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SBRC current research

Learn more about the different research projects currently being undertaken at the Small Business Research Centre.

Review of the Banking Complaints and Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) Landscape for UK's SMEs

This project, commissioned by UK Finance, involves the SBRC providing the evidence base for a review led by Simon Walker, former Director General of the Institute of Directors. It focuses on the disputes between financial service providers and small businesses. The SBRC, led by Professor Blackburn, will undertake an independent analysis of a comprehensive range of evidence, including secondary and primary data sources. This will then be used to underpin evidence-based conclusions to support recommendations for the industry and government.

Exploring the London freelance workforce, 2016

Freelancers are important contributors to the London economy. This report presents data drawn from official UK government sources to build a portrait of the capital's 400,000 freelancers with regard to gender, age, occupation. The project, led by Professor John Kitching, was commissioned by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.

The Quality of New Forms of Self-Employment, OECD

This project, headed by Professor John Kitching, draws on secondary sources to investigate new forms of self-employment in the developed economies. Specifically, the aims are to: Identify emerging forms of self-employment and their key characteristics; compare the quality of new forms of self-employment with the more ‘traditional' models of full-time solo self-employment and employment'; explore what types of policies and programmes aim to ensure that these new forms of self-employment are ‘quality' labour market activities; and to provide some key messages for policy-makers.

Freelancing and Flexibility: How Freelancers Enable Organisations to Meet Their Labour Requirements, British Academy

Professor John Kitching and Dr Mara Iskandarova are working on a study that develops our understanding of the expanding UK freelance labour market by investigating working practices in two contrasting sectors - publishing and architecture. Prior research on freelancing has been limited and fragmented and has focused largely on worker characteristics. The study extends previous research by investigating the demand for freelancers' services and specifically the need for workforce flexibility.

The study investigates (1) the nature, extent and drivers of end-user demand for freelancers, and the effect of using freelancers on organisational performance; (2) freelancers' responses to end-users' flexibility policies and the impact on working practices. Overall, the study develops our understanding of how end-users and workers jointly produce a dynamic and flexible freelance labour market and the challenges the parties face.

European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy (ENERGISE)

Prof Audley Genus and Dr Marfuga Iskandarova are working on a 3.2 million euro Horizon 2020 project called ‘ENERGISE', funded by the European Commission.

ENERGISE is the European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy. ENERGISE seeks to transform energy use in households and communities across the UK and Europe and contribute to European policy-making on reducing energy consumption.

ENERGISE is an innovative pan-European research initiative set up to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. The project is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme for three years (2016-2019). ENERGISE develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe.

The ten-partner, ten country project brings 430,000 euro to Kingston University over three years, which will run until the end of 2019. ENERGISE is one of a number of activities undertaken over a number of years by the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) Europe, the steering committee of which Audley Genus is a member.

The research team at Kingston University are currently looking to identify interesting initiatives for reducing energy consumption in households and communities across the UK and Europe, inviting people to contact them about their ideas and projects. ENERGISE uses cutting-edge research techniques (eg. Living Labs) to directly observe existing energy cultures in a real-world setting and to test both household and community-level initiatives to reduce energy consumption.

Across Europe, there are a many people and organisations that take steps towards more sustainable, low-energy living and this initiative would like to showcase and learn from as many different sources as possible.

The ENERGISE team would like to hear and learn from:

  • Those involved in a project that seeks to change the way people use and consume energy; and
  • Those promoting energy efficiency and lower energy consumption in households, for example an NGO, an energy agency, a business, a group of neighbours or a social club.

To participate, please email your contact details and basic information about your project, or a project you are aware of, to, or phone Prof Audley Genus on 0208 417 5665.

Visit the website for further information about the project.

Professor Audley Genus, Kingston University lead investigator on the ENERGISE project, hopes that members of local community groups will get involved and let the Kingston University team know about the many energy initiatives that are taking place all around the country:

"Individual energy consumption is a function of who we are, where we come from, as well as the social and cultural contexts in which we live. We are really keen to hear from groups which are involved in any scale of activities that impact or try to influence the way people use and consume energy."

Projects that are selected as part of the research may contribute to European policy-making on reducing energy consumption. The projects may also be shared across 30 European countries through a database the ENERGISE team are creating on their website, and gain international recognition through scientific reports and policy papers.

The ENERGISE consortium includes ten research partners (universities, research institutes, enterprises and NGOs) from Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Contact us

Prof Robert Blackburn
Associate Dean for Research
Kingston Business School

Faculty of Business and Social Sciences
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