Economic and Social Research Council
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CAPACITY BUILDING IN BUSINESS RESEARCH AND ENGAGEMENT

It is vital that the UK maintains a strong supply of skilled people to enable the research base, business and society to respond to as yet unforeseen challenges and to identify future opportunities.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is building upon its commitment to support research and training essential to the international competitiveness of UK business with a new £6 million investment. The Capacity Building Clusters in Business Research and Engagment are designed to develop closer dialogue and collaboration between social science and the business sector through skilled people committed to the co-production of knowledge and its application to the business sector.

The Clusters initiative responds to recent Governments reviews such as Sainsbury, Leitch and the Innovation Nation White paper that have specifically highlighted the need to build expertise to contribute to innovation in business. The Leitch review called for an expansion of higher level skills to enable the UK to drive innovation, adapt and respond to new technologies and market opportunities and to improve leadership and management. The Government’s response to the Leitch report sets out the framework required to create the right culture for skills at all levels in part through a demand led approach. Collectively, the Research Councils will need to play a part in delivering this agenda through developing its partnerships with business and other sectors which employ the skills of trained researchers. A crucial aspect will be allowing business an opportunity to influence the content and delivery of skills programmes to develop highly skilled people who can apply and disperse research knowledge for wider economic and societal impact.

This new major investment by the ESRC seeks to facilitate the exchange and co-production of knowledge between the research base and business by investing in a new generation of researchers with the higher level skills and commitment to apply research knowledge to enterprise.

Four Capacity Building Clusters in Business Research and Engagement have been created under this initiative totalling a £6 million pound investment. The Clusters take as their focus one or more of the priorities set out in the ESRC Business Engagement Strategy and have a five year grant including a portfolio of training and knowledge exchange activities (including: CASE awards, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Business Placements and a Business Voucher Scheme).

Details of the Clusters are:

• Creative Industries in Scotland: Capitalising on Creativity led by Professor Barbara Townley at the University of St. Andrews. - £1,494,491

• Exeter Cluster in Sport, Leisure and Tourism led by Dr Tim Coles at the University of Exeter - £1,491,780

• Engaging Research for Business Transformation (EREBUS) (Energy, Financial Services, Health Technologies) led by Professor MA West at the University of Aston - £1,494,850

• ESRC Retail Industry Business Engagement Network (RIBEN) led by Professor Neil Wrigley at the University of Southampton - £1,454,650

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
ESRC Press Office:
Kelly Barnett (Tel: 01793 413032 / 07826874166, email: kelly.barnett@esrc.ac.uk)
Danielle Moore (Tel: 01793 413122, email: danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk)

1. Further on the Leitch Review: http://www.dius.gov.uk/publications/leitch.html 
Sainsbury Review: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/sainsbury_review/ 
Innovation Nation: http://www.dius.gov.uk/docs/home/ScienceInnovation.pdf

2. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

3. ESRC Society Today offers free access to a broad range of social science research and presents it in a way that makes it easy to navigate and saves users valuable time. As well as bringing together all ESRC-funded research and key online resources such as the Social Science Information Gateway and the UK Data Archive, non-ESRC resources are included, for example the Office for National Statistics. The portal provides access to early findings and research summaries, as well as full texts and original datasets through integrated search facilities. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

 

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