Applications are now open to participate in REALab 2016 for doctoral researchers interested in developing and deliver co-designed research projects in collaboration with non-University organisations. This fully funded opportunity is open to PhD candidates across all faculties of the University of Manchester and to doctoral researchers at cohort universities of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership – Keele University, The University of Lancaster, The University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), The University of Salford.

Successful applicants will be awarded a place on REALab’s 20-hour training programme, which provides rigorous professional training in community engagement, impact and consultancy related skills over four sessions within a collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-institutional environment (8 March-5 April). At the end of the training , teams (option of working in teams of 2 or 3 reseachers) will present their project plans to their chosen partner (26-28 April) and move to deliver their funded projects (29 April – 17 July) after partners have accepted them – for dates and training details please read more here.

Our partner organisations for 2016 are: NHS Transformation Unit, Kindling Trust, Manchester Literature Festival, Museum of Science and Industry and The Whitworth. To learn more about the application process, see our guidelines. For more information about the consultancy projects, review descriptions below.

If you are interested in participating you can email us at to receive an expression of interest form. Please send the completed form and your most recent CV to us by 2 MARCH 2016. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions! We look forward to working with you.



MOSI is currently working on a 10-year masterplan towards the development of four major new narrative galleries. The first gallery to be redeveloped will be the museum’s textiles gallery, which currently covers the key role that Manchester played in Britain’s cotton industry. The aim for the new gallery is to go beyond the traditional textiles narrative and explore the interrelated themes of industrialisation, urbanisation and technological change. In preparation for a Heritage Lottery Fund application for funding and to inform the development of new gallery content, MOSI is looking to gather a set of strong and reliable baseline data covering visitor attitudes towards the current textiles gallery. The aim of the project is to collect evidence and make recommendations about what changes need to be made and what form they should take. In particular, MOSI is interested in the museum objects, stories and interpretation methods that appeal most to visitors. Researchers will need to develop and apply a strategy to engage with visitors and evaluate their perceptions of and attitudes towards the current textile gallery and finally develop a set of recommendations which will inform the development of the new gallery. For full description visit:

NHS Transformation Unit – Evaluating the Healthier Together Programme

The Healthier Together programme is a clinically led programme aiming to improve health and care in Greater Manchester. Improvements in hospital care will see the relocation of urgent, emergency and high risk general surgery provision from 9 to 4 specialist sites across Greater Manchester with the sickest patients receiving emergency care from senior clinicians and a rapid, expert early assessment of their health needs. NHS Transformation Unit is seeking researchers to outline and conduct suitable research designs and methodologies to evaluate: 1) the process leading to full implementation of the programme and 2) the experience of patients before, during and after the reconfiguration. Researchers are asked to identify a suitable theoretical framework underpinning the evaluation programme, develop research design, data collection and data analysis and assist NHS in submitting a Research Ethics application. For full description visit:


Manchester Literature festival’s main mission is to develop public appreciation of and access to quality literature for the inhabitants of North West England and beyond, via the production of an annual festival and year round activities. As part of a broader strategy to develop their marketing capacity and brand penetration, MLF wishes to conduct a piece of research able to contextualise their presence in the broader national live literature scene and to develop a series of final recommendations on the best areas of development.  The research would involve benchmarking MLF against other literature events and festivals in Manchester, the North West and nationally, encompassing their business model, ‘offer’, pricing, marketing, audience profiles, fundraising activities and funding streams. The review will inform MLF’s business planning and future ticket pricing.  For full description visit:

KINDLING TRUST – Wired Farm Project

Kindling Trust is seeking researchers with technical expertise and communication skills in order to design, test and communicate a technical solution to respond to the challenge of inefficiencies in small scale growing. In partnership with small-scale farmers, new FarmStart growers and the new Urban Farming site in Stockport, Kindling Trust wishes to develop, test pilot and eventually roll out a technical solution able to: 1) monitor localised environmental factors (e.g. temperature and light levels), resources use (e.g. water consumption); 2) automate remote operations to help improve resource efficiencies (e.g. a grower could receive a text message if a glass house reaches a particular temperature); 3) allow the sharing of crop availability to customers; and 4) communicate by sharing raw data and records and utilising webcams and time-lapse photography. The project aims at the construction of a working prototype that can be tested over a whole growing season and at a method of communicating how to use the equipment to growers. For full description visit:

THE WHITWORTH – Evaluating Anya Gallacio’s Commission

In summer 2016 the Whitworth will realise an important new sculpture by Anya Gallaccio in Whitworth Park. As part of this project, they wish to evaluate both the artistic and the social outcomes of the commission. The commission aims to place the Whitworth as a centre of excellence for the development of projects and events that explore the synergy between the arts and environment within the urban context. The aim is to build a better connection between the gallery, the park and the surrounding communities. The Whitworth has committed to developing a sculptural work that takes full advantage of the museum’s unique location, as a gallery in the park, surrounded by some of the most economically deprived communities nationally. The aim of the project is to develop quantitative and qualitative research and a final summative evaluation of the sculpture’s impact and it shall be able to relate to the Whitworth’s public engagement programmes and diversity of audiences and the funders’ requirements in reporting. For full description visit:

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