Universities provide a specific environment for research to be carried out, which comes with many benefits and is of course the expected route for researchers, but for many people this context can be very limiting. Some researchers may be looking for increased flexibility and control over their projects, for example to carry out interdisciplinary work that seeks to break down traditional barriers or question perspectives that can be particularly tenacious in large institutions or longstanding academic departments. Others find local communities are more willing to work with more personable, local organisations rather than large universities that can harbour reputations of imposing, intimidating or overly competitive environments to those outside of the institution.
For such researchers, we offer a different form of personal development, one that doesn't require a fixed set of institutional training schemes, as we provide an environment where they will be situated in a small organisation where knowledge is inherently transparent, as it is part of day to day activity of the people learning and doing, around them.
- Project management skills across a variety of projects, from software development to community workshops.
- Accounting and financial skills, as we do our project accounting, auditing and reporting in-house.
- Community engagement, as our core metric of research relevance.
- Effective social media in an ever-changing ecosystem.
- Relevance and application of research in wider contexts - e.g. public policy.
- The funding landscapes beyond an academic career context.
- Open licencing of research outputs, and non-standard publication/dissemination routes.
- Access to external professional development via schemes we are linked to.
- Community-led/participatory research methods.
- On demand practical training, e.g. running a server, workshop design, PCB fabrication.
The skills gained mean researchers are well equipped to set up and run their own independent organisation in the shape they need it to be, should they wish to. We provide the knowledge required for researchers to work more confidently in their future academic or professional career, by providing them a wider experience than those based in traditional academic environments would have.