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Table 3 Approaches to research identified by stakeholders involved in the case study development

From: A systems approach to the exploration of research activity and relationships within a local authority

Approaches to facilitate research activities within local authority teams/departments Strengths and challenges associated with these approaches described
Project-based research–practice partnerships between the Council and universities Brings access to academic expertise and advice
Exposure to new ways of working that support skills development and capacity-building
Brings credibility that can improve buy-in from internal and external stakeholders
Can bring in external funding
Good communication and relationships are needed
Short-term nature of projects can be a challenge to long-term planning
Leveraging existing connections to establish working relationships and interagency partnership in response to shared needs or concerns (e.g. response to COVID-19) Mutually beneficial research collaboration in which all partners, services and wider stakeholders gain
Established connections are key to initiating new collaborative projects rapidly
Engagement in collaborative work strengthens relationships and increases opportunities for ongoing or future collaborations
Evolving models of collaborative working (e.g. joint funding of research, commissioning research, providing data, interventions or participants for external research, collaborative/co-developed research) Shifting model as relationships are built and embedded
Shifting model as individual and organizational capacity to engage in research is built and embedded
Differing models allow flexibility and adaptation to the needs of specific projects
Departments where research culture is established and embedded and/or staff and teams are research-ready or research-active Provides a level of autonomy that allows flexibility to take opportunities
Challenges include being restricted by time scales, budgets and other work commitments
Relies on proactive efforts of staff in looking for opportunities to do research, bring in external funding and develop partnerships
Brings skill sets for research
Brings connections for research
Engagement between departments, including formal and informal arrangements for fixed shared posts or resource across departments Helps build relationships
Improves sharing of insights, learning and resources
Improves internal network
Builds capacity and skills
Builds confidence around joint working
Dedicated research staff within departments or the organization Central support to facilitate research, training and capacity-building
Develops and embeds a culture of valuing and using insight and evidence for research
Central role helps to understand and align research with longer-term strategies
Ensure research and collaborations are practical and meaningful to the Council and stakeholders
Collaboration platform Having agreed platform facilitates processes in setting up collaborations and auditing, and overcomes some of the challenges in setting up contractual arrangements and procurement