The Collaborative is building a network of academics at Glasgow who have an interest in bringing their expertise to bear in solving the pressing concerns facing third sector organisations. This expertise could come in the form of business or strategic planning, HR and recruitment, social return on investment, evaluation and research, computing and digital tools, or lobbying and advocacy (to name a few).

Impacts for research and teaching

Benefits to academic research come from working with real clients to solve problems, which can be used both as research data (e.g. action research projects) and evidencing impact of one’s research. The production and development of teaching materials (e.g. teaching case studies) can also improve by creating greater connections with third sector organisations and maintaining a close ‘touch’ with practice, increasing the ability to create an ‘applied’ experience to teaching that many students are looking for

Benefits to students include gaining experience working with real clients to solve problems, work related learning opportunities to apply course topics and skills, and building connections with potential organisations for collaborative dissertations at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Involvement with The Collaborative offers students opportunities for invaluable professional and personal development, developing all of the University of Glasgow graduate attributes, and getting fulfilment from engagement in social action.

Creating a collaboration

If you are interested in a new collaboration, please express your interest and highlight the areas on which you’d like to collaborate using the online expression of interest form.

If you are already working with a third sector organisation, it would also be helpful to know about that as we are mapping the University’s engagement with the third sector; please give us the details in the expression of interest form. And, if you think an organisation you already work with could benefit from this project, please share the information for TSOs with them.

This video illustrates how the relationships established through The Collaborative could operate.

Frequently-asked questions

How does the matching process work and which direction does it go (e.g. is it academics who propose potential research, or is the third sector organisation ‘bidding’ for help)?

Primarily TSOs will identify their needs and we then look for an academic who can provide the relevant support. However, we do encourage you to propose potential research in your initial conversations with TSOs, as this might open up opportunities that the organisation may not have anticipated.

Can I get involved via student dissertations, e.g. with an organisation proposing a research topic?

Yes, we are looking to integrate with existing programmes at the University that coordinate work-based learning opportunities also (e.g College of Social Sciences Collaborative Dissertations). If you would like to be involved in The Collaborative via student dissertations, then please indicate this on the expression of interest form.

Is there a way to see the types of organisation available?

At this point in time we have not yet developed the network of TSOs but as soon as this information becomes available, we will begin sharing it with our network of academics.

We are using a broad definition of the third sector – charities, community organisations and social enterprises, including both formal organisations and informal groups (such as mutual aid groups).

What if I want to collaborate with organisations outside of Glasgow?

We encourage you to do so, but our project is currently focused on matching people with third sector organisations that serve Glasgow. If the project grows (funding permitting) we may broaden our inclusion criteria in the future if there is demand for this.

What am I committing to?

At the point of completing the interest form, you are not committing to anything. If you match with an organisation, then at that point you commit to working with the organisation in the same way you would commit to collaborating with any other external collaborative partner e.g. from the private sector. At that point it is up to you and your collaborative partner organisation to decide how to develop the relationship further, including deciding on how much time you commit to any project or work that follows. For our evaluation purposes and to capture the project’s impact we will occasionally get in touch to find out how your collaborative relationships are developing and how the project is working out.

What are the timescales for collaboration?

This engagement will be for as long as the organisation deems it necessary or as long as mutually beneficial activities are found between the organisation and academics/students.The exact timelines will be a matter of negotiation between the two parties. We suggest that developing an agreement about timelines should be discussed in the beginning stages of the relationship.

Is The Collaborative funding the research or work that will come out of the matching process?

No. Any work you end up doing with the TSOs is outside of the remit of The Collaborative IAA funding. Therefore, if you require funding for it, you will need to source your own funds. This could be from your own department research budgets or depending on the kind of relationship you develop with TSOs, they may be able to provide some form of funding (e.g. for interns).

Do I need ethical approval for any research I do with TSOs?

You would require ethical approval as you would in the normal way for any research you undertake, for any research that you do with TSOs. Of course, you may choose to engage with a TSO in a way that does not necessitate you applying for ethical approval: it depends on the type of relationship and work you end up getting involved in, and whether you plan on collecting research data or publishing anything as a result of it.

Is there any support provided to academics after the matching?

In general we would expect academics to work independently with the TSO. We will however be available for troubleshooting and will organise opportunities for people involved in The Collaborative to meet one another and share experiences.

What happens to my involvement in the long-term?

The Collaborative is envisioned to be a hub at the University in the longer-term as it aligns with many of the University’s strategies and goals (sustainability, civic engagement, etc). Therefore your name will remain on the network for as long as you want it to and you can opt out of participation at any time by getting in touch with The Collaborative team. From time to time you may be asked to update your area of expertise or topics that you are interested to work with TSOs on.

Academic Information Session

On 30 September The Collaborative hosted an information session for academics which details The Collaborative model along with the nature of the third sector in Glasgow.

If you missed that event , you can watch the recording (25 minutes).