Unique research collaboration to benefit grassroots community organisations

Voluntary and community organisations based in Bath & North East Somerset are being invited to apply to take part in a unique collaborative research programme with researchers from our University and South West Foundation that could help benefit their local area.

Applications for projects - which could range from anything from the redesign of a local community space to a drive to increase volunteering - will see community groups working alongside academics in the design and delivery of locally-relevant research, so developing their own research capabilities.

The Community Matters Programme has been developed by the University’s Public Engagement Unit in part to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University. It will offer successful applicants the opportunity to take part in a 6-day community-researcher training programme at the start of the summer before the actual research takes place from autumn 2016.

In addition to the opportunity to partner with researchers from right across the University, there is a grant of up to £3,000 available to help organisations with research-related costs.

Dr Helen Featherstone, Head of the Public Engagement at the University explained: “The Community Matters Programme is a truly unique research collaboration through which local organisations can not only tap into funding but also combine their own knowledge and expertise with that of academics to help shape their research projects.

“This might range from anything from exploring why a particular public space is underused – perhaps drawing on expertise in architecture and design from the University – to investigating how to encourage people to get more active – which could involve researchers from the University’s Department for Health. By bringing together academics with community organisations in this way we are hoping to see innovative collaborative projects.”

Chief Executive at South West Foundation, Jan Crawley, added: “With just over a month to go, I would actively encourage all local organisations in the area to consider applying to take part in the Community Matters Programme. By working together and researching an issue alongside academics from the University, there are really exciting potentials in this initiative.”

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