Research Hub

Current Initiative for Research Hubs


Following the publication of the Blagrave report in 2015, highlighting the need for better join-up between academics and practitioners and better co-ordination of research activity in the sector, the Institute is supporting the establishment of regional research hubs through 2017 and funding a research co-ordinator role.


Institute for Outdoor Learning


University of Cumbria





Natural England


Regional hubs will draw together research that has been carried out and is ongoing as well as identifying the current and future research needs of practitioners in Outdoor Learning. The intention is to support high quality, frequent and progressive Outdoor Learning (OL) for children and young people, by enabling a more integrated approach to research and practice at a local level. Working with a range of partners we hope to provide a more unified voice for Outdoor Learning to influence policy and practice, and to establish a broader platform on which to seek further funding to extend the research evidence base.


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    The hubs are; in the North West contact Heather Prince at the University of Cumbria, North East contact Eric Fletcher & Lucy Tiplady, Newcastle University, Midlands contact Elaine Skates, The Heart of England Forest, South West contact Alun Morgan at Plymouth University, Scotland contact Sally York at Forestry Commission Scotland, South East contact Sarah O’Malley at The Bay Trust and Wales contact Graham French at Bangor University.

    If these hubs are successful, it is likely that research hubs will extend to other areas of the UK.
    Dr Chris Loynes Reader, Outdoor Studies, at the University of Cumbria will be leading the National Research Hub.


    The Strategic Research Group for Learning in Natural Environments (SRG LINE) was established in 2012 to support the advancement of policy and practice in this area by facilitating a more integrated and strategic approach to research, evaluation and use of evidence. It is supported by Natural England and CLOtC and is a growing partnership of the leading relevant academic institutions in this area, plus other key individuals and agencies.


    Research Events

    Upcoming events iCalendar export

    • NW Research Hub Meeting (12/12/2019 14:00 - 16:00)
      12/12/2019 14:00 - 16:00

      NW Research Hub Meeting

      NW Region Research Hub Meeting on Thursday 12 December 2019, 14.00 - 16.00 at YMCA Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria.

      The outline agenda will be:

      • regional hubs and national agendas, update and progress
      • case studies database
      • capturing 'hard to reach' (young) people in research and practice
      • research methods and approaches workshop
      • This event is free to attend but please book using the link below.

      Location: YMCA Lakeside, Lakeside, Ulverston

      Read more
    • The SW Research Hub Meeting/Conference (22/01/2020)

      The SW Research Hub Meeting/Conference

      The next Meeting of the SW Research Hub will take place on Wednesday 22nd of January 2020 at Plymouth Marjon University, PL6 8BH.

      There will be a charge of £15 per place to cover guest speakers and lunch [£5 for F/T students]

      More details to follow

      Location: Plymouth Marjon University

      Read more


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