2 September 2014 10:26

Health researchers at Lancaster University are taking part in a £1.35 million study into issues facing the Armed Forces.

Lancaster University’s Dr Sabir Giga will lead a study which aims to explore the experiences of British Army reservists. It includes an analysis of their positive and negative interactions in regard to army employment, civilian employment and home lives, as well as the attitudes and perceptions of their civilian employers, regulars and significant others. This study will engage with reservists as well as their families, employers and regular service colleagues in order to explore the issues critical for their successful recruitment and deployment.

Lancaster is one of four universities – including Edinburgh, Exeter and Newcastle – selected by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to undertake individual research projects to help inform some of the pressing issues facing the Armed Forces in the process of integrating Regular and Reserve components into a ‘Whole Force’ structure.

The research is being undertaken in collaboration with the British Army and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and will help to identify, explain and understand the cultural, social and economic issues that impact on both Regular and Reserve personnel and to identify additional external factors which may have an influence on the successful integration.

Lancaster's Dr Sabir Giga said: “There are many challenges faced by the MOD as well as employers in general in recruiting and integrating ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ staff. Our research aims to explore the multiple and often competing demands faced by reservists relating to their army, civilian employment and family roles.”

Major General Kevin Abraham, Director General Army Reform, who commissioned the work said: “This partnered research project is an important piece of work that will contribute towards the shaping of decisions and policy affecting the Reserves for years to come.”

The four studies are:

  • The Role of Army Reservists: An Analysis of their Experiences and the Attitudes and Perceptions of Civilian Employers, Regulars and Significant Others based at Lancaster University, led by Dr Sabir Giga.
  • Keeping enough in reserve: the employment of hybrid citizen-soldiers and the Future Reserves 2020 programme based at Newcastle University, led by Professor Rachel Woodward
  • Negotiating civilian and military lives: Reserves, family and work based at the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley
  • Sustaining Future Reserves 2020: Assessing Organizational Commitment in the Reserves based at University of Exeter, led by Dr Sergio Catignani

The research projects will also have a wider remit, as some of the issues to be addressed are not unique to the Armed Forces it is hoped that the outcomes will help address similar circumstances outside of the military, for example understanding the implications for families where one member may be absent for a long period of time due to professional duties.

The projects will start from September 2014 and the research will be conducted over the next three years.