Collaboration Labs: Project Excellence awards announced

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Collaboration Labs are funded schemes that aim to support research consultancy opportunities, professional training and coaching for postgraduate and early career researchers. And this year, interdisciplinary teams of Humanities and Social Sciences PGR & ECR researchers have been working with businesses, public and third sector organisations to create social, cultural and economic benefits.

Through the ESRC funded Collaboration Labs programme, researchers have worked collaboratively with organisations on areas from the arts and cultural sector to sexual health services, water management to citizen-led environmental education.

The Project Excellence Award recognises innovative approaches to academic research and significant impact achievements of two of the programme’s research projects.  

LGBT+ sexual health service delivery during the Covid-19 lockdown: Lessons learned, digital futures?

Despite early reporting of the pandemic as a ‘great equalizer’, research has shown that its detrimental effects have been unevenly distributed among populations. In particular, both the virus and social distancing have had a disproportionate impact on LGBT people, who already suffer from higher rates of poor mental health, are more likely to live alone, and require more formal support services. Their continuous access to sexual and reproductive health has been deemed by the WHO as essential during the pandemic (World Health Organisation 2020).

During the COVID-19 lockdown, sexual and reproductive health and genitourinary medicine services saw a drastic reduction in capacity and a changed mode of operation. In light of this, LGBT Foundation transferred its services and activities online, and evidence suggests that there was an increase in the number of people who used these services.

Among the first reports of its kind, this project collected people’s experiences of services, views of online activities, and desires for the future. It will now contribute to a national discussion on the possible routes towards a better and more inclusive ‘new normal’ for LGBT+ healthcare services.

“This Researcher-Led consultancy project demonstrates the excellent synergies that can be created between post-graduate research and the business community to add value to the wider community when at play are strong personal initiative, meaningful stakeholder engagement and punctual project management.”

– Dr. Rosalinda Quintieri, Collaboration Labs Director.

Find out more about the research here.

The Envirolution Revolution

In collaboration with Envirolution, a Manchester-based cooperative that promotes citizen-led environmental and social change through community engagement, a team of researchers with expertise in Architecture and Urban Studies, Business and Management, Human Geography, Arts Management and Social Anthropology have supporting citizen-led environmental activism.

The research team provided Envirolution, for the first time ever, with rich data on the impact of its community work; offering insight into how perceptions of climate change have been addressed and how they were reflected, transferred and assimilated into everyday lives as a result. Researchers also produced a toolkit for the continued evaluation of Envirolution’s activities, which will help to evidence and further impact in the future.

The research team presented their findings on Envirolution’s approach to community engagement at the Place-Based Climate Action Network Conference. These research findings were accepted for a publication on theory and practice on local climate action by Climate Praxis.

“The project delivers a clear case for the role of place-based action and empowered community work in the fight against climate change and will support Envirolution’s future activities.”
– Professor Gabe Mythen, Director, ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership.

Find out more about the team and their work here.

Get involved! Applications for the next round of funding are now open.

Collaboration Labs facilitates fully-funded research consultancy, professional training and coaching opportunities.

Applications for Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers interested in working with non-University partners are now open. Find out more and apply here.

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