The placements seek to draw together representation from Third Sector, NHS Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in order to develop a working party towards stimulating engagement between parties. The placements particularly seek to aide knowledge transfer between parties so that all parties gain in the experience.
Engage is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under a scheme called Business Engagement Opportunities. The aims of this scheme are
* The term business in the title of the scheme and much of its documentation can be confusing for some. ESRC specifies a number of ‘Priority business sectors which this year included the third sector.
One element of the package is placements, which are intended to permit academics working on projects in a business setting and business individuals to do likewise in an academic unit for a short period – of at least one month, not necessarily in one block of time. There should be four placements (two academics in the business organisation and two business people into the research organisation) but it is possible to vary this arrangement.
Placement activities are to be arranged by negotiation between the university team, NHS Manchester, and the participating individuals and organisations. Placement activities for a Third Sector employee into the university could include: taking part in research activities attached to an existing research group; attending relevant courses for example on research methods, or undertaking a small-scale piece of research with support from university research staff. A university researcher could work within a third sector organisation helping with the collection and interpretation of data or the re-interpretation of previously collected data; working with the organisation to assess the benefits of research tools and techniques; helping to collate information sources and synthesising lessons from existing research; exploring joint funding opportunities.