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Community Research Hub

How can you  volunteer through the Community Research Hub?

The Community Research Hub at Royal Holloway provides students with opportunities to partner with charities and other external organisations for mutual benefit. For students, benefits might include:

  • Applying classroom learning to real-world settings.
  • Developing research-related skills.
  • Extra-curricular CV content.
  • Having exposure to contacts, data and scenarios which can often be used as a basis for publications and further research.
  • Earning Passport Award points.
  • PhD students’ participation in Community Research Hub activities contributes to their Research Development Programme training requirements (five days/yr).
  • NB: AHRC-funded PhD students can extend their funding when pursuing development opportunities such as these. Email for more information.

Please see below for the latest requests and opportunities, and register your interest by emailing the Community Research Hub.

The Brain Tumour Charity - "Difficult Conversations" survey

The Brain Tumour Charity is hosting its third annual Nurse and Allied Health Professional Conference on September 19th 2018. The conference will bring together experts to discuss and explore Difficult Conversations surrounding a brain tumour diagnosis. The event is CPD accredited and will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from expert speakers on topics that are crucial to the care of those affected by brain tumours.

As a learning organisation the charity continually strives to make each event better and more relevant each year they are held. This year they propose to conduct phone interviews with 10–15% of delegates who register for the conference. These interviews will aim to establish if the conference has changed healthcare professional practice and the interviews will take place one month before and then three and six months after the conference.

We are looking for 3 – 5 students to conduct the phone interviews and then to analyse these results and produce a report with clear actions for the next conference. The results will also be considered for publication and presented a various healthcare conferences. This project will be a collaboration between the students and The Brain Tumour Charity with detailed support provided wherever needed, but giving the students the autonomy to analyse the data in the ways they feel are appropriate.

We would strongly encourage you watch the culture video to get a sense of who The Brain Tumour Charity are.

Please email CommunityResearchHub@rhul.ac.uk if this is of interest to you.

MaidEnergy - E-Car Club viability research

MaidEnergy Co-op is a local cooperative, established to develop local sustainable energy projects, helping schools and promoting community shares.

MaidEnergy are really interested in increasing student take up of electric vehicles, particularly through car clubs like https://ecarclub.co.uk/what-is-e-car/.

The main two reasons for this are:

  • environmental, and
  • reduce parking congestion locally.

They are looking for volunteer(s) to collect data and create a report to establish:

  • why students are bringing cars to college, and
  • whether the availability of a shared electric car that they could book when they need it would help to drive this down.

The volunteers would also need to explore practical issues such as whether there could be charging bays on campus. Parking is clearly an ongoing issue in the surrounding area, so for the university to be seen to be proactively seeking solutions would also be good for promoting community harmony.

If the scheme could be piloted at Royal Holloway, there could also be an extension to this research by exploring whether this could be rolled out to the wider community, and whether the council would consider dedicated parking/charging spots in surrounding streets.

MaidEnergy are ideally looking for someone with a background in social science research methods who is able to design questionnaires and analyse results.  You need to have an interest in the environment and be self motivated, with good attention to detail.  They can provide support and personnel to the project, but you should be willing to take on the project management to ensure that all deliverables are received on time and to the specifications agreed.

This research would be well suited to a student interested in CSR aspect of Management, or Geography/sustainability.

St. Jude's School - parent and child surveys

St. Jude’s Junior School in Englefield Green is looking for support creating an online survey aimed at both parents and students, using Survey Monkey. Questions would be based on previous surveys and will be provided. Data will then need to be analysed and presented using both graphs and prose, drawing out strengths as well as areas for improvement.

This could really suit a Psychology student who would like to apply class-room learning to real-life scenarios.

Timescale: ASAP

Citizen's Advice - Housing Stability

Runnymede & Spelthorne Citizens Advice Bureau are currently recruiting volunteer researchers for the Housing Stability Project. Not only will volunteers develop their research skills and gain experience, they will also be introduced to Housing law, theory and practice. Housing Stability researchers will use a range of research methods to investigate the challenges to housing stability for students. The project is also interested in community relations where students are living in residential private accommodation.

Once the research has been conducted (report stage autumn 2020), the project will report on its findings and provide recommendations to improve housing stability to local councillors and stakeholders. Volunteer researchers are vital to establish the recommendations and this will enable Citizens Advice to provide community leadership in the implementation of those recommendations.

Runnymede & Spelthorne Citizens Advice does not currently recruit students to train as advisers so this is an opportunity for volunteers to gain exposure to the organisation and access training materials that advisers use, specifically in relation to Housing law. Most of the training will be through self-guided study and volunteers will have the opportunity to discuss issues with the project manager either remotely or by appointment.

Once Housing Stability researchers have successfully completed their term of volunteering (typically 6 – 12 months), depending on their level of engagement, they will be able to apply for other voluntary positions in the organisation that are vacant at the time.

This is a great opportunity to help make a difference in your local community and to gain transferable skills for a career in law or the public and non-profit sectors. If this is of interest to you, please get in touch by emailing CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.

