishing house & obviously sent all our OA articles to one of the journals in their group over next year. Things like upgrading your desktop hard-disk to SSD or adding 4+ more GB to the desktop (& to a laptop). Or a good case for a laptop, or software, or a training course you can't get for free locally.

QueenRefusenik Sat 06-May-17 20:35:57

All good suggestions, thanks! Given I'm still trying to get a straight answer re the RA I'm guessing it won't happen in the timeframe, sadly. Think I'll start looking at training courses. Always good to brush up on my stats, maybe an R course or something

RandomMess Sat 06-May-17 20:38:59

Specialist software, an on line journal or three?

Transcription services?

Peanutbuttercheese Thu 11-May-17 09:33:54

I know that the VC at one University I worked in had gold taps in his bathroom, one of the estates guys told me. I'm sure they were only gold coloured but did seem a bit dictator gone mad.

Personally I would advise cappuccino over latte, not really but I did have a couple of colleagues who always seeemd to spend their research money in creative ways. This is years ago and things were far more lax.

Just make sure to spend it as they may try and claw it back if you don't.

Parietal Fri 12-May-17 14:14:43

if you can't do the job adverts for the RA, you might be able to create an 'internship' paid at min wage and advertised only to second year undergrads in your own dept. that can get you a helpful person for 6 weeks in the summer with less hassle than creating a new post.

hackneyLass Fri 12-May-17 14:37:15

What about a training course? Specifically one in a lovely posh manor house with a swimming pool....

Ginmakesitallok Fri 12-May-17 14:40:32

Or boringly why not not spend what could be public money on stuff you don't need and just let it go back to the uni???

fivepies Fri 12-May-17 14:44:22

Ginmakesitallok - it's extremely unlikely that it is public money. (depending on what department the OP is in that is). The % of university income coming from HEFCE is small...and shrinking.

tatohead Fri 12-May-17 17:25:07

Gin - but the OP is trying to use it constructively, for personal development, research assistance etc hardly squandering it hmm

Goldfishjane Fri 12-May-17 17:30:47

"Do I just buy a load of books I'll never have time to read? "

If your students will benefit from them, then that's a good option.

worstofbothworlds Wed 17-May-17 14:06:40

Pay a student, even if it's just to do some filing.

purplepandas Sun 11-Jun-17 09:15:48

Vouchers for study participation?

ghislaine Wed 14-Jun-17 20:52:16

Membership of a professional society? I think the BFUW has a five year membership option.

Bells and whistles management/leadership training course (will help with promotion)

Personal doctoral robes

Nice office furniture like a couch or reading lamp

Decent fountain pen

ghislaine Wed 14-Jun-17 20:56:15

Prepay an emergency nanny agency so you have credit to use when needing to go to all those evening functions/networking events (unless your institution is enlightened and already has such a fund).

user7214743615 Thu 15-Jun-17 08:24:20

I would very much doubt that a university would allow funds to be paid to a nanny agency.

sauceyorange Thu 15-Jun-17 08:43:39

Go to conferences! Organise a workshop for a grant writing project?

spinassienne Wed 21-Jun-17 09:42:35

I was thinking about this just yesterday! I'd pay someone to file all my paperwork and get some bespoke shelving / filing space for my home office.

bigkidsdidit Wed 21-Jun-17 11:59:25

I don't know about your place but mine would not allow money to be spent on a nanny agency ( hmm ), shelving, doctoral robes. We are not even allowed to charge membership of professional bodies.

Leadership / management training, a really good stats course and a new laptop is what I would do...

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