Representatives from 15 THE-ICE member institutions across 9 countries joined THE-ICE Webinar Series 12: Best Practice for Collaborative Research to discuss the current state of tourism, hospitality, events, and culinary arts (TH&E) research and share strategies to stimulate collaborative research, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday 28th April 2021, Auditors of THE-ICE Assessment Panel Professor Tom Baum and Associate Professor Dr Rajka Presbury (also the inaugural recipient of THE-ICE Research Grant Scheme in 2019) joined THE-ICE CEO Dr Craig Thompson to lead a discussion of best practice in collaborative research, including:
- The value and challenges of TH&E research
- Impact of COVID-19 on the research landscape
- Strategies for increasing research, especially collaborative research, at institutions and within THE-ICE network
Within these areas of discussion, the following key takeaways were highlighted:
The value and challenges of TH&E research
- TH&E research and engaging with industry raises questions and ideas that stimulate discussion, which is especially important in the changing pandemic environment.
- The world has changed but there are always new things to learn through research, and this understanding of TH&E can contribute to an understanding of wider society.
- Research should be professionally and developmentally enjoyable and rewarding, but there are challenges, especially when your job is focused on teaching and student learning.
- Research can be challenging, but the reciprocal benefits outweigh the difficulties.
- Collaborative research benefits both the researchers, their students, and their institution.
- Young academics can be timid to approach senior academics, so it is important to provide a space for researchers of all levels to share ideas and receive feedback.
Impact of COVID-19 on the research landscape
- One of the benefits of the new normal is increased accessibility to online events, which allows us to peek into other people’s work and lives much more easily.
- TH&E industry are seeking information, but perhaps do not have the research skills to filter the enormous amount of information available – this could be an opportunity to collaborate with academic institutions for mutual benefit.
- Different institutions have had different experiences with their industry partners – some have had increased contact and engagement during the pandemic, and some have seen a significant decrease.
- Social media can be used to reach the TH&E workforce and community groups in order to gather opinions/data. If respondents cannot be reached directly, then alternate skills may be needed. Significant amounts of socio-economic data is being generated, relevant to TH&E, that could be extracted.
- The confidence of students and potential students in the industry has been dented by COVID-19.
Strategies for increasing research, especially collaborative research, at institutions and within THE-ICE network
- THE-ICE members work within the common framework of THE-ICE Standards of Excellence, and so collaborating within THE-ICE accredited member network assures collaborators of a certain standard of quality.
- Consider other departments at your institution as opportunities for collaboration, as well as TH&E departments at other institutions.
- Make collaboration a compulsory criterion for the awarding of research grants.
- Institutions have an obligation to young researchers to provide opportunities for research, including collaboration with more experienced researchers.
- Push for institutions to promote and/or improve their reward and recognition programs. In many cases, more collaborators on a research project means that the rewards and recognitions are diluted, resulting in more individual and isolated research.
- A discussion board was proposed for use of THE-ICE members, including an ability to find potential research partners and collaborators.
The recording of the webinar can be accessed here.