Introducing our Institute Academy Programme 2023-24

Discover how the Institute helps University of Nottingham staff transform research into impact through its innovative development programme

Institute Academy Programme 2023-2024 cohort stood in a courtyard smiling for a group photo The Institute Academy Programme 2023-2024 cohort

The Institute for Policy and Engagement helps Nottingham's world-leading researchers connect with public and policymakers to share insights and solve problems. In this blog, we explore one of the ways we support academics to make that transition, through our Institute Academy Programmes.

What is our Institute Academy Programme?

The Institute Academy Programmes provide tailored training opportunities for staff across the university looking to develop their policy or public engagement skills. Successful applicants receive access to carefully tailored training and networking opportunities, helping them to engage with external audiences on a local, national, and global scale to maximise the impact of their research. They are also provided with funding, financed by HEIF, for a related project, to enable them to put the skills they develop into practice.

We run three programmes a year, from October to July, with up to 5 members on each course. The courses each cover different areas and provide various levels of support to our academics. The programmes are:

  • Policy Impact Pathways Programme (PIPP) – suitable for early career researchers looking to take their first steps in engaging in policy impact. PIPP aims to introduce researchers to policy and develop an understanding on how to develop their research into a policy.
  • Policy Impact Accelerator Programme (PIAP) – suitable for mid-career researchers who have previous experience in engaging with policy and the public. PIAP aims to expand their previous knowledge, developing comprehensive skills, confidence, and knowledge of effective policy impact.
  • Civic Impact Champions Programme (CICP) – suitable for all researchers who are interested in responding to local need. CICP programme aims to increase local knowledge of regional decision making structures and build networks outside the university.

More information about the programmes is available for University of Nottingham staff via our IAP SharePoint page (internal link only).

Our 2023-24 cohort

We were thrilled to welcome 15 brilliant colleagues to the 2023-2024 cohort, bringing expertise in a range of subjects including mathematics, education, veterinary medicine, and psychology.

Our researchers are making local, national, and international impact. Each project is unique and covers a broad range of topics including:

  • creating opportunities for sex worker justice;
  • developing guidance for NICE (National Institute for Health and Car Excellence) for managing Tourettes Syndrome;
  • advising and supporting international communities in Mexico and Kenya on how to use Mezquite Prosopis (a leguminous tree) to improve nutrition and diversify livelihoods;
  • exploring sustainable food systems in the wider Nottingham area;
  • establishing cooking events and a ‘local kitchen’ for local refugee families who are waiting to be assigned permanent accommodation by the council.

We are excited to see the impact the research will create!

This year’s cohorts showcase a fantastic range of research being achieved at the university. With our guidance and funding, we’re excited to see how the research makes an impact with communities on a regional, national, and global scale.
Chris Sims, Head of Policy, and Deputy Director at the Institute.

Progress so far

The first PIPP and PIAP training event of the programme was completed in December 2023 and focused on managing stakeholder relationships and the main principles of policy impact.

The CICP headed to New Art Exchange in Hyson Green for an away day to kickstart the programme. Here they gained an overview into the civic engagement landscape, heard from guest speakers, and gained an understanding of the mechanisms that have evolved to support place-based working. The second session focused on meaningful community engagement with Pete Rodgers from Nottingham Citizens, who talked them through his organisations work and approach.

Researcher talking to colleagues

Next steps

Building on this, PIPP and PIAP 2024 will include training workshops focusing on stakeholder analysis and communications, monitoring and evaluating policy impact, and effective events to engage policy stakeholders. The programme will also include one to one support sessions, networking opportunities with current and previous cohorts, media training and a final round-off trip to London in June where we’ll meet and present to key policy maker/influencers.

CICP will feature workshops with experts in civic engagement as well as one to one consultation to develop the projects. The researchers will develop a deeper understanding of the working of local authorities through meeting relevant officials and covering devolution and place-based funding. This training will expand the researcher’s knowledge of the local communities and develop their network they can use going forward after the programme ends.

The training programmes will conclude with a summer celebration in July, reflecting on the work and lessons learned on the programmes and the impact of the research.

Over the year, we will also be sharing a series of blogs from members of this year’s cohort in which they talk about their research and projects, as well as their experiences on this year’s programme so look out for further updates soon to learn more!

Get in touch

If you have any further questions or would like to chat to one of our team regarding the Institute Academy Programmes, please email us. We would love to hear from you!