Catalyst and University of Bedfordshire develop sector-leading research initiative

Katie Prowse and Zoe Cox

Catalyst has joined forces with the University of Bedfordshire to develop a sector-leading research initiative to help solve key issues faced by housing associations.

Following a rigorous selection process, two members of the Catalyst team will complete a two-year Masters Degree through a programme of research into global and national problems facing the housing sector.

Catalyst’s Policy and Insight Manager, Zoe Cox, will be researching the viability of housing associations generating their own energy through renewable and sustainable sources to help benefit residents living with fuel poverty.

Katie Prowse, Project Manager at Catalyst, will be investigating the level of preparation that registered providers (RPs) have in place to meet tough government targets on carbon emissions. The study will examine how RPs can meet strict deadlines while ensuring affordability and the long-term benefit for customers.

This pilot initiative will pave the way for Catalyst to lead on further collaborative research and development into strategic and operational challenges that exist across the housing sector.

In an industry first, Catalyst ran an open competition looking for ideas and ownership from colleagues across the organisation. Team members were invited to propose solutions to genuine business issues such as the introduction of a Future Homes Standard for new build homes.

The shortlisted applicants were given the chance to pitch their proposals to the Catalyst leadership team in a Dragons Den-style event. The initiative generated a buzz of excitement by encouraging members of the Catalyst team to take ownership of problems at every level and to demonstrate their innovative and creative thinking.

Ian McDermott, Chief Executive of Catalyst, said: “Catalyst is delighted to partner with the University of Bedfordshire to deliver this exciting opportunity for colleagues. Innovation is increasingly at the core of excellent organisations and it’s right that we continue to find new ways to solve problems being faced in the housing sector. It shows how Catalyst is leading the way when it comes to innovation and creative thinking.”

Dr James Bishop, Senior Lecturer in Construction Management and Building Technology at the University of Bedfordshire, said: “It’s exciting to work with people who are looking ahead and are keen to collaborate with the University to develop solutions, which will have the potential not only to make a difference to the lives of Catalyst clients, but for future impact across the housing association sector as a whole.”