SUE Research Dialogues - Workshop

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Inst for the Contemporary Arts

Abstract

The Sustainable Urban Environments Programme is now in its fifth year and 15 consortia funded under SUE1 have undertaken a wide range of sustainability research. There now exists a sufficient body of work for it to be imperative that the researchers exchange knowledge between each other, to produce a step-change advancement in the academic research on sustainability by engaging in visionary thinking on long-term research needs and developing ideas and research teams around novel topics and projects. Without such strategic thinking the enormous potential for impact will be compromised. Indeed, as the SUE Programme develops it becomes increasingly important to build the research community, i.e., to broaden and improve the research experience through improved academic collaboration and knowledge exchange, thus avoiding the perhaps inevitable duplication of effort evident in the early stages of the SUE Programme. This need is distinct from the knowledge transfer activities that aim to implement the research from the SUE Programme, which is being facilitated by the creation of ISSUES (Implementation Strategies for Sustainable Urban Environment Systems). Currently within the SUE Programme there is no similar facility for sharing academic knowledge and growing the portfolio of funded research beyond SUE. Standard dissemination strategies, partly driven by the Research Assessment Exercise, are leading to widespread dispersal of the results of the SUE Programme. While this dissemination remains necessary - we should be influencing the research thinking in our own discipline areas - a major opportunity is being lost by the lack of a single forum for SUE researchers and outputs. Indeed, this is a unique opportunity to capture, at exactly the right moment, the essential findings from SUE1 alongside the recently awarded SUE2 projects. Furthermore, now that SUE2 grants have been awarded, it is critical to provide a forum for improved communication and collaboration; this bid seeks to develop the necessary forum for providing the above opportunities, bringing together investigators and researchers from SUE1 and SUE2 as well as complementary research and EPSRC-nominated industry representatives (following EPSRC's SUE stakeholder workshop).Standard dissemination strategies are leading to widespread dispersal of the results of the SUE Programme. While this dissemination remains necessary and valuable, a major opportunity is being lost by the lack of a single forum for SUE researchers and outputs. EPSRC will shortly launch SUE3, with outline proposals expected by March 2009. Thus, there is now a unique opportunity to capture, at exactly the right moment, the essential findings from SUE1 (while the outcomes are still fresh and researchers are seeking to build new research programmes on this strong foundation) alongside the recently awarded SUE2 projects. This bid seeks to develop the necessary forum for providing the above opportunities, bringing together investigators and researchers from SUE1 and SUE2 as well as complementary research and industry representatives.This project envisages three opportunities for academic dialogue/knowledge exchange: (1) Month 3 - a Workshop - mature outputs from SUE1 meet new ideas from the SUE2 teams with a view to generating strategic thinking and novel proposals-the focus of this proposal (Lancaster possible venue); (2) Month 15 - Seminars - mature outputs from SUE1, and work underway in and first outputs from SUE2, meet new ideas from new teams from SUE3-future proposal (Birmingham possible venue); and (3) Month 25 - an International Conference - with a prior or subsequent meeting of the research community to continue the discussions and ensure continuity-future proposal (venue yet to be decided, but it will be selected to ensure a suitable focus on sustainability issues with local buy-in for stakeholder engagement and possible site visits).

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