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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

(Names of category A staff selected and category C staff are in bold, others are underlined)

The Faculty of the Built Environment (FBE) aims to combine academic excellence with relevance to policy and user communities at local, national and international levels. The objectives set out in 1996 were ‘To establish the Faculty as a leading internationally recognised planning and urban studies research centre by 2000……by developing an active research culture through the encouragement of team work, deepening research skills, diversifying and enlarging external funding, maintaining linkage to teaching and practice, increasing publication rates, and expanding international comparative work’. In 1996 four areas for research concentration were identified: Cities and Urban Management; Housing Policy, Practice and Design; Sustainable Development; and Comparative Spatial Planning. In 1997 a new research strategy was put in place of which the key element was the creation of three University-recognised research centres:

§ The Centre for Environment and Planning (CEP) – Director, Vincent Nadin: 10 declared staff, 6 RAs, draws together work under the themes of European Spatial Development, and Sustainable Development and Planning.

§ The Cities Research Centre (CRC) – Director, Professor Murray Stewart: 14 declared staff, 6 RAs, integrates work on the themes of Urban Policy (regeneration and social exclusion), Urban Governance, Housing and Property Studies.

§ The World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities and Urban Policy (WHO Centre) - Director, Professor Colin Fudge: 2 declared staff, 2 RAs, examines the health, housing and sustainability implications of urban policy.

This submission offers a self-assessment of the research activities of these three Centres. It provides evidence of the achievement of the 1996 objectives:

§ Research Contracts - external funding rising from £254,000 in 1996/97 to £694,000 in 1999/2000, with resources won from 24 different funding sources. External research income attributable to declared staff amounted to £27,200 per head in 1999/2000, and to £89,900 per head over the assessment period.

§ Staffing - 26 staff (25.5 FTE) now declared active compared to 19 in 1996; 14 contract research staff (12.9 FTE) compared to 3 in 1996.

§ Publication and Dissemination – 103 publications entered in the RAE from 26 staff; also 130 other international conference papers (an average of 5.0 per declared member of staff), 114 UK conference papers, and a series of Occasional and Working papers (6 OPs, 53 WPs) generated by research in progress.

§ Peer-group Recognition, Competitive Success and Collaborative Working - success in competitive bidding, including four ESRC awards, (two under the Cities: Competitiveness and Cohesion Programme), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) awards, major DETR projects, extensive EU funding. Over half of our funded research is now undertaken collaboratively.

§ Impact on Academic Debate – contributions to national and international discourse on urban governance, sustainable development, urban policy, comparative planning, interorganisational collaboration, and social housing. The Faculty has created the European Urban Research Association (with members in 24 countries).

§ Engagement with Policy and Practice – major inputs to European policy (sustainable development, spatial planning, City of Tomorrow); to UK national policy (social exclusion, area-based initiatives, joined up working, local government modernisation); and to practice (statutory planning, sustainable settlements, urban design, regeneration, partnership working).

5.1 RESEARCH STRUCTURES AND SUPPORT

5.2.1 University support for research is evident in the formal designation of a number of University Research Centres, strengthening of the University Research Committee under the Chair of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, devolution to faculties of research student management functions, creation of a research staff career structure, and the introduction of a university-wide training framework for research students and staff (including sessions on student-supervisor relationships, research methods, intellectual property, examination processes, writing up, presentation skills). Central University support also comes through a strengthened Centre for Research, Innovation and Industry, including a dedicated Research Bid Support Team. UWE has given full institutional commitment to the Research Concordat and EPSRC Research Framework Agreement. The University’s new five-year strategy 2001-2005 commits the University to an expansion of research effort and the enhancement of scholarship.

