Here we feature the centre's recent and key projects.

Productive use of pristine ecosystems

Project Background

Bahía Solano in Colombia is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, but it is also one of the most underdeveloped regions in the country. It is home to artisan fishermen who follow traditional practices to preserve local marine biodiversity. It is also home to unique Mangroves which are one of the most effective carbon storage systems in the world. Currently, energy needs of the community are fulfilled by diesel fuel (e.g. to power fishing boats). This project takes a systemic view of the community as an example of similar communities along the tropical coastal lines and river banks, and looks at the needs as well as solution to help them create productive use of ecosystems that will help them develop economically while continuing to protect unique local ecosystems.

Research Questions

What would productive use of ecosystems in small rural communities look like?

Methods

We use a combination of road-mapping and causal mapping to develop a research strategy.

Project Leads / Supervisors

A. Spanellis

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

A. Johnson; C. Aravena; UPB-Medellin, Colombia

Funding

Aunap (seed funding)

Games for natural hazard community resilience

Project Background

Indonesia is the most vulnerable country on Earth to natural hazards, with volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis occurring frequently. Such events cause multiple fatalities, major disruption to economic development and community wellbeing. Improving their capacity to act in response to such events is one of the most important aspects of community resilience that can help to reduce fatalities and the economic impact of such events. The aim of this project is to develop a complementary gamified training system for evacuation in the community near the volcano Merapi in Indonesia that will complement the official evacuation training and procedures, to develop the capacity to act.

Research Questions

1. What are the constraints of established training programmes for natural hazard evacuation?
2. How effective is a game in developing local decision-making capacity during the evacuation?

Methods

The exploratory part of the study is based on semi-structured interviews with different groups of stakeholders. The objectives of the game are developed using causal mapping. The effectiveness of the game is evaluated using Structural Equation Modelling.

Project Leads / Supervisors

A. Spanellis

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

R. McMenemy; Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

Funding

SFC GCRF

Pandemic communication in indigenous communities

Project Background

Choco region is located in the remote areas on the Pacific coast of Colombia and is home to indigenous people (Embera Dobida, Chami, Katío, Wounnan, Zenu, and Tule settlements)  living in about 120 native territories and speaking 6 different languages. The settlements do not have access to communication technology and low levels of literacy, have poorly developed infrastructure and are partially surrounded by criminal gangs. All these factors make access to the national healthcare system problematic. This project aims to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 virus in the area and understand how local cultural traditions and beliefs influence the infection in the indigenous communities in Choco. The improved understanding will be incorporated into the communication and educational strategy for the prevention of the disease to reduce the risk of transmission.

Research Questions

a.    How widespread is COVID-19 virus in Choco region?
b.    How do indigenous people perceive and cope with the new hazard?
c.    Can gamification approach help to bridge traditional believes and modern medicine, and help develop common understanding of the hazard?

Methods

Seroprevalence survey is used to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 virus in indigenous communities. Unstructured interviews are used during the exploratory phase to understand perception of indigenous people about the pandemic. Gamification approach is used to develop elements of the communicative strategy to help the communities protect themselves against the virus.

Project Leads / Supervisors

A. Spanellis

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

G. Borzenkova; UPB-Medellin, Colombia

Funding

SFC GCRF

Resource scarcity and consumer foraging: supply chain practices as survival skills

Project Background

In 2012, Wells put forward a Foraging Ecology model of consumer behaviour based on animal foraging theory.  The recent Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way in which consumers shop and the range of decisions they make. There have been, and continue to be, supply disruptions and volatility in household consumption. This changing consumer environment where consumers are demonstrating very different patterns of consumption it seems, more than ever, that a foraging model of consumer choice may help us understand consumer shopping reactions to the pandemic. 

Research Questions

This project looks to gain a better understanding of the internal complexities of household consumption as survival skills, and the social and community capacity for resourcefulness during times of scarcity.

Methods

As a theoretical paper this work draws on a range of sources including academic journal publications, author observations, government reports, media publication and digital outlets as well as other grey literature to provide a comprehensive perspective on consumer foraging behaviour in a pandemic.  These perspectives will be analysed alongside elements of foraging theory.

