Place based research and impact
The inception of a West Midlands Combined Authority, a government commitment to the devolution of power and money to the regions and Coventry’s ambition to be UK City of Culture in 2021 provide an opportunity for both universities to lead on place based research and impact.
Place based research aims to further the research excellence agenda, embed the university in the cultural, economic and social dimensions of the city and region and also directly benefit the city and its residents. It also offers opportunities for teaching, problem based learning, UG research, placements and volunteering.
The focus on cultural growth and investment in Coventry has the ambition to make real changes to the city in economic, social, health and wellbeing dimensions as well as in cultural growth, capital investment and tourism. These initiatives have the support of both universities, the City Council and leading businesses.
Warwick is leading on the research strand of the City of Culture 2021 bid process and developing a Coventry cultural strategy 2017-2027. Both offer opportunities for major research initiatives with a 10 year impact trail.
Coordinated research led by Warwick and Coventry universities is considered key to enabling a robust, thorough programme to inform the City of Culture 2021 bid and maximise value and impact of city of culture status with research communities including academics from both Universities, the city council and 3rd sector organisations establishing groups and networks using the city as a platform for investigation and impact.
Jonothan Neelands, Associate Dean Creativity WBS is leading on the research case for the bid as Director of Research on the Executive Bid Committee for Coventry City of Culture 2021. The research for the bid builds on the success and impact of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value final report Enriching Britain; Culture, Creativity and Growth.
Key Research Themes (KRTs)
The timeline for the bid and the life of the cultural strategy provide opportunities for the universities to embed place based research initiatives that lead to both 4* research and impact amongst other outcomes.
There is considerable scope for new inter-disciplinary, place based research as well as a disciplinary focus on the key themes around of moving, reinvention, underground and human:
- Culture as a driver of urban renewal and social cohesion
- Economic development and modelling
- Urban science (data science, social media and digital citizenship)
- Health and lifestyle
Researchers at both universities will work closely together on the research programme and involve a number of different departments with R&IS identified as a central resource to support and facilitate.
If you think your research and impact plans could contribute to the project, please contact the R&IS City of Culture resource account: RISCityofCulture at warwick dot ac dot uk in the first instance.
Strategy timeline: from what we know to what we do
August 2015 – September 2017 – Maximising existing research
The curation of data to feed the bid’s narrative began in August 2015 and will continue to the completion of the final bid documents in September 2017, drawing on a number of city focused data and sources to give a richly granulated picture of the city and its residents which will form the basis of a ‘research-led’ bid and cultural strategy.
Existing research from other areas of the University such as the Sustainable Cities GRP is being mapped to translate into actions and strategic objectives and referenced to feed understandings of the cultural, economic, health and social needs of the city.
Deadline January 2017: Any additional research that can support the bid needs to be submitted by January 2017 to be referenced.
June 2016-September 2017 – Proposing major new research initiatives
Both the bid and the Cultural Strategy are projections of what will be achieved from 2017-2027. There is a major opportunity for Warwick to develop focused research activity around KRTs to feed both projects. The ‘research-led’ USP of Coventry’s bid and strategy are based in the excellence of its two Universities and their commitment to partnership in place-based research and change. A clear set of research proposals for future development will add considerable value to the bid and its chances of success.
In this period, each KRT will need to identify lead academics who will champion the development of place-based research initiatives that play to the research strengths of the University and provide evidence of a supported programme of research that will directly impact on the City and its ambitions to win UK City of Culture 2021 and become a Top 10 UK city by 2026.
Deadline March 2017: Proposals from each of the KRTs will need to submit their proposals by March 2017 to be included in the first round of bidding and/or by August 2017 to be included in the final round.
November 2017–2026: On-going research and impact
If the bid is successful, the experience of other Cities of Culture like Liverpool and Hull suggest that there will be significant additional targeted funding from RCUK, ACE, DCMS, BiS and HMT as well as from private sources which will considerably add value to the work of the KRTs and wider place-based research initiatives in the future.
If unsuccessful, the experience of other cities who lost like Leicester, Birmingham and Newcastle suggest that the process of competing itself creates opportunities for lasting partnerships and the realisation of their cultural, economic and social ambitions.
The bidding process is an important trigger for urban renewal whether or not the bid is successful.
The flagship KRTs will fulfill their promises and in so doing attract national and international attention to successful place-based research and impact.
The Cultural Strategy will have biennial research refresh milestones for on-going research and impact in the JRTs and beyond. New research can feed in to the evolution of the strategy in 2019, 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027