5.2.2 The Faculty of the Built Environment has benefited from these University policies. All three Faculty Research Centres have been recognised as University Research Centres. Material support came in the form of a £350,000 research allocation from HEFCE Non-Formula Funding over the four year period 1997/98 -2000/01. Reinforcement of a research culture within FBE is reflected in the leadership of a research active Dean (Professor Colin Fudge), and an Associate Dean for Research (Professor Robin Hambleton). A Faculty Research Management Committee manages strategic research planning and decision-making. A sub-committee handles publications. The Associate Dean (Research) and the Research Centre Directors meet fortnightly to discuss project planning, staffing issues, and cross-centre issues. The Director of Post-graduate Research Students - Dr. Stuart Farthing - is supported by the Research Degrees Committee (responsible for supervision, progress and training) and by the Research Students Panel (for admissions). A dedicated Research Administration Office supports bidding, financial management, personnel and dissemination activities. UWE has also shown its commitment to research in FBE by new investment in long term permanent staffing - Dr. Rob Atkinson as Senior Research Fellow (SRF) recruited in 1999, Professor Martin Symes (half-time) in 2000, and the recruitment of two further Senior Research Fellows - in Spatial Planning and in Property Studies advertised early in 2001.

5.2.3 Research Centres: Research Groupings and Organisation The three Research Centres, along with the Research Office, are co-located in adjoining accommodation. Some research students share space with research staff, whilst others have dedicated space close by. The Centres have formal monthly meetings which involve business items plus discussion of substantive research matters. Each Centre is of sufficient scale to provide managerial and intellectual support on the major research themes which form the faculty’s strategy. Professor Peter Malpass and three research Readers/SRFs (Atkinson, Greed, Lambert) support the Centre Directors in research leadership and have a 60% time allocation to research activity funded from faculty resources.

5.2.4 There is cross-centre membership and close working linkages with the FBE Construction and Property Research Centre (building, materials, construction management), with the interdisciplinary cross-faculty Bristol Group for Tourism Research, with the multi-faculty Centre for Local Democracy, (Director, Professor Hambleton), and with the Centre for Economic and Social Research (Director Professor Paul Hoggett).

5.2.5 Research planning is undertaken within and across the structures of Research Centres. Each Centre holds termly meetings to establish specific research objectives and develop forward plans. Importantly a system of Personal Research Planning was introduced in 1997 to run in parallel with the established UWE Staff Appraisal Scheme. Staff prepare personal statements of their current and future research activities - and associated publications - for discussion with a senior colleague. This mentor system also encourages staff to compete in an annual process for Small Research Grants. (48 grants averaging £3000 have been awarded since 1997 encouraging the less research active staff to develop ideas and activity in preferred fields), and for Time for Writing periods (71 awards have bought out staff for periods of up to six weeks from teaching or contract research commitments). These awards have enabled staff to focus on specific research tasks for fixed periods, have encouraged personal initiatives within a strategic framework, and have proved effective in lifting the research output of staff who carry heavy teaching loads and other responsibilities. As a direct result of these policies have come outputs from Barton, Smith, Taylor and Wyatt (see RA2) from Garnett, Manley and Shaftoe (See RA6c) and from Grimshaw, L., and Robbins (see RA5 below)

5.2.6 Research Seminars. Each of the three Research Centres organises a seminar series, and since 1997 there have been 56 research seminars in the faculty involving external research speakers and/or internal presentations discussing research work. There are additionally cross-centre research workshops involving internal and external presenters, and regular international lectures involving scholars from overseas as well as postgraduate research student seminars and workshops.

5.2.7 Visiting Academics: In addition to UK-based visiting fellows, Josef Konvitz (Head of Territorial Development, OECD), Les Sparks (formerly Director of Planning and Architecture at Birmingham City Council), and David Cadman (Property Market Analysis; Environmental Governance) are Visiting Professors. Additionally Hank Savitch (University of Louisville), Christine Cheyne (Massey University NZ), Alex Norman (University of California USA), Tom Fookes (Auckland University) and William Peterman (Chicago State) have been International Visiting Scholars. Visiting International Lectures have been given by Franklin Apfel (WHO Copenhagen), Gerhard Banner (Speyer), Nevin Brown (Education Trust, Washington DC), Alan DiGaetano (City University New York), Andreas Faludi and Barrie Needham (University of Nijmegen), Dafna Fischer (Technion, Haifa), Robert Freestone (University of New South Wales), Jill Gross (City University New York), Christian Khomenko (Tashkent); C.Y. Leung (Hong Kong Government), Peter Meyer (University of Louisville), David Miles (DG Research EC), Christian Paterman (DG Research), Alberto Pratelli (University of Bologna), and Agis Tsouros (WHO).

