Research culture

Our world-leading reputation and research impact has been cultivated over four decades through initiating and supporting research that especially engages with pivotal economic, social and environmental issues.

We seek to develop and sustain research that is original, significant and rigorous, as indicated by various measures/criteria, while also fostering interdisciplinary, supportive research communities from which this work can grow. A supportive research culture builds capacity and stimulates innovative work at all academic levels, from graduate students up to senior staff. In the department, we therefore have a range of participatory and supportive practices that promote collaborations between students, early career researchers and senior staff, in the knowledge that these interactions generate novel ideas and help us contribute to positive social change.

A central part of our vibrant research community is the many conferences, workshops, and public events that are organised and hosted by staff and students. These not only provide opportunities to share ideas and support new projects, but also present opportunities for the professional development of our students and for engagement and interaction with a wide variety of public groups and organisations. We make ongoing contributions to a ‘public sociology’ that investigates, protects and enhances notions of the public interest in uncertain times. Our staff and students also contribute to public dialogues through blogging, media and video appearances, podcasts, and contributions on social media.

Our research also involves sustained collaboration with research users and partners, including major international bodies (EEA, European Parliament, UNESCO, UNECE, OECD, UNRISD, Convention on Biological Diversity, Interpol), national government bodies (Commission for Rural Communities, Equality and Human Rights Commission, DfT, Defra, DECC, Scottish government, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology), city governments (Manchester as an ‘experimental city’), local authorities (Lancashire County Council), public services (NW Ambulance Service), political parties (Red/Green Alliance in Denmark), major science bodies (Royal Society, NERC, Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Berlin Natural History Museum), leading corporations (Intel, Microsoft, SNCF, Genetic-ID), SMEs (especially in Chinese low carbon), art exhibitions and events (Storey/ FutureEverything, the Birth Rites Collection: Whitworth and Whitechapel Art Galleries, Institute of International Visual Arts), and NGOs (Loweswater Care Project, NSPCC, Women’s Aid, Women Against Violence Europe, Age UK, Third World Network, asylum advocacy organisations).