09 May 2023

The value of partnership working

View from the South West

My PhD research with farmer and land manager groups across England demonstrated the value of collaborative environmental management, and it is exciting to have the opportunity to explore partnership working in new areas in my role at NICRE, writes Aimee Morse, Research Assistant.

Although I am still a relatively new addition to the NICRE team, having joined as a Research Assistant in January, I have supported the Centre’s work for a couple of years now while completing my PhD at its founding university partner the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI). I facilitated the regular Resilient Rural Reading Group in 2021/2022 with Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, and subsequently convened a session on rural resilience at the 2022 Royal Geographical Society’s Annual Conference. I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue developing some of the themes we discussed during those sessions, such as knowledge exchange networks and spatial justice, with communities, businesses and other local stakeholders in the South West.

Rural innovation – at home and in Europe

Over the last few months, I have seen first-hand the fantastic collaborations in which NICRE is involved. I’ve learnt more about the innovation projects NICRE supports, such as recent work together with the Gloucestershire Food and Farming Partnership to explore the potential for a Dynamic Food Procurement System in the Marches region. I am looking forward to working with colleagues to develop modules for NICRE’s innovation portal, which features case studies alongside research evidence of different areas of rural innovation.

In addition to my work with NICRE, I am working on RUSTIK, a Horizon Europe project, with the CCRI. RUSTIK is exploring socioeconomic, environmental and digital transitions in 14 pilot regions across Europe, including Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire in the UK. The project employs an action-oriented, multi-actor approach to researching rural diversity and societal transformations using Living Labs in each of the pilot regions. Representatives from each of the Living Labs met for the first time in February at a kick-off meeting in Osona, a pilot region in Spain - Bryonny and I are pictured at the event. I look forward to learning more about European local communities' innovative approaches to societal transformation and sharing knowledge on good practices that can be applied to my work in the South West at NICRE.