The Young Foundation: Understanding what matters to communities and ‘what’s working’ to promote thriving communities

This internship offers the opportunity to lead research on a key area of participatory community research, and to produce outputs intended to influence policy and practice.
Stipend: £3,752 total for 3 months (3 month funding extension for ESRC students), plus expenses
Deadline for applications: 29 July 2019
About the host

The Young Foundation’s mission is to develop better connected and more sustainable communities across the UK. As a UKRI accredited Independent Research Organisation, social investor and community development practitioner, we combine all our skills and expertise, to further that mission.

Project details

Start date (or must start by): Flexible – but not before October 2019
Location: London
Mentor: Victoria Boelman, Director of Research 

The Young Foundation will be formally launching a new Institute of Community Studies in September 2019 (with a soft launch from June 2019).   Its mission is to research what matters and share what is working.  Specifically to:

  • Promote rigour and understanding about ‘what’s working?’ to support stronger, more connected and resilient communities
  • Prioritise community perspectives on ‘what matters?’ when it comes to commissioning policy and research questions;
  • Identify gaps in our collective understanding and cross-sector networks of organisations who care about taking action;
  • Give greater legitimacy to qualitative data, community expertise and perspectives as a form of evidence;
  • Direct academic research activities to areas where there is demonstrable, expressed community need and social value;
  • Disseminate findings effectively and widely as an impetus for evidence-based, demand driven action.

Over the Summer of 2019, we are co-creating a research agenda with communities and stakeholders.  From this, we will be identifying a small number of key questions to pilot our approach.  Each question will be subjected to analysis from the perspectives of:

  • What is the existing evidence on this question?
  • How is this issue experience by communities?
  • What are the main evidence gaps?

This internship offers the opportunity to lead this research on one of the priority questions.  Depending on internship timings, there may also be the opportunity to get involved with the design (and potentially delivery) of participatory community research to address some of the evidence gaps identified.

The outputs from this process will be a range of targeted communications (including digitial, community-facing, and those intended to influence policy and practice).  Support for this will be available from our communications and design team.

In addition, there are also opportunities available in the following policy areas which are of specific interest to us (subject to modification following the co-creation of our agenda):

  • Local economic resilience (including community business, social enterprise and other models)
  • Changing relationships between communities and institutions
  • Arts and culture for social change and community resilience
Skills required
  • Rapid Evidence Reviews and/ or Evidence Mapping
  • Experience of interpreting quantitative and qualitative research, including from non-academic sources
  • Understanding of standards of evidence and willingness to consider models which place greater value on community voice and lived experience
  • Interest in community-led/ participatory research
  • Interest in research for policy and practice.

View/download project details

Further information

All internships are paid positions (commensurate with Research Council doctoral stipend levels) and are normally full time, although part time working can be considered.

You will pause your PhD work for the duration of the internship and will receive an extension at the end of your research period. Students can claim up to a maximum of £2,400 (for a 3 month internship) to cover all reasonable travel and accommodation costs for the period of the internship. For example, commuting or relocation costs.

Internships are open to Social Science PhD students in Scotland regardless of funding. Please note that students with Tier 4 visas are not eligible to apply for full-time internships. 

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