Supporting the professional development of local area researchers is one of our key objectives. We are therefore delighted to launch the LARIA Research Academy. Our idea is that this would be a cohort of researchers, from Corporate member organisations, who would go through a programme of five days of professional development. The programme would include a mixture of formal training, peer-to-peer mentoring and other activities.

We are keen to hear the views of members and are also currently working with INLOGOV and other key partners to develop the programme of activities. This includes the Market Research Society who have offered a year’s free membership to programme participants and therefore full access to their free member events and magazine. We will be looking to develop similar elements with other partners for the final package. If you have any ideas on the kind of elements that should be part of the LARIA Research Academy please let us know by emailing us or directly taking part in discussions on our insight community being run as part of the LARIA Local Area Research Fortnight.

Our timetable is as follows:

  • March/April 2015 – discussions with members about the idea of the LARIA Research Academy and whether people are interested in taking part (either as participants or supporting key elements)
  • May/June 2015 – formal nomination process with LARIA Corporate members nominating members of their organisation to take part. The candidates should be seen as the next generation of future leaders in local area research. Our initial ideas are that they would need to show:
    • At least two years experience in local area research
    • How they meet the requirements of the LARIA Charter
    • The ambition and commitment to develop local area research
  • July/August 2015 – candidates are interviewed
  • September 2015 – February 2016 – The Academy programme is run with graduation at the LARIA Conference 2016 (when nominations would open again).

Although it is envisaged that LARIA will cover the basic cost of the Academy resources are limited without sponsors. The more support we have in terms of sponsorship the broader the range of opportunities we could offer. At present we estimate that LARIA would be able to offer ten free bursary places for the Academy to those in public or third sector organisations who are LARIA Corporate members. We would not cover travel or accommodation costs. We also envisage that we would charge for extra places or for participants from commercial organisations.

We look forward to your comments and ideas on how we can make the LARIA Research Academy happen. It is early days and a key opportunity for you to get involved. We would welcome support from individuals who would like to volunteer to help organise the Academy or simply to let us know if you think it is a good idea or not. We hope to be able to discuss with you online or face-to-face, but you can also email us direct at to ensure your views are heard. Please let us have any comments by the end of April 2015 at the latest.

Photo credit: US Naval Academy Class of 2012 by DVIDSHUB