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£11m research centre to help public services cultures

Published: 16 January 2024 at 12:15

Female Scottish soldier on parade

ARU receives record funding to support organisations to respond to challenges

A new research centre which will collaborate with uniformed public service organisations to help improve inclusion and wellbeing by addressing damaging behaviours, such as misogyny and racism, will be established at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) thanks to £11.3million of funding from Research England.

Uniformed public services such as the military, police, fire, ambulance and prison services face unprecedented challenges due to increased demand, and pressures on public spending. To meet these challenges, a resilient, healthy and professional workforce culture is essential.

However, a number of recent high-profile inquiries across different organisations in the UK have uncovered examples of negative cultures and practices which threaten to undermine public confidence in those services. The centre will provide the evidence base and skilled researchers to support the UK’s uniformed public service organisations to respond effectively to these challenges, develop inclusive cultures, and build public trust.

This initiative brings together experts from ARU’s policing and military research institutes who have extensive experience and research expertise working with the sector to influence and change both policy and practice.

The £11,305,900 award is the largest research grant ever received by ARU and includes £1million of capital funding to develop a social sciences research laboratory at ARU’s Chelmsford campus, which will be part of the centre.

Matt Fossey, Professor of Public Services Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“Our vast research experience in areas such as policing, the military and health means we are in an excellent position to make a tangible difference to our uniformed public services and the communities they serve.

“This significant funding will allow us to work with colleagues from across the sector to develop new practitioner fellowship roles, identify organisational challenges and help organisations find credible, workable and sustainable solutions. The outcomes will then inform policy and practice on both a local and national level.

“ARU has a proven track record in supplying the region with uniformed public service workers, from police officers, to nurses and paramedics. It is fitting that our world-leading research can also now focus on working collaboratively across the sector to ensure that the cultures within these organisations are inclusive and welcoming to all, so they can meet the challenges they face in the modern world.”


Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, said: 

“We have invested in research units in universities right across England. This will diversify the regional spread of research disciplines to support the sustained enhancement of research capacity across England, and enhance the skills base, build and diversify talent and bring disciplines together to develop new skillsets and "future leaders” in areas of research excellence where there is untapped potential.

“Our investment will also help to reinforce the contribution of HEPs to their region through strategic local partnerships, focusing on sharing resources and infrastructure and generating local impact, backed by robust institutional leadership.

“We’re excited to see how these units develop over the next five years.”