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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

‘Impressed, but more could be done’ – Prof Dibben updates SUMS on SCA-Emp progress

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

An ongoing ESRC-funded project, led by Professor Pauline Dibben of the Management School, is beginning to yield some interesting findings.

SCA-Emp, which is examining supply chain accounting and employment practices in the automotive and textile industries in South Africa and Brazil, aims to explore the current role and future potential of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards.

The project team has now gathered a great deal of information using questionnaires and interviews in both sectors and countries, as well as interviews with government officials and trade unionists. They have found out how employees are managed, the types of relationships that companies have with their suppliers and clients, and how companies monitor the HR practices of suppliers.

Professor Dibben commented: “We have been impressed by how companies are trying to treat their employees with care, and by the close relationships that they have with some of their suppliers. However, more could be done to treat people fairly so that they get the most from employees irrespective of gender, race and disability. Companies could also improve how they share best practice with suppliers.”

The team has used initial findings and guidelines on labour standards to put together the first version of a ‘SCA-Emp diagnostic toolkit’ – a guide that can help companies to use accounting to improve HR in their own company and share best practice with their suppliers and clients. During the summer, they have shared a draft version of the toolkit through workshops in the UK and in Brazil. Workshop participants have included company owners, accountants, lawyers, supply chains managers, HR managers, representatives from employer federations and academics. A short video summarising these workshops can be seen here:

Shortly, the team is holding further workshops in South Africa. After this, they will begin exploring the findings in more detail, writing research papers, updating the toolkit, and then making it available to companies.

For more information about the project’s findings, the workshops, or the toolkit please check the other pages in this website or contact Prof Dibben: p.dibben@sheffield.ac.uk

Prof Lee’s paper acknowledged by the Academy of Management

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

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A paper by Professor Bill Lee, Head of the Accounting and Finance division at the Management School, was acknowleged at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Vancouver, Canada.

Co-written with Professor Cathy Cassell of Leeds University Business School, the duo’s paper entitled ‘Understanding translation work in the multi-organizational translation of ideas‘, was placed as runner-up for the Carolyn Dexter Award for Best International Paper.

There are only two all-academy annual awards, this being one of them. There were 3,646 accepted papers at the conference this year – each of the 24 divisions put forward their best international paper for consideration. Lee and Cassell’s paper was put forward by the Organizational Development and Change Division.

Recycling e-waste worth up to 3.7 billion euros to Europe

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Lenny Koh

Recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) more effectively could be worth up to 3.7 billion euros to the European market as well as reducing environmental pollution, an award winning research paper has found.

Professor Lenny Koh from the Management School along with colleagues Federica Cucciella, Idiano D’Adomo and Paolo Rosa from the University of L’Aquila and Politecnico di Milano have recently published a paper entitled ‘Recycling of WEEEs: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams’.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate between three and five per cent each year.

Professor Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) and a world leading expert on low carbon supply chains, said: “We have been working on the collaborative research for several years with the University of L’Aquila and Politecnico di Milano. This builds from our prior research on turning waste into resource, resource efficiency and circular economy.

“In particular, this research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”

The paper presents a comprehensive framework supporting the decision-making process of multiple electronic recycling centres. The assessment defined the potential revenues coming from the recovery of valuable materials, such as gold and platinum, in 14 electronic items including notebooks, monitors, smartphones, hard drives and tablets using current and future disposed quantities in Europe.

It found that recycling electronic waste was equal to 2.15 billion euros in overall potential revenue to the European market in 2014 and could rise to 3.67 billion euros by 2020. As well as providing a significant source of revenue, more effective recovery of materials could benefit the environment by reducing manufacturers’ reliance on unprocessed resources.

Professor Koh added: “The recycling of e-waste could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and, consequently, it could contribute in reducing environmental pollution.

“Given that EU has tried over the last two decades to develop a circular economy based on the exploitation of resources recovered by wastes, this research is key evidence to influence both industry and government on the financial and economic value of materials recovery of WEEE.”

With the development of new electronic items and waste set to increase, the research highlights the need for manufacturers and recycling centres to work more closely together in order to recover more material from disposed equipment. It also recommends needed the development of more flexible recycling plants able to intercept different types of end of life products.

Following publication earlier this month, the research has been recognised by academic publisher Elsevier with the prestigious Atlas Award.

The award recognises scientific research that has an impact on people around the world and is selected by an advisory board based on suggestions from the publishers of Elsevier’s 1,800 journals each month.

