The Lancashire Research Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change is a new initiative by the University of Central Lancashire. Our world today faces many urgent and complex problems that can only be addressed by bringing together many different kinds of knowledge and experience. Traditionally, universities have been fragmented into specialist areas of expertise, with a range of disciplines kept separate from each other.
But our growing social, environmental, economic, technological and cultural problems are all linked up – and thus our search for solutions must cross the boundaries between many different forms of expertise. We call this ‘transdiciplinary’ research.
Scientists, artists, engineers, social researchers and many more are finding new ways to work together to address the complex challenges now confronting society. And of course, the participation of many different communities, professions, practitioners and other groups living and working on the frontlines of these great social challenges is central to any genuine attempt at transdiciplinary knowledge-making.
The new Institute brings together powerful research strands from fifteen UCLan Schools and four Faculties into a critical mass capable of extensive transdisciplinary work. There are now 36 active members of the Institute, all leading research academics.
The aim of the Institute is to develop new ways of thinking about inequality, insecurity, diversity and fragmentation and building responsive services for sustainable communities. It will do this through three inter-related and interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary themes:
The Directors of the Institute are Professor Lynn Froggett, Professor Mark Dooris, Professor Ulrike Zeshan and Professor John Whitton, and with research backgrounds that reflect the cross-disciplinary nature of the Institute.
We would like to thank Professor Nicky Stanley, a founding co-director of the Institute, who is stepping down from this role at the beginning of 2020. The institute owes much to Professor Stanley’s dedicated work, vast experience and strategic vision in its establishment and launch. We would also like to welcome our new co-director, Professor Mark Dooris, who is Professor in Health and Sustainability and Co-Director of the Healthy & Sustainable Settings Unit at UCLan. Mark has a background in health promotion, public health, community development and environmental policy and brings to the role of Co-Director with a wealth of experience and expertise including almost 25 years’ service at UCLan.
- To produce high quality research to address urgent questions for people and society
- To recognise new political and global contexts
- To advance wellbeing, public good, civil society, democracy and sustainability
- To focus on impact and action
- To pioneer distinctive and innovative methodological approaches
Measures of our success will be through:
- Year on year growth in transdisciplinary research activity, grant capture, quality outputs and impact
- International academic recognition, by 2020, as an Institute for addressing urgent questions regarding the future of society
- International influence on policy and practice, by 2025, to achieve effective implementation of strategic solutions we have identified
- A rich research environment that facilitates the growth of PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and early career researchers
- Added value enhancing student experience and community engagement.
We will do this by:
- ‘cross-pollinating’ ideas, skills, knowledge and resources across Centres and disciplines;
- providing shared/pooled resources and advantages of scale;
- providing ‘seedcorn funding’ for transdisciplinary ideas;
- offering a peer review process and other assistance to support successful publication and bidding;
- enabling a stronger projection to the outside world.