About

The Veterans & Families Research Hub (VFR Hub) was initiated by the  Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT)Lord Ashcroft and Anglia Ruskin University to:

“Provide an accessible, contemporary and authoritative repository of UK and international research-related resources and literature on military veterans and their families, including transitions to civilian lives, that informs and stimulates research, policy development, improved service delivery and journalistic enquiry.”

The Hub has been developed to enable a broad range of international users to share in the creation, discovery and understanding of evidence-based information about the military veteran family.  It is designed for those involved in research and its outputs to create, communicate and collaborate more efficiently.  It will support statutory and charity organisations to create better targeted and more efficient policies and services, and will assist in developing a better understanding of veterans’ matters across communities.

The Veterans & Families Research Hub is built to serve the needs of the broadest range of users, including academics and researchers, policy makers, statutory and voluntary service providers, the media and the public, including the military and veteran community. Depending on individual interests the Hub will enable users to:

  • Search for research and evidence by subject area
  • Interrogate a database of relevant literature
  • Identify researchers and institutions with common interests
  • Work as a community of interest to generate and share ideas and innovations
  • Raise questions and engage in discussions
  • Identify research gaps to facilitate funding and collaborative opportunities

The Hub harnesses academic research to facilitate knowledge exchange at a level and in a medium appropriate to the user and will help to bridge the gap of understanding and collaboration across communities.

The Veterans & Families Research Hub is built around an index and map of current and historic research into a variety of themes:.

The index is easily searchable, using common internet methods, and enables users to find material relevant to their enquiry quickly and simply.  Search results are easily tailored and each item offers a summary of the research in accessible language, key data about the research and a link directly to the source material on the web.  In parallel with the index is a 3D map providing a snapshot of existing research, highlighting themes and topics where there is scope for new or further research.

In addition to the research functions, the Hub will develop a series of short lay-language summaries of research plus videos, graphics and animations to enable busy users to comprehend key issues in formats suitable for sharing.

The Hub also includes a range of tools for communication, including: themed discussion boards, direct mail, chatrooms, a register and network of experts, a calendar of events, and links to news, insights and relevant social/professional media sites.  These tools will help to connect and inform those with similar interests within and across organisations and disciplines.  The veteran stakeholder community is large and dispersed, and opportunities to share knowledge widely, coherently and on an enduring basis are limited. The Hub will enable improved distribution of information and the promotion of best practice by encouraging discussion and collaboration across communities of interest.

In order to be of real benefit to the military veteran community, the Veterans & Families Research Hub must connect people from around the world and enable them to talk, ask questions, and share insights and research. We are seeking people to contribute to the following:

  • Finding lots of high quality research for the Hub presents a challenge, and we seek help from researchers and practitioners in relevant disciplines across a variety of countries to submit research items that they have produced, cited or read. This can be done in a number of ways; to find out more go here or get in touch.
  • Discussion about important matters needs people. Please visit the discussion boards to see what is being said and add your thoughts or start a new conversation. There are only two rules in the forums:
  1. Be polite
  2. Be prepared to back up what you say with evidence

 

Discussions and research can generate differences of opinion, so we also need support from Hub users to moderate discussions and the submission of material to the Hub. A good balance of knowledge and skills are important, but the most important talents are objectivity and open-mindedness. If you are interested, please get in touch.

Those who get most actively involved will benefit from membership of a motivated and collaboratively-minded community, access to pre-filtered and structured research, increased visibility of their own work and a higher profile for themselves and their institutions