5.2 POST-GRADUATE RESEARCH

Research students supervised by declared staff rose from 20 in 1996 (full and part-time headcount) to 27 by 2000. In 1999 FBE successfully bid for full ESRC research studentship recognition (full and part-time Mode A and CASE). A CASE studentship was awarded in early 2001. The MSc Built Environment Research was recognised as a Research Training Masters. Growth in research students since 1996 has been supported through the award of 13 Faculty studentships (channelled through research centres), and through the development of the training programme validated in 1999 by ESRC. Research student recruitment and supervision is now integrated into research centre activity with student seminars and presentations, for example, incorporated into centre programmes. The encouragement for post-graduate research activity is now beginning to be reflected in MPhil and PhD completions. Of the 9 successful completions in FBE 1996-2000, 6 occurred in 1999-2000. As a consequence but also reflecting stricter recruitment practices, overall numbers were reduced from a peak of 31 in 1999 and the intention is to maintain a plateau of numbers at 25-30 for the longer term.

5.3 STAFFING POLICY AND PRACTICE

Staff Development: In 1998 UWE created a career structure for researchers with research staff grades now ranging from research assistant up to professorial level. There are formal systems for staff appraisal, training and development, and career progression, as well as clear procedures for contract review and renewal. Eleven contract staff recruited in the last three years have had extensions to their contracts; four have been upgraded within the new research grade structure.

FBE has set out to supplement University procedures through:

§ Putting in place strong research leadership through Centre Directors and Readers to support staff development, to generate resources, and undertake strategic forward planning.

§ Increasing the proportion of existing ‘teaching’ staff who are research active by mentoring and supporting their engagement with contract research projects.

§ Applying all Faculty staff development initiatives equally to contract researchers as to others (e.g. staff development budgets, travel funding, Time to Write, Small Research Grants).

5.4 YOUNG RESEARCHERS

A central feature of our 1996-2000 strategy has been the emergence of ‘new/young’ researchers, a direct consequence of policies of attracting funds, providing strong leadership and offering internal support. There are now 14 RAs on short-term contracts, 12 recruited in the last two and a half years. Their outputs often take the form of conference papers, are seen in joint reports from projects on which they work, or are written in conjunction with more experienced researchers. Between them they have 17 articles/chapters, 28 international conference papers, and 23 national conference papers. Pauli has been seconded to the EU DG Environment and Robbins has won an Urban Fellowship at John Hopkins University, Baltimore in 2000/01. Additionally, 3 newer staff (Fischer, Purdue, Smith) are declared in the RAE return.

5.6 RESEARCH GROUPS AND RESEARCH ACTIVITY

The Faculty sustains a research environment which continues to support individual research. The work of Claydon (development control and negotiations), Hathway and O’Doherty (transport and planning), Greed (the role of women in planning, development and construction), Taylor (the philosophy of planning), and Scrase (planning history and planning law) explore issues of planning theory and practice. The main development in the period 1996-2000, however, has been the growth of research funding and the emergence of significant research groups. Overlapping groups are built around the faculty Research Centres and focus on two major and two minor research areas.

