What research questions are being investigated this year?
5 questions, that have been identified as critical by Cambridgeshire County Council officers and members, are being investigated.
- What actions must Cambridgeshire county council take today to meet the government pledge of 80-100% carbon emission reduction by 2050?
- How to design the future of local government today?
- What is the most appropriate evaluation method for the Healthy Fenland Fund?
- What is the impact of mobility on pupil outcomes and how to improve those?
- How can we optimise the uptake of alternatives to individual petroleum cars, so as to limit air pollution and congestion across Cambridgeshire?
When and where does the programme take place?
Applications for the 2019 programme are now closed.
The programme runs yearly from March until September. Researchers can apply to be part of a team until mid-March, by completing an online form.
Successful candidates are then contacted, and inductions are carried out by the end of March. Researchers then meet the officer and member leads for their respective research questions in early April and have monthly meetings with them subsequently. All meetings are normally be held at Shire Hall, the main site of Cambridgeshire County Council.
Reports need to be handed in by September, and are to be presented at Committee meetings in the last quarter of 2019. We ask researchers to be available until December as they might need to attend other meetings to discuss their findings.
Information for researchers
Who can participate?
Any early-career researcher based in Cambridge until December of the appropriate year can apply to the programme. That includes any PhD, Postdoc or researcher at the University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, or at other institutions.
Senior researchers are also welcome to participate in the programme, and usually assume the role of "sounding boards" with significant expertise in the field of the question, and whom the team can consult throughout the programme.
How much time does it take?
During the research period, participants are expected to contribute an average of 2-4 hours of personal work per week to their project, on top of monthly meetings with officers. It is likely that this time commitment will be distributed unevenly across the span of the project, depending on project demands, researchers' other commitments, and delegation within the teams.
The teams will have several meetings with the County Council officer and member leads for their respective research questions and will also meet monthly with all other teams to share progress experiences. Those meetings will be arranged to suit all parties commitments and will usually take place early in the morning or in the late afternoon, during the week.
Is any relevant knowledge or experience necessary?
No, specific expertise on the issues investigated is not required, only a willingness to learn and use your research skills to address the policy question. Teams are usually chosen to have a broad range of backgrounds, with usually at least one team member with some knowledge and experience in the relevant field.
Is applying as part of a team necessary?
No, individual applications are normal, but if you wish to work with specific other researchers, please indicate it on the application form.
What can be learnt from the programme?
The Policy Challenges are a unique opportunity to apply analytical and other transferable skills to a practical policy setting, while gaining a better understanding of the policy environment and contributing to the local community.
What support is available?
Researchers will have access to senior policymakers and to pertinent Council data sources, and will be supported by members of the Council's Transformation Team.
Information for Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) staff
How do I get involved?
The transformation team welcomes all CCC staff and members to submit research questions throughout the year. For officers submitting an application, a manager must have reviewed and approved the research question before it is submitted.
A brief description of the context, past work done within CCC and issues that would be mitigated through the research process need to be clearly described, and the research scope needs to be fit for the 6-months length of the programme.
The application needs to be sent to: Transformation.Team@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
All applications will be reviewed by the end of February, and the transformation team should have gotten in touch by the end of December (of the preceding year).
For any further query, please get in touch with the transformation team:Transformation.Team@cambridgeshire.gov.uk