The Centre for Rural Research (CRR) is based in the Institute of Science and the Environment at the University of Worcester. It was launched in 1996 as a consultancy specialising in the analysis of rural change. The CRR benefits from its unique position within the University of Worcester and has well-qualified staff whose knowledge extends over all aspects of countryside change. This includes agriculture, economic development, policy and planning, sustainability, the environment, social issues and cultural identities.
- Based on this expertise, the CRR has five main goals:
- to supply high quality rural research to a diverse range of clients
- to focus on regional research from a national and international perspective
- to disseminate knowledge widely
- to advance the discipline of geography and rural studies
- to assist the University of Worcester in delivering its mission
The robust academic background of the CRR guarantees professional, well-researched documents, from national and regional studies to surveys of a smaller scale.
As part of the University of Worcester, the CRR builds upon a long history of research and teaching in higher education. The University has been established for over 50 years and rural studies have always formed an important part of its curriculum. An honours degree course in Rural Settlement and Land Use was established in 1977 and now modules in rural issues form a core part of the Geography BSc degree and Human Geography BA degrees. Rural studies were also central to the former MSc degree in Environmental Issues, which is currently under review. Since 1997, six students have successfully researched rural affairs to gain PhD awards, representing a 100% success rate.
CRR capitalises on this tradition of rural expertise. We have extensive practical and academic experience of rural research and are currently engaged in a range of projects on economic, social, cultural, agricultural and environmental change in the countryside. Our base in the modern university sector helps us to provide independent research that is relevant and accessible to all, including policy-makers, practitioners and the people living and working in the countryside. Our applied research has therefore included work for a large spectrum of local, regional and national organisations.
Our key objective is non-commercially motivated, concerned with the advancement of knowledge rather than the generation of income or the representation of particular viewpoints. Consequently, CRR’s university-based position allows our staff to make objective and informed assessments on rural issues. Team members are personally interested in the projects that they undertake and, when appropriate, results from research have been disseminated to wider audiences through presentations, written articles and media appearances. Applied research also frequently offers our staff the opportunity to add vitality and relevance to teaching within the University, providing highly relevant case studies with which students can engage. CRR is also part of a national and international network of university researchers and lecturers. This allows us to draw upon a rich base of existing knowledge. Indeed, CRR is the only university-based specialist rural research centre in the West Midlands Region so that our expertise is second to none.
Clients of the CRR have benefited not only from this clear rural focus but also from the vast experience of our staff with research methodology. All staff are able to offer specialisms in aspects of research methods and analysis, ranging from quantitative statistical techniques through to ethnographies with vulnerable societal groups. Descriptions of the specific research interests of the CRR team can be found on the Staff page.