Coloma Convent Girls' School - research mentors

Could you mentor a sixth form EPQ student?

Coloma Convent Girls School in Croydon is seeking academics and PHD students willing to be mentor Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) students working on a project in a similar discipline.

This would involve:

  • Giving about four hours of your time over a one year period
  • Communicating with the student by email, advising on resources/how to plan their research
  • Helping with any subject specific queries students have & critically evaluating their ideas


Coloma Girls’ School has an outstanding sixth form with high aspirations for all students, most of whom go on to undergraduate study. As part of their academic enrichment programme, they offer students the opportunity to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ.). This involves researching a topic of their choosing, analysing their findings and producing a 5000 word written report showing how they have used them to produce an evidenced conclusion. Previous candidates have completed projects on topics like the sustainability of climbing Mount Everest, the effectiveness of immunotherapy cancer treatments and the impact of the resurgence of the Taliban on Afghan women’s lives.  Several students discussed their projects at university interviews this year which shows that the knowledge and skills they developed are highly valued by admissions tutors.

The school is seeking PhD students and academics that would be willing to act as research mentors to their EPQ students working on a project in a similar discipline to their area of expertise. You will be required to communicate with their students by email, which could involve giving advice on resources, or on how to plan and frame a research project. You could also help with any subject specific queries students have and critically evaluate their ideas.  This will give researchers the opportunity to talk about their own research to a wider audience and enable students to learn more about the type of research they will be carrying out at university. The school would also welcome academics to the school if you were able to come and give a lecture or seminar about your research.

If you would like to volunteer as an EPQ mentor please email CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk with the following information:

  • The faculty in which you work/study.
  • Your particular research expertise.

 Timescale: ongoing

Disability Challengers 

The charity Challengers has an exciting opportunity for students in September 2017. They are offering a select number of voluntary roles to students interested in research, psychology and working with young people. 

Following on from an extremely successful pilot year, the Challengers Children and Young Person Engagement project is looking to grow.

What is the Challengers Engagement Project?

The Challengers Engagement Project aims to gather feedback about the Challengers' service from the service user. Funded by the department of health for three years, and equipped with a range of accessible research methods, they are on a mission to make the voice of the children and young people heard. As one of the first organisations to undertake such research with a vulnerable group of people they are determined to pioneer and explore new ways that such voices can be heard.

 What’s in it for students?

Previous volunteers have said:

“I have also found this experience extremely rewarding, as I feel that it is of the utmost importance to allow everyone who uses Challengers to express their feelings, wants and needs in regards to the service that is provided”.

“It has helped me grow in confidence with my research skills and to come up with new ideas on how we can conduct research”.

“I have learned that creating an agile and complex toolkit which can be adapted to different styles of engagement requires an iterative, multi-layered process…. Working with the Challengers research team and the children has helped me understand the potential of carrying out research and creating a communication channel through play” 

Timescale: ongoing

Runnymede Borough Council

Runnymede Borough Council are looking for volunteers to research into a range of topics that relate to social work and social policy, and identify any unmet needs for health and social care within our borough.

RBC’s top priority is to look into children and teenagers with autism and learning disabilities and their access to activities, particularly in the areas of relative deprivation.

An assessment of what provision is available in Runnymede and adjacent boroughs is needed, followed by a report on where the gap is. The hope is that your findings will prompt either the development of a new charity, or the extension of an existing charity (if there is one identified in the needs assessment) to meet these unmet needs.

In addition to this piece of research there are other areas that need investigating if there are sufficient volunteers to carry it out:

•  Research on the condition of private rented properties in an area of relative deprivation

•  Research on action that can be taken to counter isolation of older people in an area of relative deprivation

•   The impact of the loss of a voluntary organisation; for example, the recent closure of Age UK Runnymede and Spelthorne

•   Assessing the demand for a new Community Interest Company

Please get in touch by emailing communityresearchhub@rhul.ac.uk if you would like to get involved, or have any further questions.

Timescale: flexible

Age UK Surrey

Age UK Surrey is looking for:

1) Postgraduate student(s) – most likely from Management – to research relative benefits/costs of retail opportunities that could provide additional revenue for Age UK Surrey (eg charity shop, online, second-hand furniture, etc.).
Timescale: flexible

2) Postgraduate student(s) – most likely from Management – to conduct a costs/benefits analysis of the services Age UK Surrey provides.
Timescale: flexible

3) Postgraduate student(s) to provide an overview of befriending provision in Surrey in order to identify shortfalls and opportunities for improving joined-up provision. And/or an overview of approaches to tackling social isolation among older people and opportunities for Age UK Surrey to fill gaps.
Timescale: flexible

4) A postgraduate student – most likely from Computer Science - to help improve the charity’s database’s functioning.

Timescale: flexible


How can our researchers help your organisation?

Are you a charity, community organisation, campaign group or other not for profit organisation in need of research to support your work? Find out more on our Looking for Volunteers webpage.



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