‘The Impact of Business School Research’ published today by the ABS to support call to rebalance research funding

We are delighted to publish The Impact of Business School Research: Economic and Social Benefits’, which includes eleven case studies highlighting the far-reaching impact of business school research. As well as providing a resource for researchers in the sector, we will be using the publication to support our call for business and management studies to receive a greater share of research funding.

The publication features contributions from a diverse range of business schools, showing examples of impact across different sectors and areas of policy. Concrete evidence is shown in areas such as the automotive industry, social enterprise, defence, green energy, SMEs and employment relations.

It has been published in context of the greater emphasis placed on measuring the impact of research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and as a response to declining funding in the sector. The forthcoming academic year may be the first in over a decade that UK government sources will contribute less than 50% of total research income for business and management studies.

On behalf our members, the Association has been lobbying for an incoming government to recognise business and management research, and the impact it has across the economy. In our ‘Manifesto for Growth’, the Association accepts the importance of focusing research funding on growth sectors such as STEM, but we argue that the investment is too narrow. Broadening that investment to include business and management research, and encouraging collaboration across business sectors and academic fields will increase UK universities’ potential to commercialise inventions to the benefit of the economy and apply its innovations to the benefit of society.

We are very grateful to everyone who submitted case studies. All case studies will be published in a ‘case study bank’ on our new website which will be coming be launched in around mid-April 2015.

Commenting on the report and our call to address research funding Professor Robin Mason, Dean, University of Exeter Business School, and Chair of the Association of Business Schools’ Research Committee, said:  “This publication gives real examples of where business school research has formed the basis for changing and transforming business practice and/or policy, to produce tangible and significant benefits—such as higher profits, or more effective policies. In short, these case studies illustrate that UK business school academics are actively providing solutions to real problems faced by businesses and society. As the UK continues to look for new sources of growth, these case studies show that our business schools are critical to a thriving and successful economy. Yet funding for business and management research has fallen by 4.7% compared to rises in other fields such as STEM subjects, where IT, for example, has seen a rise of 26.1%. The UK’s business schools want to see funding rebalanced to ensure that business and management can add value to STEM, and other research fields, by increasing our universities’ capacity to turn world-class innovations to the benefit of successful businesses and a better society.”

Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Shadow Minister of State for Employment, who is referenced as a policy-maker in one of the case studies, said:

“It is clear from this publication that research undertaken in the UK’s business schools, addressing challenges faced by businesses from major multinationals to small firms, has a far reaching impact across our economy and society. Research is delivering benefits to employees as well as boosting profitability. I was interviewed for one of the case studies highlighted, and can attest to the usefulness of thorough research for informing debate, in turn influencing policy.  The UK has a great track record for first class research and world-leading enterprises.  They are coming together in our business schools.”

The publication ‘The Impact of Business School Research: Economic and Social Benefits’ is available here.