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Partnership for Innovative Practitioner Engagement in Research (PIPER)

Watch out for PIPER events in Autumn & Winter each year at our Branch Events Page!

What is PIPER?

The PIPER initiative - Partnership for Innovative Practitioner Engagement in Research - is a collaborative partnership between IOSH London Metropolitan Branch and universities in London to support the OHS profession through carrying out free research and OHS studies for organisations of IOSH members. It is facilitated by Middlesex University London and the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch.

This initiative was born from a strategic response by the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch, Middlesex University London and the University of Greenwich to lead towards the ongoing development and support of the occupational safety and health profession and providing leadership towards this aim. Providing cost effective, evidence based support work for organisations through MSc level research was core to the strategy which was approved by IOSH in May 2014.

Watch the PIPER initiative video.

What we do

On an annual basis a call for support projects is communicated through the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch to members in autumn. Where organisations have a specific need relating to their OHS programmes that a research project can address or if they would like to explore the potential for a student researcher to help them, an invite is extended to attend an exciting project exploration workshop.

At the workshop usually held in December, MSc researchers, organisations and academics discuss the issues of concern and scope of possibilities for a project to be undertaken. Researchers are matched to organisations based on their interests and the topics of concern.

Autumn - Call for Projects
Winter - Annual Project Scoping Workshop
Spring - Project Proposal, Design & Planning
Summer - Data Collection & Organisational Support
Autumn - Project Completion

From that point, the projects are scoped in detail, designed and completed over the year. Projects last approximately nine months from design to final completion. On site organisational support for the purpose of data collection is generally provided over the summer months from May to September with provision of up to 1-day of support prior to this from Spring.

A competition for best project is run every year with prizes for researchers and publicity for organisations with the opportunity for researchers to present key results at a monthly IOSH Branch meeting.

Regular communications, reviews and liaison between academic supervisors, the researchers and the organisations ensures ongoing requirements of the projects are met for the purpose of good governance.

As part of the strategy, results from research projects will be evaluated once completed with summaries of key findings shared with the IOSH community. These will be available on the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch webpage.

Sharing this information is vital to ensuring our profession can take the evidence forward to apply in similar circumstances and to learn what can be done. This work is yet to be started from the pilot programme but will be communicated and shared once completed.

What success has there been so far...

Every year has seen the success of projects grown both in terms of project successes in informing health and safety improvement and also in increasing the employability skills of student researchers.

There has been good diversity between the types of organisations involved - from facilities, to catering, to construction, to health care, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas. Equally there have been researchers from a variety of backgrounds with varying interests from chemistry, psychology, to engineering and construction.

In the first year, ten successful projects were completed as part of a pilot of the initiative in 2014/15. An evaluation of the initiative resulted in further development of the initiative to provide for greater governance and inter-organisational liaison. Feedback has been positive with regard to the value for organisations and researchers. Every year has seen greater interest and engagement with the initiative.

In November of every year we are delighted to celebrate the winner of best PIPER research project at a special reception with the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch meeting.

What benefit PIPER brought for you and importantly what PIPER brings to companies

“I will never praise PIPER enough. Among the numerous positive aspects of the PIPER experience, I had the opportunity to network and connect with influencers in the industry, to benefit from the training opportunities offered by Crossrail, to carry out qualitative research I had no experience with.

Finally, I had the opportunity to have an impact on such a big project like Crossrail. In fact, Crossrail had a recognition and rating scheme designed to evaluate, measure, recognise and celebrate health and safety excellence, so to incentivise contractors to be ‘world class’. The results of my dissertation could assist as an advice when carrying out scheme assessments on behavioural safety”.

Giulia Prencipe, Grad IOSH, MBPsS

Do you have an idea for a research project?

If you would like to be involved, please contact us at: piper@ioshnetworks.co.uk

For more details, please read the launch of the PIPER & IOSH branch presentation and our partnership strategy.

Watch out for the call for research projects and the annual workshop we hold every year.

Have a look at our PIPER Initiative documents:

Hear what our winners had to say about the PIPER project...