Project Lead

Professor Victoria Wells, University of York

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Professor Marylyn Carrigan, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt

Dr Navdeep Athwal, University of Leicester

Engaging the community and consumer with climate action: Keele’s low-carbon energy projects

Project Background

HyDeploy offers a significant technical transitional solution to decarbonisation of the gas grid
and heating services. Such technical interventions are an important component of a broader
shift in our energy system. Yet evidence suggests the public neither fully support nor
understand technical solutions to carbon reduction. This can be attributed in part to the
development and implementation of technical innovations in the absence of an informed
understanding of the social context of sustainability adoption. Motivating households to
support lower-carbon emissions technology is an essential element of achieving broader
policy goals of decarbonisation.

The HyDeploy trial provides the first opportunity of its kind in the UK to understand how consumers perceive hydrogen as an energy vector in their homes, by those who know that they will be directly and imminently affected by it.

Research Questions

To examine reactions and potential for acceptance and resistance to hydrogen in domestic settings.

Methods

Stage one used a qualitative methodology to examine the pre-trial experiences of residents and key project stakeholders delivering the HyDeploy project at Keele University. Data was collected from participants using focus groups and semi-structured interviews, followed by a survey of all residents. Stage two of the project will use the same methodology to study participants experiences post-trial.

Project Leads / Supervisors

Professor Zoe Robinson, University of Keele

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Professor Marylyn Carrigan, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt

Professor Victoria Wells, University of York

Dr Phil Catney, University of Keele

Adam Peacock (RA)

Funding

Keele University High Impact Funding

Economic Impact of Health Procurement in Scotland

Project Overview

National Services Scotland (NSS) are keen to understand the current economic impact of their procurement decisions in Scotland through key segments, in order to quantify and further develop assessment of economic impact.
NSS has declared that current spend is around £2.5 billion – around £1.4 billion is spent through central contracting and will cover spend with international firms (pharmacy and technology), but around £800 million-£1 billion is spent at local health board level, meaning there is scope for a significant amount to be allocated to suppliers within Scotland. Currently, although money is spent with Scottish suppliers, it is unknown whether this money stays in Scotland through supplier supply chains, and what the true economic and social impact is from NSS procurement.

Research Questions

What is the economic impact of procurement in Scotland? How could this impact be improved?

Methods

A mixed methods approach is expected. This will be through LM3 evaluation where spend is assessed through how the organisation procures goods and services in the local area (here we consider Scotland). NSS data will show the amount awarded in terms of whole tender and the sub-contracts will show where spend is located. Interviews will support the secondary data insights to shed further light for where NSS and supplier spend manifests, and also to scope where there is the potential for greater spend within the region. This will enable priority areas to be identified and suppliers identified for their local impact.

Project Leads / Supervisors

Dr Claire Lindsay

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Graeme Cox (till March 2021) and Ciaran Scott (Jan 2021 - Aug 2023)

Funding

From NSS

The role of generativity in the transference of family heirlooms

Project Background

This study explores the theoretical links between heirloom consumption and generativity. Given or bequeathed heirlooms are regarded as generative action as tangible (the possession) and intangible (morals, rituals and traditions) are transferred demonstrating a concern for future generations in a familial context.  We argue that whether heirlooms are transformed or preserved, the significance of inherited family treasures is changing as result of dematerialisation. The data generated through multi- generational depth interviews with British families and their visual artefacts results in a re-evaluation of the meaning and value assigned to cherished family possessions through the lens of generativity.

Research Questions

What are the heirloom meanings and stories of transmission? How heirlooms are preserved and rejuvenated. Aim to explore the attitudes towards and willingness to act for the well-being of future generations in a familial setting.

Methods

To investigate the theoretical links between generativity and heirloom consumption, we used interpretive and photo-elicitation methods. During in depth multi-generational interviews, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (see Coultre and Zaltman, 1994) was employed to elicit metaphors and stories through the use of visual artefacts relating to heirlooms and generative action.

Project Leads / Supervisors

Dr Navdeep Athwal, University of Leicester

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Professor Marylyn Carrigan, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt

Professor Victoria Wells, University of York

Funding

Academy of Marketing