Defining and Communicating Research Goals – June 2019

CEO, Neil Morris, highlights the need for us to define our scientific goals and roadmaps.


Countries and companies all over the world are racing towards the prizes associated with electrification. UK plc needs to be a winner in this race and is looking to the Faraday Institution and other parts of the Faraday Battery Challenge to deliver.

Our initial research projects are approaching their half-way mark and we are making real inroads into battery science, some of which are already necessitating conversations about possible routes to commercialisation. This is really gratifying to see.

We, and the Expert Panel, look forward to meeting with those researchers invited to the 16-month review on 16-17 July in Windsor. This event will take a different format to previous review meetings. It will be a smaller, closed event and we will be conducting a deep dive into the science with the leaders of all the projects present throughout. The meeting will have a strong element of open discussion, leveraging the expert panel and all the experience in the room to help support and collectively aid the projects going forward.

In the run up to that meeting we are asking the PIs and PLs to further define the scientific challenges each project is tackling and the route that the project is planning to overcome them, defining clear objectives, milestones, timescales and the resulting impact. We will be using this input to develop a shared understanding of what project success looks like and a roadmap to get there.

I regard it as an absolutely necessity to create this roadmap. If we don’t define clear goals how will we know our projects have been successful? How will we know whether we are on a route to that success? We may not succeed in reaching all our defined goals. That’s OK. The ambitious nature of the challenges we are taking on mean that we should not expect all of our goals to be achieved. However, we do want to know as early as possible if we are unlikely to be successful so that we can direct resources to other opportunities. In setting goals that balance being aspirational and realistic we will, as an organisation, know we are asking the right questions to achieve greater things than we would have otherwise.

The process will be worth the effort. Once defined we will be able to discuss expectations more effectively with stakeholders. This is particularly important at a time when the Faraday Institution’s future budget is being discussed. We look forward to being able to share the outcomes from the 16-month review with our research community.

Posted on June 21, 2019 in CEO's message

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About the Author

With 30 years of international experience in the energy sector Neil Morris joined the Faraday Institution as Chief Executive Officer in July 2018. Download his biography:


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