Past Research Projects

All reports from past projects can be found on Cambridgeshire Insight:

Over the two years the programme has been running, the following research questions have been investigated, and very clear policy recommendations have been made from those.

2018 Research Questions

  • How to measure the effectiveness of our first response service to mental health crises?
  • What impact does rurality have on life chances of young people?
  • How to consistently measure outcomes of social projects?
  • What factors influence parental preference of schools?

2017 Research Questions

  • What are the next generation of models to transform organisations?
  • How can we improve outcomes in areas of high deprivation? (with focus on early years)
  • What reasons can be identified to explain the educational achievement gap?

Impact and case studies

During the past two years of the Policy Challenges, the evidence and recommendations brought forward by researchers have been warmly received by senior management and elected representatives within the Council and have allowed key policy issues to be addressed in the county.

CUSPE researchers involved last year said, "It's been fascinating to see how social science is employed in local government, and the impact that it can have on policymaking." and "The Policy Challenges bridge the worlds of science and policy in a way that researchers from different disciplines work together to make a significant social impact."

Additionally, a past participant in the programme has reported using their experience with the policy challenges to obtain a job in policy for central government.

2018 Measures of Outcomes policy challenge

Members of the team have been invited to participate in the strategic restructuring of the Innovate & Cultivate Fund and to present their research, findings and recommendations for the Fund there. 

The Innovate & Cultivate Fund helps voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations to deliver projects that help to achieve these broad outcomes by addressing the needs of local residents.

The Innovate & Cultivate Fund aims to redirect Council funding from high cost front-line services, towards support and services that are delivered within, and by, local communities. 

2017 Deprivation policy challenge

The Best Start in Life programme is using the 2017 Deprivation policy challenge's research and policy recommendations to inform the development of an overarching early years strategy. The strategy will propose specific areas in which how public and community health, early year’s education and early help services can work together to support outcomes for children pre-birth to five.

2017 Educational achievement gap policy challenge

The Schools Intervention Service Team (SIS) implemented a range of strategies across schools following the recommendations from this policy challenge, in order to give a clear focus on ‘narrowing the achievement gap’. There has since been a 5% improvement in outcomes for pupils in receipt of PPG (pupil premium grant) across Cambridgeshire, a faster rate than in any of the 101 other Local Authorities.