|About the Networks|
the DCLG Research Networks
Responding to the need for better evidence-based policy making, DCLG is establishing four major research networks to provide links to the research community beyond Government in order to help identify research priorities and contribute to the development of research capacity. The networks all have external co-ordinators, who, together with DCLG, are responsible for bringing together key researchers in academia, other research organisations and research sponsors.
Four networks have been established:
Planning Research Network
Coordinator: Professor Simin Davoudi
Urban and Neighbourhood Studies
Coordinator: Professor Michael Keith
Coordinator: Professor Roger Burrows
Local and Regional Governance
Coordinator: Professor Tony Bovaird
Coordinator: Professor Steve Martin
The networks promote the use of evidence to support policy and practice. This is achieved by helping policy-makers to access the evidence base, current ideas and innovative thinking to ensure the development of effective policy and delivery mechanisms. They aim to provide the links and fora to enable policy makers and academics to share ideas and learn from each other so that advances in research are incorporated into policy-thinking and increase the understanding of the context in which policies operate.
The networks will bring the latest developments and thinking to policy makers through seminars and discussion papers on key issues. Network members and policy-makers are able to engage directly over specific issues and to use the networks as sounding-boards.
The Networks have a variety of functions:
Policy and Research Seminars - to disseminate knowledge from new research to policy-makers and facilitate a shared understanding of research outcomes and implications for policy and practice. Seminars will also explore more strategic, long-term research issues involving academics from the UK and abroad.
Research Programme Development - giving advice on the strategic development of, and priorities for, the DCLG's research programmes.
Think Tank - acting as sounding-boards to allow analysts, researchers and policy-makers to get feedback and advice on key issues around urban futures, strategic research and policy issues.
Signpost Research - to track and assess the implications of new research for DCLG's agenda.
Research Capacity Development - encouraging the development of future research capacity by recognising the achievement of young researchers, influencing the agenda of other research funders and raising awareness of and access to strategic and policy-oriented research within government and the academic community, encouraging the investment in knowledge and sharing of information.
Function of the Planning Research Network
The Planning Research Network will:
Provide advice on key planning issues
Participate in research and policy seminars, one of which will focus on identifying planning research priorities for DCLG research programme
Track and assess new planning research and its implications for the policy agenda
Develop research capacity and visibility
Raise awareness of and access to planning research by improved dissemination.
Co-ordinating the Network
The DCLG PRN is co-ordinated by Prof. Simin Davoudi based at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University.
Role of the Co-ordinator
Facilitate dialogue between the Network and DCLG
Galvanise a dynamic and inclusive forum for debate
Facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience among planning researchers, policy makers and practitioners
Enhance the Network's productivity by effective management and communication
Maintain a high level of dynamism and active participation.
20-30 members have been drawn from academia, 'stakeholders' and other interest groups and will be based on a balanced representation of:
Different areas of planning research
Different types of planning research organisations and networks
Knowledge and expertise.
The membership will 'evolve' to ensure a wide cross-section of interest and will cover:
Academic centres of planning research in the UK
Planning consultancy firms
Outstanding planning experts (including international expertise)
Major planning research funding bodies (e.g. ESRC, NERC, EPSRC)
Links to existing key planning networks in the UK (e.g. RTPI, POS. TCPA, RICS) and possibly in Europe (e.g. AESOP, ESPON).
A nesting approach to membership has been adopted as follows: a small Management Board, the core PRN members and a wider supporting group with more flexible membership.
The key responsibilities of the core Network members include:
Providing expert advice on planning research and policy
Representing planning research centres, networks or organisations
Acting as referral points for access to knowledge and experts in particular areas
Signposting research to DCLG and assessing implications for planning policy agenda.
The key purpose of maintaining a larger supporting group (mostly virtual) is to have a wider base for:
Consultation when required
Setting up ad hoc task groups to respond to specific policy and research issues
Awareness raising and dissemination. Means of communication are primarily through Email and via a Web-based discussion forum using a dedicated PRN website.
Events and Activities
Influencing and keeping stakeholders informed
Identifying research priorities
Internet-based consultation on new planning research and policy
Periodic literature and web search to identify new planning research
Dissemination through PRN website, conferences and journals
Selection of the best paper by young researchers and prize award
Policy and research seminars
One annual seminar in October in London focusing on forthcoming DCLG research programmes
All seminars involve the core PRN members and DCLG officials as well as other experts who will be invited (as appropriate) to contribute to the debate about a particular planning policy and research area. Seminars are seen as 'projects' and structured around a focused agenda so that a clear outcome is achieved.
We are currently planning the Network's initial activities. To express an interest, propose seminar topics or simply get further details about the Network, please contact:
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)191 246 4884