In addition to supporting individual research development, the IRC has a number of research groups; these are strategic groupings facilitating the achievement of the IRC's objectives by concentrating on collaborative projects and programmes that relate to one or more of the IRC's key themes.
Research groups typically comprise staff and PhD students along with affiliates from within Heriot-Watt University and associated researchers from outside the university, with some projects cutting across clusters, and some individuals active in more than one research cluster.
Groups may be proposed by any member of the IRC. They should have a distinctive focus within the broad framework of the key research themes, which are agreed for a rolling five-year planning period and reviewed annually by the AGM. Any research group should normally comprise a combination of senior and early career researchers as well as postgraduates; groups may invite affiliates and associates in consultation with the Executive Committee. The establishment of new groups can happen at any time during the year; new groups are formally approved by the AGM for a rolling three-year period. Research groups are subject to regular review, and their leaders provide written reports to meetings of the Executive Committee. The membership of the Executive Committee is drawn from among the research group leaders.
There are currently five research groups, established when the IRC was founded in 2013:
This group builds on links with research users in the fields of media, representation, music and memory in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
This group focuses on issues raised by culture contact in the context of migration.
This group currently focuses on marketing, tourism, hospitality, leadership, entrepreneurship as lenses into our understanding of culture and society.
This group examines how the arts seek to document, interpret, influence and reflect upon society.
This group focuses on the endogenous development of communities, localities and regions, the relationship between culture and place, and utilisation of heritage as a resource.