5.6.1 Group A - Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development

In 1996 work was in progress on EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies (Nadin). This provided a platform for continuing research on comparative planning and environmental management systems, and/or addressing the methodological issues associated with cross-national research. Farthing (ed. 2000) led a collaborative study with University of Tours on Spatial Planning and Urban Development in the Atlantic Periphery. Fischer has published on comparative environmental management. Oatley, Lambert and Smith have located their ‘edge city growth’ research (on Bristol and Swindon) in a comparative context through work with the University of Nijmegen as well as through a CNRS cross-national network run from UWE. Nadin has led a study of Comparative Environmental Planning Systems in seven countries for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and is updating work on planning control in Western Europe for the DETR. Barton is working with the Environment Agency to develop new ways of assessing environmental capacity.
Parallel research on European sustainability policy has involved close working with the EU Expert Group on the Urban Environment and the European Commission, notably through the preparation of the European Sustainable Cities Report (Fudge 1996), the 1997 and 1998 Urban Communications, and the 1998 Urban Forum. The accent has been on understanding the meaning of sustainability and its implications for sectoral policy-making and implementation. Projects have investigated implementation - Implementing Sustainable Futures in Sweden (Fudge and Rowe 2000) funded by the Swedish Research Foundation and Building Research Council; Sustainability and Local Agenda 21: European Implementation Models, funded by DG Environment; the European Good Practice Information Service: Local Sustainability, funded by DG Environment; and SPECTRA: Sustainability, Development and Spatial Planning (described below).

A second sustainability strand of research focuses on planning and design policies for the implementation and appraisal of sustainable futures. Research on Sustainable Settlements (Barton, Davies and Guise 1995; Farthing 1996, 1997), has been taken forward in the Forest of Dean Residential Design Guide (Hathway and Barton 1999), in Greed’s work on access and public lavatories; in the Sustainability Appraisal of Regional Planning Guidance (Nadin for DETR), and most importantly in a world wide survey of eco-neighbourhoods, and the subsequent publication of Sustainable Communities: the Potential for Eco-Neighbourhoods (Barton et al 2000). Related work on sustainability includes preparation of the DETR Good Practice Guide on Sustainable Regeneration (Rogers and Stewart 1998), and Rowe’s research supported by Avon TEC and Business Link West on the environmental performance of small business (Rowe 2000a, b). The RTPI has commissioned work on sustainability in the national curriculum (Claydon, Antrobus), there is an emerging strand of work on urban/rural relationships (Shorten and Nadin for the West of England Partnership) and on the role of planning in rural diversification (Shorten, Antrobus, Seaton for the Welsh Assembly). The WHO Centre has been involved with other WHO Collaborating Centres across Europe, contributing to a series of WHO publications on Health, Sustainability and Local Agenda 21 (Harrison and Daniels 1998, Harrison and Barton 1998) and taking the lead in the research for and production of Healthy Urban Planning (Barton ed. 2000) presented at and refereed by an international WHO seminar in Milan 1999.

These comparative planning, sustainable development, and planning and design strands have been linked to create a major integrated research group. Research on Sustainability, Development and Spatial Planning: SPECTRA, (Nadin, Brown, Duhr), funded by the EU Fourth Framework compares practice in seven countries. Other cross-national projects have followed - the Study of Marine EcoTourism in the Atlantic Area, funded by the Interreg initiative; Local Authority EMAS funded under LIFE II (with IDeA and Eurocities); the Assessment of Indirect and Cumulative Impacts within EIA; ELTIS - European Local Transport Information Service funded by DG Transport (with others); and TEMOL Interactive funded by DG Energy. This stream of comparative European research has now developed into a programme of work on European integration and transnational planning. This began with small-scale studies funded by FBE and the English Regional Associations on the Implementation of Interreg IIc in the UK (Nadin and Shaw 1998) and continued with a major comparative study of The Role and Operation of Transnational Planning Management Structures funded by DG Regional Policy and Kent CC (Nadin and Brown 2000), also building on Brown’s research on Cross-Border Planning in Europe. Subsequently the DETR commissioned a major study on Subsidiarity and Proportionality in European Spatial Planning (Nadin 1999). UWE has also played a part in the special study European Spatial Planning and the ESPRIN network.
The cumulative effect of these projects is a strongly enhanced capability in cross-national research methods, detailed knowledge of the impact of European integration on spatial development and planning, and close links with a network of research colleagues across Europe. As a result the Centre for Environment and Planning has led a multinational team providing technical assistance to seven European governments in the preparation of The Spatial Vision for North-West Europe. The research has also been used to provide advice to the EU Expert Group on the Urban Environment, the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the DETR.

