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Manchester researchers secure funding to research recovery, renewal and resilience to COVID-19

  • Research to be led by cross-section of academics from Alliance Manchester Business School, the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute and The University of Manchester
  • Project part-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation

Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) has secured close to £1m in funding to support its research into the long-term recovery of local communities from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The project has been part-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and brings together specialists from AMBS, the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and The University of Manchester to develop guidance and create a framework that can be used to build resilience in local communities post-COVID.

A team of academics will analyse how stakeholders such as local government, the emergency services and volunteer groups have responded to COVID-19 in the UK and overseas, before identifying the changes that need to be made to better support short-term recovery and drive long-term renewal within local communities moving forward.

Using this information, academics will partner with Local Resilience Forums – groups of representatives from local authorities and the wider public sector – in Merseyside, the Thames Valley and Essex to develop and test a resilience framework.

The framework will be designed to enable local communities to better plan, prepare and respond to emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic. For example, by sharing emergency services to better manage demand or utilising the support of individuals that want to help but aren’t affiliated to an official public body – commonly known as spontaneous volunteers – in the disaster response phase.

Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operational Research & Critical Systems at AMBS and HCRI, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to communities across the world and as we enter the second wave many are rightly focused on how we come out of the other side, and how organisations can work together to drive long-term recovery in what is a very complex political landscape.

“With the support and funding from ESRC, we are now in a position to take our research one step further and will be working closely with regional stakeholders to share lessons of successful recovery, and use these learnings to develop an actionable framework that can be used to drive resilience at a local level in a world post-coronavirus.”

The funding announcement follows a 10-month project during which academics have been working with organisations worldwide to ensure local communities can recover from Covid-19. This includes specialists in the areas of critical systems, emergency response, community resilience, humanitarian aid and mobilisation, digital solutions and security, viable systems, healthcare delivery and operations management.

To follow the project, please sign up to the Manchester Briefing – a newsletter that brings together international lessons and case studies on the recovery from Covid-19 and is shared with more than 52,000 people worldwide every fortnight.