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Research in Geography and Environmental Studies is undertaken by staff from the Department of Geography and International Development at the University of Chester.  Research and impact activities are concentrated in three GID research groups:

  • The ‘Global Environmental Change and Hazard Management’ group conducts research into Hazard Management and Assessment, Earth Surface Processes, and Environment and Climate Change;
  • The ‘Communities, Culture and Sustainability’ group conducts research into Culture, Identity and Consumption, Sustainable Communities, and Transition and Development;
  • The ‘Technology Enhanced Learning and Student Partnerships’ group conducts research into Fieldwork and Technology, Student-Staff Partnerships, and Teaching and Learning Ethics.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Higher Education Academy, British Ecological Society, Royal Geographical Society and local authorities.

12 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 29 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Geography and Development Studies Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository. 

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Opening up Digital Fieldwork Technology to Staff and Students in Further and Higher Education: Research undertaken within this unit explored the use of novel technologies in mobile learning to increase efficiency and broaden the opportunities available to field-based teaching.  This resulted in the transformation of the teaching practice of staff in 222 Higher and Further Education Institutions, nationally and internationally; transforming perceptions about the use of technology for fieldwork teaching in over 100 institutions.  The impact not only enhanced student engagement and employability skills, but also augmented sales for 8 companies and expanded 1 learned society.  Collaborations between external partners was also found to save time in the field for students, as well as leading to better technical solutions and sharing of best practice with key stakeholders.

Reducing the Rural Digital Divide to Change Lives: Research undertaken within this unit, building upon the Rural Public Access WiFi Service (PAWS) study, facilitated digital inclusion in a commercially ‘hard to reach’ remote rural community - businesses and households without access to broadband services, or with access to services ‘not fit for purpose’. Ultimately, the connection of users (rural residents and businesses) to better broadband services was achieved at a local level. The reported economic and social impacts of this connectivity, such as business savings, productivity gains, and enhanced wellbeing, have been used to demonstrate the importance of overcoming digital exclusion in rural areas. Accordingly, the work has made a substantial contribution to UK policy consultation processes, the outcomes of which aid government decision-making to alleviate rural disadvantage in broadband connectivity.

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