by Claudia Carter
I have been interested in researching climate change ever since the first IPPC report was published and introduced in my Geography class at the University of Aberdeen by Professor Chalmers Clapperton all those 24 years ago. So here is a second blog on the topic following my recent blog inspired by the People’s Climate March that took place 21 September 2014. A week on, my attention turns to the just published October issue of the interdisciplinary journal Environmental Values which uncovers some of the thornier and neglected issues of climate change. My task as an associate editor was to introduce this issue and downloading the Editorial is free. The whole issue is an interesting read and this blog just picks up a few of the ideas and issues that stood out for me and made me reflect.
Reading Gael Plumecocq’s[i] article highlighted for me the role of emotions as a trigger to changing behaviour and attitudes. If we feel passionate about something and think about what is really at stake, we are likely to change our behaviour and quite possibly aim to influence policies. Related to this, if we can influence politicians’ emotions through actual or virtual experiences of specific case studies and situations, then this may be more effective than simply casting a vote every few years. The emerging dramatic climate change impacts are as much about emotional and ethical pertinence as they are about physical processes and political challenges. Continue reading Environmental Values and Climate Change: New perspectives and challenges
by Claudia Carter
Our journey researching the rural-urban fringe is now published as an open access article in Progress in Planning 83: 1-52.
As in industry, the field of small to medium-sized research entities is different to that of the mega-million pound projects. Big research programmes often have (science) communication and other specialised experts to hand to help shape high impact outputs and to support knowledge exchange activities. With smaller grants the principal and co-investigators often need to fulfil a larger range of functions themselves; including working at times outside of one’s usual comfort zone. The project completed under the recently finished RELU programme on ‘Managing Environmental Change at the Fringe: Reconnecting Science and Policy with the Rural-Urban Fringe’ was no exception. The project team consisting of a handful of academic researchers and 10 practitioners and policy-makers were awarded just over £150,000 to work together on the rural-urban fringe and developing novel lenses by exploring the fusion of core themes in Spatial Planning with principles of the Ecosystem Approach. The research project journey has just been published in Progress in Planning – a 30,000 word guided tour from project rationale to practice-relevant outputs and planning theory. This journal provides an outlet for multi-disciplinary work relating to spatial and environmental planning in the form of monographs, with an impact factor of 1.750.
So, here is a 900-word quick guide through the rural-urban fringe project work without too many spoilers. Continue reading From Co-Production to Performative Knowledge Exchange
by Peter Larkham
Mark Reed makes some provocative statements about academics, research, excellence and impact. He is quite right to emphasise these points at a time when the academic world is changing fast. We need to be flexible and change, too. All academics worth their salary would agree that we need to demonstrate the highest possible standards in research quality output, research impact, and teaching. But not all excel at all three.
Research quality output: this is the older yardstick by which researchers are measured. Even so, it seems strangely difficult to secure sound and shared assessments of quality; in fact it sometimes seems to depend how an assessor was feeling that morning. This gives us some concern when we think about how the next government-driven review, the Research Excellence Framework, will review this aspect of excellence. The process lacks transparency and detailed feedback – both potentially compromise the quality of the process and its outcomes. We often feel that we can recognise value and excellence, but just what is it that distinguishes the very best – what one assessor once described as “Nobel-level”? But there aren’t Nobel prizes in the built environment! So are all disciplines assessing Continue reading Research and the Academic World