5.6.2 Group B - Urban Policy and Governance

Projects within the Cities Research Centre – including those funded under the ESRC Cities Competition and Cohesion Programme and major DETR commissioned work on cross-cutting issues and area-based initiatives - have drawn together in one research group separate strands of work on leadership, joined-up working, modernisation, exclusion, and regeneration.

Within an Urban Leadership strand Hambleton, Stewart and Sweeting (with Strathclyde Graduate Business School) have examined the role and functioning of strategic leaders (in the ESRC Leadership in Urban Governance project). A parallel JRF-funded project - Community Leadership in Area Regeneration (Purdue, Razzaque, Hambleton, Stewart , 2000) - looked at community ‘leaders’ - members of regeneration partnerships caught between the representative demands of local residents and the bureaucratic requirements of regeneration practice. Hambleton has researched The Overseas Experience with Management in Local Government (for The Scottish Office) looking at alternative models of mayoral leadership with special relevance to the emergence of UK policies on local political leadership. Leadership research has led to 12 working papers and 10 international conference papers (e.g. to five successive International Workshops on Strategic Alliance and Collaboration 1996-2001, to the International Sociological Association Toronto 1999, the European Consortium on Political Research, the CNRS Metropolis in Crisis conference in La Rochelle 1997 and to a CNRS conference on leadership in Bordeaux, autumn 2000).

A second theme has been that of 'Joined-up Working' - partnership, collaboration and co-ordination. This emerged initially in the Hambleton/Razzaque JRF-funded research on The Collaborative Council (1996), and in Freedom within Boundaries for LGMB (1996). It was taken forward in a major DETR study on Cross-cutting Issues Affecting Local Government - Stewart, Rowe and Shaftoe (1999), joint with the Office for Public Management (OPM), and is further pursued in the DETR funded Co-ordination of Area-based Initiatives (Stewart, Grimshaw L., and May) led by Stewart with the University of Newcastle and OPM. Two published DETR Working Papers have examined the operation and impact of the government’s many ‘zone’ initiatives. In terms of international visibility UWE joined Bath, Strathclyde and Leeds Universities in a multi-disciplinary symposium on collaboration at the 2000 Toronto US Academy of Management conference.

Within a related stream on Local Government Modernisation there has been research on political and managerial leadership in local government – Hambleton on the elected mayor and council manager models (projects for DETR, LGA, IDeA, and SOLACE with 3 international conference papers to the US Urban Affairs Association). Sweeting has researched the scrutiny function in Bristol (City Council funded). Rowe, Sweeting, O'Doherty have examined democratic innovation in local government, whilst Purdue, Razzaque and Antrobus are collaborating with Strathclyde University on a project on civic organisations within the ESRC Democracy and Constitutional Change programme. This builds on research by Purdue and O'Doherty on the role of local exchange trading and of social movements in informal economic activity. Other research – for the South West RDA (SWRDA) and within the ESRC Cities programme has begun to explore the new regional governance.

Social Exclusion is addressed in Atkinson's several contributions to the European debate on welfare and exclusion (1999 and 2000), in Griffiths’ edited volume (1998) on exclusion (out of an ESRC seminar series), and in Stewart’s commissioned overview of Local Action to Counter Social Exclusion for the Government’s PAT 17 Team (published in their Evidence Base Volume). Locally Carlton, Taylor, and Stewart have carried out research on the need for advice, information and representation in disadvantaged communities, which complements Greed’s work on exclusion in planning. Atkinson leads a current major project examining patterns of social exclusion in Plymouth.

Within a Regeneration stream, research on competition and contracting was explored in terms of the increasing institutionalisation of competitive urban policy, generating articles (Stewart, Oatley), and an edited volume (10 out of 12 chapters by UWE staff) which explored theoretical and applied aspects of competition and urban policy (Oatley ed.1998). Griffiths (1998) and Smith (2000) have published on cultural regeneration out of the ESRC Bristol Integrated City project. There has also been a growing programme of work on evaluation. Research projects include The Hartcliffe Regeneration Study for Bristol City Council/Housing Corporation (Lambert, Malpass, Stewart); IRIS and Net-Work South Bristol (two evaluations of community initiatives both by Grimshaw L.), an evaluation of YOUR (an SRB youth scheme), and, jointly with the University of Bristol, Bridging the Gap - an evaluation of a Single Regeneration Budget scheme to support the long term unemployed. Stewart and Grimshaw L. are working for Barnsley Council on an evaluation framework for The Kendray Initiative. Atkinson has been appointed as evaluation research manager to Hackney’s regeneration programmes. Stewart is researching a Building Communities regeneration initiative for the SWRDA.

