April 13, 2017, by Charlotte Anscombe

Nottingham academic works with the British Army

An Assistant Professor from the School of Politics and International Relations, Dr Louise Kettle, recently spent time based in Warminster conducting research and working with the British Army.

The prestigious one month placement was organised in conjunction with The Whitehall & Industry Group – a charity which aims to bring together business, government and the not-for-profit sector to learn from each other. The work was also supported by the Army Historical Branch in the Ministry of Defence.

During Dr Kettle’s placement she spent time with a number of different teams and personnel at the Land Warfare Centre. She attended a conference, participated in meetings and sat in on lectures and seminars at the Junior Staff Centre, gaining a good overall picture of how this part of the British Army works. In addition, she had the opportunity to conduct interviews, surveys and focus groups across a range of ranks to gain further insights for her own research work.

“Spending time with the British Army on a day-to-day basis allowed me to gain a much greater insight into the workings and culture of the organisation and people within it.” Dr Kettle claimed. “Staff were extremely friendly and helpful and it was hugely beneficial to be able to get to know serving personnel and to talk to them informally over coffee as well as formally in interviews.”

The work conducted during the placement builds on Dr Kettle’s previous work on learning from past military operations in the Middle East. It also aims to support British Army endeavours to learn from and engage with these lessons, with the overall endeavour that the placement will prove to be mutually beneficial.

The Whitehall & Industry Group was established by the Cabinet Office in the mid-1980s, with the purpose of connecting people and best practice between government and business. The placement scheme has been running for over 30 years and the group has become the go-to organisation for cross-sector learning. They have recently begun to work with higher education institutions and Dr Kettle’s placement formed part of a pilot scheme with The University of Nottingham.

Now the placement is complete Dr Kettle has begun to write up her findings and is working in close partnership with members of the Land Warfare Centre on co-publications and considering future research projects.

Dr Kettle claimed “One of the great things about the scheme is that you create a network of contacts with whom you can work together to develop new ideas. The scope of work on this project has already increased since my initial proposal and there are plenty more opportunities in the future.” She added “I would recommend this scheme to anyone.”



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