Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
RC Blog lead 3 ;

Introducing IoPPN Research Culture Insights

Research Culture Insights at IoPPN
Aneita Pringle

Research Culture Support Manager at IoPPN

25 June 2024

Aneita Pringle is Research Culture Support Manager at IoPPN. Her work emphasises reflective practice, collaboration, and the prioritisation of a strengths-based approach. She is passionate about social and disability justice and applies this lens within her work and beyond. Below, she introduces this blog series and the purpose behind it. She also shares her reflections on research culture and some of the topics covered in the series.

Research culture... has the potential to encompass just about every facet of our working lives. – Aneita Pringle

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that ‘research culture’ is yet another iteration in what may seem like a never-ending list of ‘extra’ or ‘new’ things researchers need to do when they apply for grant funding or before they can even start researching. However, creating a positive research culture is not only something you’re probably already doing, but something many of you are doing extremely well. It ensures our research environment remains world class and fosters groundbreaking, impactful research.

I am one of several Research Culture Managers situated across King’s faculties whose function is to explore or embed research culture at a local level. We connect regularly with the central research culture team, who have already done a tonne of work to identify three areas of focus at an institutional level: empowering researchers/those involved in research to thrive; valuing all contributions; and supporting good research practice.

It will be a continuous journey to develop our local understanding of research culture but what we already know is that research culture is constructed by and affects all members of the research community: academic/research staff (all levels), PS staff, PGRs, technicians, undergraduate and Master’s students involved in research, and anyone/everyone else who engages in research/research support.

research culture puzzle

Why does research culture matter?

In 2020, Wellcome published a report highlighting what researchers thought about the research culture they work in. It revealed researchers in higher education do not always feel their research culture is positive. The reality of career precarity, the pressure to publish, limited time to devote to professional development, and a multitude of other system-level barriers are having a negative impact on wellbeing. The governmental 2021 R&D People and Culture Strategy also highlighted the goals for UK innovation going forward, particularly around collaborating and partnering with industry and the third sector and the potential benefits for retention, capacity-building, and attracting exceptional talent.

As a large faculty within a complex university and sector, we can neither access the benefits nor address the challenges alone. But we can focus on the everyday acts of inclusion and how we interact with each other, and support others directly or indirectly involved in facilitating research at the IoPPN.

Integral to a positive research culture is that we conduct excellent research in an open, transparent manner. Research integrity and a commitment to rigour are key to ethical, impactful research and work best alongside attitude change (for example, approaching mistakes as opportunities to learn and peer review not as antagonistic but rather an opportunity to reflect and improve). And if this still doesn’t encourage you to actively engage with and consider research culture, it is a priority for King’s more broadly and the new People, Culture, and Environment area of evaluation within REF, a major source of funding for universities.

research culture bulbs

What does research culture mean for us?

As the term suggests, ‘research culture’ spans research and culture (an important part of which encompasses equality, diversity and inclusion or CED&I), both of which are incredibly well-established concepts, drivers, and teams within IoPPN. However, as a concept, research culture is nearly impossible to pin down and has the potential to encompass just about every facet of our working lives.

One way to help define what it means for us at the IoPPN is to provide a platform to illustrate the multifaceted nature of research culture by gathering a wide array of perspectives and priorities within the research culture space.

Which brings us to IoPPN Research Culture Insights. For this blog series, I asked members of the IoPPN research community three questions:

  • What is your understanding of research culture?
  • What do you think we/you do well in IoPPN/your team?
  • What do you want to see in the future?

Hearing about current practice and examples should also help us think about research culture in more concrete terms while offering opportunities to get to know our colleagues and what they’re passionate about.

I invite you to read through all of them here.

research culture fish

Reflections so far

Reviewing the blog contributions, I see patterns that link back to the wider work I’ve been doing to identify high-level strengths and gaps. For example, in terms of strengths, CED&I as an ethos and praxis as well as a team are felt to be strong; there’s a real appreciation for grassroots initiatives and the inspiring work that people on the ground are doing within their local contexts; a perception of a collegiate environment with local community spirit; and that as a faculty, we celebrate each other’s achievements.

There are commonly identified gaps, too: terrific grassroots initiatives need more support to continue and the size of our faculty, logistical factors and the nature of our roles can sometimes pose barriers to feeling connected and supported.

Related to that last theme, something I keep hearing is that while there are lots of initiatives and individuals doing excellent work in the research culture space, we might not always know about them. I’m therefore developing a database compiling resources, best practice case studies, and generally a platform to share learning and awareness of research culture initiatives. If you’d like to contribute to the database or just share your general thoughts, please head to

Thank you to all the contributors to this blog so far. This is intended to be a series, so if anyone has any suggestions for topics and/or is interested in contributing, please contact myself (

Latest news