Nottingham’s Universities are looking for local community organisations to drive new research projects

Wednesday 22 May 2024
reading time: min, words

Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham are calling on local organisations to help develop PhD research projects aimed at benefiting communities across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

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The Co(l)laboratory programme, now in its second year, is a unique initiative that unites academia and the community to undertake research projects designed to bolster the local economy, increase productivity, drive growth, and enhance wellbeing.

Current PhD projects include exploring the impact of community boxing on reducing violence, celebrating language as intangible cultural heritage, and investigating the requirements for young people to be ‘work ready’.

The programme team encourages community organisations to reflect on the challenges they face and reach out to discuss potential collaborations to address these issues through research.

Selected project proposals will offer community partners several unique opportunities and research benefits, such as joining their Community Network. This is a growing community of practice network comprising professionals from local organisations, directly supported by the Co(l)laboratory team to share best practices and maximises collaboration benefits.

Partners and their colleagues will have access to a bespoke series of research skill CPD sessions. These courses provide a practical introduction to core research competencies, concepts, and tools applicable to various challenges faced by community-focused organisations.

Additionally, community partners will receive associate access accounts to both universities, granting them direct access to world-class researcher development courses, academic resources, and more.

Collaborating with university researchers on Co(l)laboratory projects allows partners to address challenges relevant to their organisations and the communities they serve.

Several information webinars are being held for both researchers and community members. These webinars will introduce the Co(l)laboratory programme, provide an overview of the co-creation process for research projects, and outline the workings and expectations of these projects.

Rebekah Smith McGloin, Director of Research Culture and Environment at Nottingham Trent University, summarised that “Co(l)laboratory brings together academia and the community in a collaborative way and we’re already seeing how our research projects are having a real impact on the community around us. This is a chance for the community to get involved and make a real difference to the lives and the livelihoods of people in Nottingham, and we’re keen to hear from organisations – large or small – whose work has a focus on the local community. These partners will have a chance to shape our research projects and will not only benefit from the outcomes but will develop practical research skills with the support of the project team”.

Professor Paul Grainge, University of Nottingham Academic Lead for the Co(l)laboratory Programme, added “By connecting research with the people, places and policymakers of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Co(l)lab is creating a new space for collaboration and continues to inspire in the diversity of projects it is surfacing and supporting. Tackling challenges and addressing needs in the city region, the Co(l)laboratory is pioneering a new model of community-led research and training the civic leaders of tomorrow.”

Matthew Young, UfN Co(l)laboratory Manager, highlighted that “Our unique approach to creating research projects is firmly focused on community, and for that, we need the unmatched experience and insights local civic and community professionals. The Co(l)laboratory process is developing exciting new research projects based on issues that matter to Nottingham and Nottingham”

Once research priorities are defined, project teams will be recruited based on their expertise in these areas, with research commencing in April 2025.

Co(l)laboratory is part of the Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement. This collaboration involves Nottingham’s two world-class universities and nine key anchor institutions, including local healthcare trusts, integrated care systems, city and county councils, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, and Nottingham College. The agreement commits partners to working across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for the benefit of its people and places.

The project is funded by Research England, as well as Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

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