Research impact

The School of Business and Economics is committed to producing research that is useful to the economy and society.

We encourage and support research that has a positive impact on the world outside academia in a number of ways.

Engagement in enterprising activities, including impactful research, is an important element in the evaluation of academic staff’s work performance.
Our Associate Dean for Research and Innovation plays a role in developing and implementing policies, resources, incentives and rewards for academic staff engaging in impactful research. Reporting to them is a Research Impact Coordinator.
Our Director of Research Impact provides expert guidance to individual staff in how to develop and resource research projects that can make a difference, and to monitor and oversee activity of this kind across the School. This role is held by a senior academic who reports to the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation.
The School’s Strategic Advisory Board takes a keen interest in the real world applications of the School’s research, and a member of the Board has a specific remit to work closely with the School’s senior management on research impact.

The University’s Research and Innovation Office (RIO) supports all Schools with funding and expertise. A member of the RIO team is dedicated to supporting research with impact, from initial funding bids through to the implementation of research findings in companies and public bodies. As well as supporting School staff in obtaining Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) bids, the RIO also channels funding from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) in order to deliver research that matters.

Here are some of the current impactful research projects of academics in the School of Business and Economics. 

If you would like to benefit from these or find out more, please contact the member of staff named, or alternatively the School’s Director of Research Impact, Professor John Arnold.

Business in Emerging Markets

  • Research by Dr Michelle Richey and Professor M. N. Ravishankar with organisations supporting refugee entrepreneurship is being used to train refugees to start and maintain a new business in difficult circumstances, and to spread good practice in social entrepreneurship.
  • Research by Dr Huw Edwards is informing thinking in government and amongst employer representatives about how to do trade deals in the post-Brexit environment.

Digital Innovations

  • Dr Fiona Ellis-Chadwick has developed a method and tool for assessing the extent to which businesses in a geographical area are exploiting online opportunities, thereby informing businesses and local authorities in developing prosperity on their patch.
  • Professor Louise Cooke and colleagues are working with national and international library bodies to improve their performance and ability to serve their publics.

Corporate Governance

  • Professor Amon Chizema served as Lead Consultant (2018-2020) of the international expert committee that drafted the Principles of Corporate Governance for the African Union.
  • Professor Catherine Casey and colleagues are working with multi-national companies in China to study the impact of Global Framework Agreements on governance and corporate social responsibility activities (funder: Hans-Böckler Foundation).
  • Drawing on his research into shareholder-orientated corporate governance practices (funder: ESRC), Dr Gerhard Schnyder has collaborated with Inner City Fund to inform the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about regulatory regimes in global economies.

Energy and Sustainability

  • Dr Alok Choudhary’s research underpins a toolkit that enables organisations to identify how to operate in a more environmentally and financially sustainable way, especially in the context of transport and supply chains.
  • Two separate but related streams of research, one by Professor David Saal and Dr Maria Nieswand, and the other by Professor Karligash Glass and Professor Anthony Glass (who is now at University of Sheffield), have been used extensively to inform and influence the process by which Ofwat and the water companies have negotiated over prices for water and sewerage services from 2020 to 2025.

Decision Analytics

  • Professors Gilberto Montibeller and Alberto Franco have developed tools and techniques to help managers identify and prioritise risks, and strategies for dealing with them, across many different contexts, especially regarding threats to animal and human health.
  • Professor Alistair Cheyne has developed an audit questionnaire to assess workforce attitudes to safety, which is being used around the world by organisations to improve safety awareness and practices and monitor organisational safety culture.

Future of Work

  • Dr Antuela Tako and colleagues have developed collaborative computer simulation techniques to improve the design of services and the roles of staff within them, especially in the health and care sectors.
  • Research by Professor Anne Souchon on the measurement of marketing performance is being used by companies to get a better fix on their customers’ satisfaction and perceptions of service quality, and to identify how to maximise these.
  • Dr Iain Coyne is working with several organisations to improve their policies on preventing bullying and upholding dignity at work, and also delivering training in those areas.
  • Dr Cheryl Travers has pioneered innovative techniques for enabling people to reflect on their performance and set and achieve meaningful goals. These have been used by many individuals and organisations to improve personal development and team performance.
  • Research conducted with colleagues by Professor John Arnold has led to development of a mid-career self-assessment tool that can be used by individuals and organisations to improve career opportunities and satisfaction.
  • Research by Dr Ian Herbert and colleagues is tracking how companies organise functions like HR and accounting, and has produced guidance on the organisation of this work and the education and development of those who carry it out.