Community organisations to partner with academics for success

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New initiative matches academics and community businesses to pair up for social benefit.
18 Dec, 2017

Community groups are invited to take part in a new scheme, matching them with academics, to complete research for social benefit. The Community University Partnership Initiative (CUPI) is now open for applications, led by National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

Funded by Power to Change, the independent trust that supports and develops community businesses in England, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, CUPI supports community organisations (including community businesses, charities, social enterprises, and voluntary organisations) and university researchers to create trusting and useful research collaborations which benefit all those involved. CUPI is an England wide initiative which if successful hopes to roll out across the UK.

Up to 80 community organisations will be matched with academics through workshops in Bristol, Manchester, Newham and Birmingham in 2018. Partnered community organisations and researchers will have access to grants worth up to £1000 to fund ‘thinking time’ and up to £5000 to develop their project.

Sophie Duncan Deputy Director of the NCCPE, reflects that ‘The Community University Partnership Initiative provides an ideal opportunity for new relationships to develop between community organisations and universities that are beneficial to all those involved, including the wider community. Two of the key challenges are finding the right person to work with, and having the time and resources to explore if and how the partnership can work. CUPI seeks to address these challenges, and support research partnerships to develop that really make a difference.’

Ailbhe McNabola, Head of Research and Policy at Power to Change says ‘Community businesses often struggle to get the data and research needed to make their case and make sound business decisions. By matching university researchers with community business leaders, we hope more of them will be able to develop their organisations in ways that benefit more of the community.’

Events are being held regionally to match university researchers and community organisations to encourage local partnership development. The first two workshops will take place in Bristol on Thursday 22 March and Manchester on Tuesday 17 April 2018. The deadline for applying for a place is 4 weeks before each event. Those who are invited to attend will be notified 3 weeks before the event.

Aimed at representatives from community organisations and universities who are keen to build new longstanding partnerships, the events provide an interactive opportunity to explore research ideas and access seed corn funding. Any research idea will be considered, including applying existing research and development new knowledge. For example, partnerships might seek to: assess the value of a community business; support business development; understand community needs; develop evidence based interventions; apply research in practice etc.

Find out more and apply to attend either the Bristol or Manchester match event for the opportunity to create a new partnership, access funding and explore getting a project off the ground:

Notes to editors

Please direct any queries about the programme to Stephanie Todd