CSRC

Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Communities

 

Introduction

CSRC in the University and beyond

The CSRC provides a base from which to support staff and students within Huddersfield Business School and in other Schools who want to develop their research interests in the areas of sustainability and resilience.  The CSRC also links with other research centres and groups in the university and beyond to collaborate on mutually beneficial initiatives.  There is a strong focus on interdisciplinary research.

The Centre emphatically supports the University’s emphasis on “impact” seeking to ensure that research is geared towards the demands of the working world. This is achieved through collaboration with national and international organisations and through sharing findings with the people who matter most, from policymakers to the general public.

The Centre also responds to the focus in the school on the UN’s principles for responsible management education (PRME), which include corporate responsibility, inclusion and sustainability in order to meet social and environmental goals and ensure global social responsibility. This vibrant research centre supports the implementation of the School’s research strategy through impact and livelihood-focused research which will contribute to responsible management.

CSRC houses the MSc Risk, Disaster and Environmental Management Programme which attracts more than 20 students each year from around the world.

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Context and Justification

The key challenges of food security, climate change and the increasing demand for energy and water have been described by Sir John Beddington, the UK’s former chief scientist, as a ‘perfect storm’. In 2009 he called for the creation of communities that can address these challenges proactively. CSRC is in part a response to this call.

Sustainability, in terms of economic, social and environmental considerations, has been recognised for several decades as an essential dimension in the long-term management of societies. However, it remains a major challenge, especially for those concerned with business, economic growth and development. While resilience has been placed on the management agenda and allied to sustainability there is much to do to operationalise these two concepts. Further, community resilience - the capacity to absorb stress or destructive forces through resistance or adaptation, to maintain certain basic functions during a crisis and have the capacity to recover after a crisis, is regrettably a challenge for an increasing number of people.

Resilience has become an important, and inseparable, part of the sustainable communities’ agenda.  Initiatives from around the world have emerged to support and nurture community and organisational ability to mitigate and recover from difficult situations. Such initiatives range from the United Nations Hyogo Framework at the global level to the UK’s bottom-up Transition Towns movement.

The environmental, societal and economic challenges in the world today require individuals, communities, businesses and governments to enhance resilience and strive for sustainability within their spheres of operation and influence.

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Aims and scope

Centre Purpose: Creating more sustainable and resilient people and places

Scope of Work:

Community Resilience

  • Community vulnerability assessment and planning
  • Use of Social media in disasters and for environmental management

Environmental sustainability and natural resource management

  • Enterprise & natural resources
  • Wetlands and forests and their management in Africa

Sustainable food production and consumption

  • Halal and sustainability
  • Food & the environment

Social enterprises & community development

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Governance and legal frameworks of social enterprise
  • Social enterprises and enterprising communities
  • Social entrepreneurship

Aims:

  1. To build a strong and diverse research portfolio that contributes to an increase in resilience of communities and supports a more sustainable use of human and natural resources.
  2. To develop and engage in UK and international collaborative partnerships with other leading academic institutions, multilateral agencies and NGO’s working on sustainability and resilience issues.
  3. To generate externally funded research income to secure the long term development of the Centre and make a significant contribution to the school.
  4. To widen accessibility and increase opportunities for professional and student development by creating new modes of delivery that meet student needs.
  5. To build up a cohort of research students whose work has complementarity and engages with innovative approaches and ideas.
  6. To contribute to the Huddersfield Business School being recognised as one of the leading Business Schools for research on sustainability and resilience in the UK.
  7. To develop a range of publications through various means which will widen understanding of this work and make a significant contribution to the University of Huddersfield Business School research agenda.

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CSRC and PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education)

The CSRC is committed to supporting innovations that will improve the sustainability of communities in the face of current challenges.  This also extends to providing support to the University of Huddersfield’s Business School in advancing social responsibility in teaching to undergraduate and postgraduate students - the business leaders of tomorrow. 

This involves using CSRC research to illuminate teaching in specific modules and the provision of a wide range of speakers from industry and academia to speak on issues such as the SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) and responsible business.  The school is a signatory of PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education).  CSRC members contribute to the PRME principles through research, teaching and partnership work.

As part of this work, and in order to ensure that PRME is holistically integrated throughout the teaching curricula, the CSRC has undertaken a review all the taught modules in the School against set criteria in order to better understand current provision, identify current gaps or inconsistencies and provide a baseline against which curriculum content can be evaluated in the future.

The Terms of Reference for this work are outlined below.  

Terms of Reference

Project Purpose

To review the current provision in Business School Undergraduate Programmes on sustainability, responsibility, ethics and resilience issues with a view to identifying those modules where there is an opportunity to utilise CSRC work and case studies to strengthen this provision.  This will contribute to the Business School’s PRME commitments and support accreditation in that area, as well as ensuring that the BS is responding to the need for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy, ensuring its business graduates are not only aware of the issues but equipped to address them.

Project Objectives
  1. To identify those BS UG modules that have the opportunity to include sustainability and resilience issues;
  2. To identify those BS UG modules where CSRC could provide materials/ case studies to support teaching;
  3. To produce a list of useful resources (resources (textbooks, journals, websites, open access material on the Internet) for staff and students on sustainability, responsibility and resilience; review (at a level tba) publications on sustainability and resilience in the business curriculum and law curriculum;
  4. To contribute to the Business School’s PRME agenda.

 

Issues to be explored and analysed against certain criteria

Comparison/ examples of what other higher education organisations are doing in this area within their business schools.

 

Methodology

Phase 1: Two workshops were held with staff teaching across the BS to help inform the Phase 2 review of programme documents.  In addition, the workshop explored some of the barriers and challenges encountered by staff in the classroom.

Phase 2: Programme Descriptors, Module Descriptors, Module Handbooks and, where accessible, reading lists held on Wisdom were interrogated using Nvivo with searches made on the four key terms: Ethics, Resilience, Responsibility and Sustainability (ERRS).

 

Documents consulted

  • PRME Website
  • PRME report for BS in 2015
  • BS definitions of Sustainability, Responsibility and Ethics for use with PRME
  • Module descriptors, Course Specification, Module Handbooks
  • Reading lists posted on Unilearn
  • Assignments posted on Unilearn

 

Outputs

  • Full Report on findings with recommendations for action
  • Executive summary of the above
  • Series of tables by module identifying extent of inclusion of four key terms

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History of CRSC

Established in 2013, the CSRC builds on a long tradition of research concerning the links between businesses, organisations, ethics and the environment, which has been undertaken by the Centre for Corporate Environmental Management (1995-2002) and the Centre for Enterprise, Ethics and the Environment (2002-2007). These former centres worked originally on corporate environmental matters but broadened their remit to address wider issues of environmental management and planning within local, regional and global communities.

CSRC also incorporates the expertise developed by the Wetlands, Environment and Natural Resources Research Group from the School of Applied Sciences (1996 to 2012). This explored practical community solutions to livelihood and resource management issues in Africa for sixteen years funded by the EUESRCDEFRA and others

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Contact us

If you would like to know more about our areas of expertise or wish to discuss research opportunities with the Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Communities (CSRC) then please contact our Research Assistant:


Fiona Hesselden

Research Assistant

  Tel: 01484 473090

  Email: csrc@hud.ac.uk

  Address: Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

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