5.6.3 Group C – Housing, Neighbourhood and Community

Malpass has continued to research the history of Housing Associations, funded by eight separate associations over the assessment period, and has produced 6 published reports and 2 journal articles, culminating in a major book on the role of social housing in contemporary housing policy (Malpass 2000). This work continues with a history of Habinteg to be published later in 2001 and an ESRC (CASE) studentship for research on the governance of housing since 1935. But emphasis has also been given to research on the relationship between housing and other sectors. This is illustrated by work on Housing, Planning and Development - Malpass, Farthing and Lambert (for the Housing Corporation 1996), Lambert, Malpass and Stewart in the Hartcliffe study (see above), Lambert on urban capacity (for GOSW 1998/99), and Lambert again in contributions to the ESRC/Borough Council funded study of Swindon (1997). The relationship between Housing and Health has been the focus for work on planning and housing within the WHO Centre, on housing allocations and health where Health and Housing in Eastleigh (Malpass and Carlton funded by the Housing Corporation) evaluates the role of social sector housing interventions aiming to secure health gain, and on Landlords and Elder Abuse (an Anchor Housing supported project, joint with University of Bristol). The work of this group, however, is increasingly focussed on Neighbourhoods and Community. An EU Framework 5 project on Sustainable Neighbourhoods (HQE2R) involving 8 cities (Symes and Robbins) builds on the Eco-Neighbourhoods work of Barton (see 5.5.1 above) to focus on neighbourhood management and change. There are close links with neighbourhood regeneration (Hartcliffe and Kendray, see above). Complementary research on Community-based Waste Minimisation (Rowe and Robbins) linking technical aspects of waste management with principles of community participation, has been funded by the BOC Foundation, whilst community involvement in housing choices was the focus for research on minority ethnic housing (Razzaque and Lambert 1997 for Aashyana Housing). Symes has also published the results of ESRC funded research (with Karn whilst at Manchester) on minority ethnic housing.

5.6.4 Group D - Property Studies and Conservation

A general contribution to the developing field of Facilities Management (Grimshaw R.’s publications) has been complemented by more particular work on managing the built cultural heritage. Initiated by research involving the development of a 3D computer generated model of the Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces Agency funded), research now addresses the use of web-based multi-media models for managing the built environment cultural heritage (Worthing, Counsell), for recording historic townscapes (Counsell, Scrase, Brkljac), and historic gardens (Counsell). Two recently awarded UWE-led projects within the Framework 5 IST programme (Digital and Cultural Heritage) further reinforce this work. VIRTUAL (Grimshaw, R., Brkjlac) involves research on prototypes in virtual historic archives, whilst VALHALLA (Counsell) is a collaborative project with the Gardeners’ Exchange Trust and SCI Villandry on remote accessing historic gardens. This work has been complemented by research on maintenance management systems for heritage buildings (RICS funded - Worthing), by cross-national research to reconcile the maintenance of historically important fabric with the demands of visitor management (Worthing) and conservation law (Scrase). The 5 country EU Framework 5 IANUS (Indicator systems to Assess Urban Services project) (Symes) aiming to ‘improve municipal decision making in relation to buildings and services’ reinforces this research. The use of information technology in property research is further developed by Wyatt’s RICS funded research on the influence of location on commercial property values using regression analysis and GIS to isolate key locational variables. Wyatt's RICS 2000 Cutting Edge Conference 'Best Paper' award (published in 2001) has led to further ISVA funded research in a Europe wide study.


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Last updated 17 October 2003

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