Research projects

Ongoing projects

Smart Urban Intermediaries: Trans-European research, learning, and action Project (Apr 2017 - Oct 2019)

The project will seek to generate impact and value in academia, civil society and urban governance in understanding, contributing to and advancing smart urban development and social innovation. Reflecting the substantive focus of this project, a crucial impact will be on transforming existing and fostering new connections, collaboration and co-creation between, as well as within, user communities.

Jam and Justice: co-producing urban governance for social innovation (Jan 2016 - Jul 2019)

The impact from Jam and Justice will be conceptual, re-thinking the nature of contemporary urban governance, emphasising governing processes, the role of intermediaries in urban transformations and re-orienting devolution to place-based capacity building.

Recently completed projects 

Do flexible institutions enhance democracy? A comparative analysis of public governance innovations in Brazil and the UK (Jul 2014 - Jul 2016)

The purpose of this exploratory research is to bring complementary expertise from the UK and Brazil to the analysis of democratic innovations - the global search for new ways in which societal, economic and cultural problems can be resolved through the direct involvement of citizens, civil society organisations, and other parties.

Translation across borders: exploring the use, relevance and impact of academic research in the policy process (Jan 2014 - Mar 2015)

This project seeks to explore and suggest ways to address the frustrations which attempts to translate research into policy can bring. A focus of concern for academics is the fidelity of translation to their research findings. For policy-makers, the focus is often the function of the translation for the demands they are seeking to address.

Evaluation of Community Organisers and Community First programmes (Nov 2012 - Feb 2015)

The evaluation will assess the delivery and social impact of both programmes, providing continuous learning and relevant insights for programme development.

Shrinking the state: analysing the reform of arm's length bodies (2012-2016)

This four year project analysed the UK Coalition Government's major reform of 'arm's length bodies' (ALBs – often called 'quangos'). Quangos are a frequent focus for public, political and media criticism, regarded as unaccountable, wasteful, and self-serving. But they are also indispensible to modern government, preventing ministers from becoming overloaded, bringing expert advice and management to complex policy issues, and undertaking regulatory and quasi-judicial tasks that need to be politically independent.

Integrated Public Service Budgets (2010 - 2011)

This research examines and establishes the costs and benefits of aligning or pooling budgets across activities, services, and organisations.

The Impact of Local Authorities Supplying Legal Services to NHS Trusts (2010)

This research, undertaken by Dr Peter Watt, examines the business case for such provision and the legal issues that arise in working in such a way.