Urban Futures Salford Manchester. Research in the City

SIRCUS - Salford Interdisciplinary Research Connecting Urban Society

The relationships between universities and cities are complex and multi-faceted, resulting in multiple challenges and tensions. Institutional conditions, cultures and contexts can inhibit the development of productive relationships between researchers and policy-makers.

Whilst policy-makers are concerned to access a fragmented academic knowledge base to inform policy, researchers point to the challenge of balancing between critique and engagement, avoiding the pitfalls of producing ‘policy-based evidence’.

SIRCUS takes this critique as its starting point and seeks to understand alternative ways of organising knowledge to enable more positive transformations for urban communities to develop more sustainable futures. 

The process is to engage with five collaborative activities – at different scales - to reflect on mechanisms for bringing interdisciplinary research and practice together:

  1. An international workshop on ‘Universities and urban transformations’, held in September 2014;
  2. Cross-regional collaboration with Northern Universities on ‘The Future of the North’;
  3. Engagement and support for GM Low Carbon Economy Research Forum;
  4. Peer-to-peer learning groups;
  5. Development of an interdisciplinary community of urban research and practice within the University.


News items

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Short facts

Project title: SIRCUS Salford Interdisciplinary Research Connecting Urban Society
Partners: SURF Centre University of Salford, Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit University of Salford, Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub, Social Action Research and Foundation Biospheric.

Project period: 2014-2015

Financier/s: University of Salford Manchester, Mistra Urban Futures, Regional Studies Association


Project leads


  • Beth Perry, Director, GMLIP and SURF University of Salford Manchester, b.perry@salford.ac.uk
  • Tim May, Professor, SURF University of Salford of Manchester.


  • Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, AGMA/Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub
  • Dan Silver, Director Social Action Research Foundation, dan@the-sarf.org.uk
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