Marchmont Observatory

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Marchmont Observatory
Abbreviation Marchmont/SLIM
Formation 1998
Purpose To provide data and analysis for decision makers
Region served
South West (England)
Chris Evans (University of Exeter)
Assistant Director
Ben Neild
Affiliations South West RDA, Government Office for the South West, Office for National Statistics (ONS), Association for Regional Observatories (ARO)
Website Official website

The Marchmont Observatory conducts academic research in support of local government policy formation in the field of skills, employment and lifelong learning through good practice capture and dissemination, networking, the development of learning programmes and action based research.

Organizational history[edit]

Established by University of Exeter in 1998, following a £3m bid to the ADAPT Programme of the European Union, the Observatory was established initially as a partnership between the University of Exeter, the Open University, the BBC,[1] TUC, IBM, NETg and FT Management.[2] The early focus of the Observatory centered around the field of ICT and learning and a close collaboration with the University for Industry/learndirect.[3]


As part of its commitment to develop regional expertise, the Observatory has established the Skills and Learning Intelligence Module of the Regional Observatory, on behalf of partners in the region. Through this, intelligence and statistics on the labour and skills markets are provided to stakeholders in the South West.[4]

Because of its presence within the University the Observatory staff are able to draw upon the expertise of other parts of the University and work closely with the similar Research Centres often developing joint projects.[5]

Core activities[edit]

The aim of the Marchmont Observatory is to improve evidence-based practice in the field of lifelong learning. This is achieved through:

  • Supporting the exchange of ideas and good practice between practitioners, policy makers and researchers. This is done through supporting a nationwide and regional learning communities supported by virtual and actual networking arrangements;
  • Providing on-line knowledge management systems, including a good practice database and research databases, for users to access information and intelligence;
  • Stimulating action-based research into key themes emerging from user networks, including production of toolkits and learning programmes;
  • Collecting information on existing practice and relevant research, analysing it and making it intelligent and accessible for users;
  • Disseminating research and practice to practitioners and policy makers through a range of media, including web based and more traditional formats; and
  • Demonstrating and developing practitioners' understanding of the benefits of new technologies for knowledge creation and management.[6]

Skills and Learning Intelligence Module[edit]

The Skills and Learning Intelligence Module (SLIM) provides a source of robust and accessible evidence on the skills and learning needs of individuals and businesses across the South West to inform policy decisions, funding programmes, organisational and partnership strategies and individual projects.[7] The development of SLIM has been driven by the growing emphasis on the region as a focus for promoting sustainable economic and social development and a national emphasis on evidence based practice.

SLIM offers a range of services, to capture, synthesise and disseminate knowledge on skills and learning.

  • It develops on-line databases of research and data;
  • It drives discussion and analysis of this information through e-newsletters; a quarterly Bulletin; on-line discussions; workshops and thematic reports;
  • It offers individual advice and analysis through a help-desk and through direct working with the RDA and Regional Assembly; and
  • As a key module of the South West Regional Observatory, it will increasingly work with the other modules to contribute to a holistic understanding of the region's path to sustainable development.

SLIM supports the South West Regional Employment & Skills Board (SWRESB) which is 'the way in which key regional partners led by the RDA develop and deliver agreed plans to address the skills and employment needs of employers and individuals within the region'. It does this in its role as secretariat to the South West Research Forum where it works in partnership to identify gaps in current knowledge, secure resources and commission research to fill these gaps.[8]


As of this edit, this article uses content from "About the Marchmont Observatory", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.

  1. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation. "ICT Coach - ICT Links". BBC. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  2. ^ "Graduate School of Education :: Research :: Marchmont Observatory :: Research for the learning age". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  3. ^ "e-Learning Centre by Learning Light - Academic e-learning organisations". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  4. ^ "The Skills & Learning Intelligence Module". 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "News | Association for Learning Technology". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  7. ^ "South West Observatory (SWO) | Thematic Modules". SWO. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  8. ^ "Website details: Research for the learning age". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 

External links[edit]