National Centre for Research Methods celebrates 20th anniversary

The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024 with a series of special initiatives.

NCRM is a partnership between The University of Manchester, the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh.

Over the past two decades, the centre has helped to advance methodological practice in the UK through an extensive array of activities – from training courses that improve researchers’ skills, to research projects that develop new ways of gathering or analysing data.

NCRM’s Manchester team, based in the School of Social Sciences, has played a played a vital role in the success of the centre.

The National Centre for Research Methods is an incredibly valuable resource for researchers at all stages in their careers, across different disciplines and sectors. NCRM’s focus on skills, innovation and excellence over the past 20 years has significantly helped to advance methodological practice and expertise.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester

Anniversary initiatives will include a bursary programme, an impact prize, mail outs of branded items and spotlights on key contributors.

NCRM has also released a video which highlights some of its most significant moments. These include the formation of the current partnership in 2014, which brought together three institutions with international reputations in methodological research and training.

The centre was originally founded at the University of Southampton, but for the past decade it has worked alongside The University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh.

This growth into a national partnership has enabled NCRM to extend its reach and diversify its activities, with 21 team members spread across the three core partners.

NCRM’s Manchester team leads on engagement and innovation, manages the centre’s bursary scheme, runs specialist training and organises the popular Research Methods e-Festival.

“The centre provides important leadership – in training, interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of new approaches to research,” said Professor Rothwell.

“The University of Manchester takes great pride in the pivotal role it has played in these areas since becoming a part of NCRM 10 years ago.” 

“The NCRM team in Manchester, led by Professor Mark Elliot, is an outstanding asset to our University – I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your exceptional work and commitment.”

NCRM has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council since the centre’s establishment in 2004. Its latest funding phase began in 2020 and saw nine additional training partners join the NCRM network.

Together, NCRM and its partners now run more courses than ever before – around 50 a year. The centre has also significantly expanded its online resources, with more than 80 tutorials now available on the NCRM website.

Stian Westlake, ESRC Executive Chair, said: “NCRM have played a pivotal role in strengthening research methods capability in the social sciences and we congratulate them on reaching this milestone.”

NCRM has traditionally focused on methods used in the social sciences, but its training, online resources, networks and events are designed for researchers in many fields of study.

The centre provides training at various levels, from introductory to advanced, and offers bursaries to cover course fees for researchers employed in the UK. Its website also hosts a growing number of resources for research methods trainers, backed by NCRM’s own pedagogic research.

Another way NCRM supports researchers is through its engagement activities. These include the co-ordination of networks that bring together researchers and specialist organisations across the country, and a scheme that funds methodological innovation.

Professor Mark Elliot is NCRM’s Vice-Director. His team in the School of Social Sciences includes Professor Sophie Woodward, an NCRM Co-Investigator who leads on creative methods, Senior Engagement Manager Dr Ali Hanbury, Research Fellow Dr Robert Meckin and Training and Events Co-ordinator Sandra Gogacz.

NCRM will announce further details of its 20th anniversary initiatives throughout 2024. 

For more information about NCRM, visit the website.