Environment and Society Research Centre

Based at Birmingham City University, the Environment and Society Research Centre was founded in 2009.  It draws largely on the former Strategic Development Research Unit, launched in late 2005 to draw together research strengths in the broad fields within the School of Property,Construction and Planning and related expertise elsewhere within the University.

For more information on "strategic development" and on our activities, visit our about pages, or contact us for further information.

PhD Bursaries available

Up to 5 full-time PhD bursaries are available in the new Environment and Society Reseatch Centre.   

To build on our existing interests we are seeking well-qualified and highly-motivated students in the following areas: Integrating infrastructure management; Financing sustainable developments; Transferring expertise-in-practice; Integrating communications in construction; Planning for sustainable communities; Planning for emergence in projects; Effective appraisal of areas and contexts for development and management; Impacts of suburban intensification; Post-catastrophe reconstruction; Landscape character and assessment; and Conservation and sustainability.

 If you feel that you can contribute to one of these areas, and have specific ideas about topics, we would be happy to speak to you before you make a formal application (contact peter.larkham@bcu.ac.uk or david.boyd@bcu.ac.uk.  You would need to apply using the University's standard research student application form and return it to Mrs Sue Witton, Research Degree Administrator (sue.witton@bcu.ac.uk).  The closing date is Friday 6 November.

Added by Peter Larkham on October 26, 2009

Refocusing SDRU

Environment and Society Research Centre

The SDRU is being refocused and 'rebranded' as part of a University-wide review of research activity following the success in the 2007 Research Assessment Exercise.  A number of Research Centres are being set up, and SDRU forms the main focus of the new Environment and Society Research Centre.  Several new PhD bursaries are being funded by the University, Faculty and Centre, and research active staff recruited.  Dr Alister Scott has just joined the School of Property, Construction and Planning, and will bring a wealth of research expertise in more rural themes to the School's teaching and the Centre's research.

Added by Peter Larkham on October 26, 2009

Research Assessment

Birmingham City University succeeds in planning-related research

Birmingham City University has taken part in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise which is a national audit measuring research quality across the UK education sector.  The results have now been released and Birmingham City University has been officially recognised for its world-leading research.

Of research submitted by the University, more than 70 per cent has been recognised as being of an international standard - and 15 per cent is world-class.  Researchers in the Strategic Development Research Unit, which entered in the RAE's Town and Country Planning Unit of Assessment, are very pleased with the national research assessment exercise results. The results show that over half the research is of international standing and 10% was of the highest ‘world-leading' classification. This result again confirms our strong position within the region.  Research in Town and Country Planning draws together staff from a number of disciplines within the university and the wider community. Research into the problematic gap between planning strategy and policy, and their delivery, has entailed working at boundaries of the traditional disciplines. The result also underpins our mission to make research and teaching applicable to both the private and public sectors.  This re-affirms the contribution of the university to the wider development of Birmingham and the region.

Added by Peter Larkham on January 05, 2009

Research grants

Professor David Boyd, with Dr Mark Addis (Reader in Philosophy in the School of English) have been awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for an innovative project using "philosophers in residence" in construction companies, to explore how concepts and expertise are assimilated in practice.  This project began with a symposium of leading philosophers at which Hubert Dreyfus (University of California, Berkeley) was the keynote speaker.

Professor Peter Larkham and Dr Karl Freidheim Fischer (University of Kassel) have been awarded funding from the German Research Council and the British Council for research into the post-war planning and development of Coventry and Kassel.  Dr Nick Morton and Dr Julian Lamb will contribute to this project.

Added by Peter Larkham on December 17, 2008

Celebrating 50 Years of Planning Success

Academic planning staff at Birmingham City University celebrated the 50th anniversary of excellence in Planning education at the University throughout 2007. The School hosted a series of events, including lectures, seminars and panel discussions on planning the economy, society and the environment.

As part of the celebrations, we created a special website with archive photos and articles about the school and its people. Learn more at planningis50.com

Added by Matt Machell on April 24, 2007