New Scheme Unveiled for “One-Stop Shop” on Veterans’ Research

Anglia Ruskin University’s Veterans and Families Institute (VFI) has been awarded 160,000 to set up a comprehensive online resource for research into all aspects of military veterans and their families.

The proposed Veterans Research Hub (VRH) will bring together UK and international literature and research resources on military veterans and their families. The information will be readily accessible and will be aimed at stimulating research, influencing policy and improving the delivery of services.

VFI was set up in April 2014 to influence national policy on military veterans and their families and to develop a network of likeminded academics and institutions. It is the only UK-based institute with a focus on the holistic needs of veterans and their families.

VFI’s two partners in the scheme are Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), which seeks to promote the successful transition of Armed Forces personnel and their families into civilian life, and Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC.

The grant of £160,000, which comes from FiMT and Lord Ashcroft, will be spread over an initial two-year period. The money will be used to fund the recruitment of a project director who will lead the initiative and be responsible for developing the VRH concept, bringing it to an initial operating capability.

Once the scheme is up and running, it will enable users to search for research and evidence by subject area, identify research funding and build links in areas of common interest. A financial structure will be developed to ensure that the project is sustainable beyond the first two years.

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, the Director of the VFI, said: “The development of a Veterans Research Hub will enable researchers throughout the UK and overseas to share information and collaborate on joint research projects.

“It will also allow members and former members of the Armed Forces, and any other interested members of the public, to access the latest up-to-date findings on research into veterans and their families.”

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, who is Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said: “The review I conducted into veterans’ transition suggested that over 90% of the public thought that Armed Forces personnel were damaged by their careers and that the first casualty of transition and resettlement was information.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of poor information about and we are determined to confront this problem. This new capability will enable policy makers, the Forces, the media, the charity sector and the public to have ready access to high quality research and information. It will result in far better provision and outcomes for Armed Forces leavers and veterans.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Establishing a Veterans Research Hub was one of the original programme objectives set by the Big Lottery Fund when FiMT was first founded. By partnering with Anglia Ruskin University and Lord Ashcroft, we are now able to take forward the concept and make significant advances on providing an evidence base from which to influence policy makers and service deliverers.”

“The development of a Veterans Research Hub will enable researchers throughout the UK and overseas to share information and collaborate on joint research projects.”