Partnerships and collaborations

As part of a civic university, the Department of Sociological Studies is committed to ensuring that its research is both informed by, and seeks to inform, real world social problems. This two pronged approach lies at the heart of much of the work we do both as individuals within the Department and also as a team more generally.

Due to the central role of public engagement within the Department, a substantial number of our academic staff are involved in various civic engagement activities, including as trustees for non-governmental organisations and charities and also, as consultants and advisors for organisations operating in both the private and public sectors in our local region and beyond. These activities undertaken by members of our Department have led them to identify and explore issues of social significance that they have then proceeded to examine at both the theoretical and empirical level. Examples of organisations we have collaborated or engaged with include:

  • Oxfam
  • Stepping Stones Nigeria
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Rotherham Council
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital
  • Five Weirs Walk charity
  • Ofwat (The Water Services Regulation Authority)
  • Consumer Council for Water

In turn, we seek to ensure that many of the research studies we conduct also seek to inform policy and practice at local, national and international levels. We do this in the following ways:

  • Strengthening existing relationships with key research users and partners and developing new links and collaborations;
  • Ensuring that our research findings reach a diverse range of stakeholders, wide and different audiences, both nationally and internationally;
  • Developing new and innovative ways in which to disseminate our research in order to ensure that the relevant beneficiaries feel the impact.

In order to maximise the impact of the research emerging from the Department we have engaged with a wide range of non-academic user groups and beneficiaries such as regional, national and international NGOs and government agencies; charitable organisations; community organisations; commercial bodies; TV and the media; and the general public. Specific examples include the following:

  • Producing reports and participating in targeted dissemination events to change local or national practice in the UK or elsewhere or to influence policy directions.
  • Informing the strategies and approaches of commercial organisations for the purpose of improving product or service development.
  • Raising public awareness of contemporary social issues through the provision of information via: conference presentations, public lectures, dissemination events such as practitioner workshops, TV & radio appearances, the production of films, exhibitions, DVDs, social media such as Twitter and Facebook and through our regular participation in the annual ESRC Festival of Social Science.