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Open Access Developing university–society partnerships with a focus on climate change impact research using the 'business assist' model

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This article explores the experiences generated through a programme of engaged research with university–society partnerships focused on businesses, climate change impacts and environmental technologies. The programme was co-created through research and development collaborations between a university, several large organizations, including the Met Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Regen SW and IBM, and ten small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through a critically reflective narrative account and two case studies, which represent the perspectives of all involved, this article considers the processes of engagement, their effectiveness, the outcomes delivered and recommendations, as well as the context and influence of European policy – represented by the 'business assist' (BA) model – on creating engaged research. The co-creation of mutually beneficial space emerged as a key success factor, which challenged the short-term focus of the BA model.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    Research for All is supporting the 16th International conference for Public Communication of Science and Technology being held in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 26–28 May 2020. Authors of contributions presented at the conference are invited subsequently to submit papers to Research for All for a special feature on Public Communication of Science and Technology.

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