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Past research projects

Past Research Projects

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

Since the programme began the following research questions have been investigated and have resulted in very clear policy recommendations.

2021 Research Questions

  • How can we best align partners and community assets to ensure whole communities can access opportunities to enhance social mobility?
  • What are the new models of local government after Covid-19?
  • Proposal for a Cambridgeshire Carbon Advisory Service and Strategic Business Case for a Cambridgeshire Decarbonisation Fund
  • Cambridgeshire Local Area Energy Planning: An Evidence Base for Heat Zoning and Networks in Huntingdon, Ely and March

2020 Research Questions

  • What does the evidence tell us about the type of support that would have the most impact on ensuring our care leavers can make a successful transition from being a supported young person into an independent adult, including the transition from education to work?
  • How can we use community-based resources to jointly tackle the climate emergency within our communities?
  • Proposal for a Cambridgeshire Decarbonisation Fund to Support the Achievement of Net-Zero Cambridgeshire by 2050
  • What is the effect of council decision making on the ability of Cambridgeshire communities to develop initiatives that lessen the need for formal health and social care services?

2019 Research Questions

  • What actions must Cambridgeshire County Council take today to meet the government pledge of 80-100% carbon emission reduction by 2050?
  • How can we design the future of local government today?
  • What is the most appropriate evaluation method for the Healthy Fenland Fund?
  • How can we optimise the uptake of alternatives to individual petroleum cars, so as to limit air pollution and congestion across Cambridgeshire?

2018 Research Questions

  • How can we measure the effectiveness of our first response service to mental health crises?
  • What impact does rurality have on life chances of young people?
  • How can we 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 few 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.

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 allows 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 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.