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Industrial Secondment: Developing Funding Streams to Support Future Management of Green and Blue Infrastructure

Industrial Secondment: Developing Funding Streams to Support Future Management of Green and Blue Infrastructure

C-DICE is delighted to offer an exciting opportunity for a 3-month secondment for postdoctoral researchers with charity partner, Hay Mills Foundation Trust. The postdoctoral researcher seconded to this project would be mentored by the research team that has been working on The Lost World for the past four years. The benefit to the secondee is the experience gained in translating research findings into real world action aimed at environmental regeneration and community building.  This experience will serve the secondee well when they consider how to deliver impact in their future bids for research funding.

This project would be ideal for a postdoctoral researcher with an interest in Business, Environmental Science, Civil Engineering, or Green infrastructure research. 

About Hay Mills Foundation Trust

Hay Mills Foundation Trust has two main tasks. Firstly, to maintain and strengthen the links between Webster and Horsfall and the local community in Hay Mills/Tyseley that have existed for many years.  Webster and Horsfall is a family-owned business that recently celebrated its 300th anniversary in the ‘metal bashing’ sector in Birmingham. Currently it manufactures specialist, high-tech wire for a range of applications, but recently has expanded its operations with the development of Tyseley Energy Park, which is committed to delivering low and zero carbon power, transport, heat, waste and recycling solutions for a greener, cleaner, healthier Birmingham.  The Trust works with a wide range of community groups and businesses via workshops and other events, to maintain and strengthen ties with the community around Webster and Horsfall’s contribution to the Net Zero agenda, including the facilitation of opportunities to volunteer. Secondly, cataloguing the archive material for Webster & Horsfall and its associate companies held by City of Birmingham Library Archive Department, and engaging with the local community to promote the history and heritage of the Hay Mills site.  This is all done with the aid of volunteers.

Project Background

There is a neglected 18 hectare area of green space in Hay Mills, referred to locally as “The Lost World”, which is at the strategic heart of a wider network of blue and green infrastructure, including the Grand Union Canal and the River Cole valley.  The site is centrally placed in the East Birmingham Corridor, which is undergoing a major redevelopment by Birmingham City Council, as well as being adjacent to the Tyseley Environmental Economic Development (TEED) area. The Lost World has the potential to be a valuable community asset and contribute significantly to Birmingham’s move to Net Zero. A project of environmental improvements and community outreach is currently underway, funded by the European Regional Development Fund; however, funding for the site’s on-going management remains to be found.  Interviews have been carried out with fourteen local businesses and organisations with diverse interests ranging from high-end manufacturing, through heritage railways and canal infrastructure management, to faith groups, educationalists, and art charities, to explore the value that might accrue to them from this green space, and to see whether this would be sufficient to encourage them to participate in a business model that would fund the site into the future. The interviews suggest a strong interest on the part of these businesses/organisations, but no one is keen to play the part of a ‘first mover’. Earlier research has indicated the need for a social entrepreneur to work with the businesses to break the log-jam; an individual is sought to fill that role. The role will involve reviewing and assimilating the data gathered so far from the interviews and developing an understanding of the development environment in the area surrounding The Lost World.  The aim will be to use this knowledge in conjunction with the local businesses/organisations to create business models (compelling narratives of value generation and capture) that can break the log jam and begin to secure a funding stream to cover management of The Lost World in the future, thus delivering its potential contribution to Net Zero in an urban infrastructure context.

Job Purpose

To work with local businesses/organisations to create compelling narratives of value generation and capture (business models) aimed at providing a funding stream to support management of The Lost World going forward.

Secondment Details

Number of secondments: This advert is for one secondment.

Duration: This secondment is three months in duration at full-time (or prorated for part-time equivalent)

Location: Hybrid (Remote and on site)

Salary: University Pay Scale Spine 26 to 36 (£31,411 to £42,155 p.a. prorated for duration of post), depending on current postdoctoral researcher salary. Please note that university overheads will not be paid due to the developmental opportunity this presents to the postdoctoral researcher to undertake an industrial secondment. Expenses related to authorised travel for this secondment will be covered.

Special Conditions

This industrial placement is open to postdoctoral researchers based at C-DICE universities. Successful candidates will be required to seek permission from their supervisor and employing organisation to undertake the secondment. The project will commence as soon as possible. In cases where participation in this secondment would require a no-cost extension to an EPSRC grant, EPSRC has agreed to grant this automatically on request.

All staff have a statutory responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves, others and the environment and to prevent harm by their acts or omissions. All staff are therefore required to adhere to the Hay Mills Health, Safety and Environmental Policy & Procedures.

All staff should hold a duty and commitment to observing the Hay Mills Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy and procedures at all times. Duties must be carried out in accordance with relevant Equality & Diversity legislation and policies/procedures.

After the Secondment

  • Confirmation of expenditure
  • Outcomes (e.g. publications, engagement activities) for impact tracking
  • A report highlighting key findings
  • The postdoc may be asked to engage with C-DICE events (e.g. Annual Conference or Business Engagement Events) and to lead a C-DICE training activity in their area of expertise.


Essential Criteria

  • The ability to gain the confidence of individual businesses/organisations
  • The ability to work in a multi-cultural environment
  • The ability to truly listen to people and understand what they are saying
  • The ability to build relationships across a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds and in a wide range of contexts
  • The ability to write creatively to translate complexity into compelling narratives for action
  • Excellent spoken and written English
  • The postdoc must be currently employed by a C-DICE HEI (home institution) or C-DICE affiliated partner. Please note that postdocs at all UKCRIC and ERA universities may apply for this position.
  • This post is not intended for permanent teaching staff / lecturers.

Desirable Criteria

  • An interest in business, business models, and value.
  • An interest in narratives and storytelling as motivators for action
  • An interest in community regeneration
  • An interest in sustainability and resilience
  • The ability to work independently
  • An interest in Environmental Science, Civil Engineering, Business, or Green infrastructure research


Deadline for applications17 May 2023 at 16:00 **extended deadline**
Confirmation interviewsw/c 22 May 2023 (TBC)

How to Apply

Applications may be submitted any time before the deadline.

  • Sign up to Inkpath. Then link to C-DICE. For more details on how, click here.
  • Apply via Inkpath using Activity Code DSAB0010 or click the button above.
  • When you sign up for the activity, you will receive a link to an online application form.
  • You will need:
    • Applicant details (education & employment background)
    • Cover letter stating your available start date (max 500 words)
    • A CV

Supporting documents, any questions about the role, or support in the application process should be emailed to C-DICE at

Please note that if you are successful, your supervisor will be contacted for a letter/email of support.

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