The National Trust’s research ambitions. Knowing more, to look after what we all care for better

The National Trust research strategy. Sabine on the front cover who has been quietly researching and monitoring the impact of our land management practices at Hafod y Llan for over a decade now

Yesterday and it was Manchester. I attended one of the three workshops the National Trust is holding on its journey to setting itself up as an accredited Independent Research Organisation but also developing on its new research strategy into a research and delivery plan. The NT is famed for its research but usually this is based on various criteria such as local need, national programme, personal interest or often as a host for others as we hold a huge array of resources from land to people to built structures, libraries, archaeology but also as a willing partner to help others to help ourselves. The NT is joining all of this together through its staregy

The workshop was good in getting me to think of the wider meaning of research and not just peer-reviewed papers in an esteemed journal but for me everything from evaluating turbines for durability through to the sustainability of paints right down to the whole life analysis of a disposable coffee cup! Research at its root is simply ‘finding’ things out

The word research is derived from the Middle French “recherche“, which means “to go about seeking”, the term itself being derived from the Old French term “recerchier” a compound word from “re-” + “cerchier”, or “sercher”, meaning ‘search’.

In my world I have quite a few ‘research projects of the go and these include

  • Developing on using Water Pumps as hydro turbines with Trinity College Dublin
  • (PhD) Climate change modeling on National Trust sites in Wales with Bangor University
  • (PhD) Community energy contributions the Wales Future Generations Act (Bangor University )
  • (PhD) Heat harvesting for re-use from waste water at a National Trust property
  • Monitoring and performance approaches to NT renewable energy systems

…and the list goes on! But overall its to add value, establish clarity or look at new approaches to the day job. It will be interesting to see how we the  Nation Trust focuses its lens on the huge range of research possibilities based on the vast amount of work we have to do day-to-day looking after things, explaining, engaging, making things relevant, learning from the past to help the future and all that

For example every time we build a hydro we have to do a huge amount of research to make sure the system is appropriate for the site. This is the Hafod y Porth hydro near Snowdon. We found that the system is actually on the site of the old hydro (archaeological research). This is was one of the first totally prefabricated weir systems installed (technical research). Research, research, research!

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