Professor Gill Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “I am delighted to hear that Professor Koh and her colleagues have been recognised with the Elsevier Atlas Award. This insightful work demonstrates the significant impact research here at the University can have on our world and the environment.”

An award ceremony for the presentation of the Elsevier Atlas Award will be announced soon.

Reboot for City Region’s Low Carbon Sector

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

New leadership team to drive the region’s low carbon sector forward

Significant changes are underway within Sheffield City Region’s low carbon sector – the team responsible for representing the sustainability and low carbon sectors across the Sheffield City Region have chosen three new Chairs to lead the group for the next 12 months. The Group will also be rebranded to become the Sustainability Partnership for Business, Innovation and Skills Group.

Professor Lenny Koh (University of Sheffield), Oliver Coppard (Sheffield City Region LEP) and Teresa Hitchcock (DLA Piper) will represent the education, public and private sectors respectively as co-chairs of the group, elected by their peers from the sector.

Professor Koh said:

“We’re really thrilled to be taking on the challenge of driving this sector forward in Sheffield City Region. Given what is going on at a national and international level, the opportunity to develop a thriving, growing sector could not be bigger or more exciting.

“Over the coming weeks and months our priority will be to listen to as many voices as we can from across the region’s businesses, innovation hubs, local authorities and third sector organisations, so that we know exactly what our industry needs from the Sheffield City Region if we’re going to move forward.

“With the Northern Powerhouse and the devolution agenda moving forward so quickly, there is a real, once in a generation chance to get the support from government that our low carbon sector needs. There are some big challenges ahead, but with the right support we really can exploit our well-earned global reputation for excellence and innovation.”    

The Partnership will continue feeding into the Sheffield City Region growth plan, through initiatives such as the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), run by Professor Koh, Teresa Hitchcock will represent the Partnership at the Local Enterprise Partnership Sector Group meetings and Oliver will link in and ensure good collaboration with local and national public sector bodies.

Over the coming months, the new Chairs of the Partnership have committed to a ‘leadership and learning’ model, engaging with the wider low carbon sector through a series of events and meetings across the region.

The first outing for the new look group will be at the launch of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre’s (AREC) SCEnAT+ tool in London on the 24 Sept 2015 sponsored by Microsoft. The AREC is a University of Sheffield project led by Professor Koh that seeks to develop resource efficiency within the advanced materials and manufacturing, energy, agritech and food, healthcare and transport industries.

Philanthropy in the arts – can artists lead a change in the sector?

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Dr Marta Herrero, a member of the Marketing and Cultural Industries division at the Management School, has been asked to attend a panel session on philanthropy in the arts.

Having researched the area in detail, she will be a lively participant at the event, hosted by Leeds-based organisation, Arts Funding & Philanthropy. The event, to be held at the Carriageworks, Leeds, on Wednesday 19 August, will discuss artist-led philanthropy, and whether artists are key to ensuring a step-change in funding for the arts and culture.

The panel will lead discussion on the continued squeeze on arts funding – how sustainable or realistic is it for local and regional galleries, museums and theatres to make up the funding shortfall and foster thriving communities?

Chaired by Prof Ann Summer, public art officer at the University of Leeds, the panel joining Dr Herrero includes Richard Andrews, Associate Director of Centre for New Music and Audio Technologies (Berkeley, USA); Keranjeet Virdee, CEO of South Asian Arts; and Rory Wardroper, fundraising consultant.

This event forms part of the National Summer School for Arts Fundraising and Leadership – you can sign up to attend here.

Read more about Marta’s research into arts sponsorship and philanthropy in Review magazine:

Employer sponsored volunteering – filling in the gaps

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Personnel in large companies want to volunteer, and third-sector organisations would like welcome them with open arms – so why is employer-sponsored volunteering still not reaching its full potential in the UK?

Research by Dr Jon Burchell from Sheffield University Management School, alongside Dr Joanna Cook at Hull University Business School, has identified four ‘gaps’ which, if filled, could encourage growth in this activity.

Dr Burchell said: “There are benefits for employees and companies with volunteering, such as job satisfaction and staff retention. And given the level of cuts and lack of funding available for third-sector organisations, volunteers are a vital resource. So there is interest from the voluntary sector to engage businesses, but there are hurdles from each perspective.

“For the voluntary sector, time and resource is a problem. Facilitating an activity for a business which wants to spend some time with them requires both of these, for example – training of their staff, and they have little going spare. Also, volunteers don’t often want to partake in activities that might be very useful to the organisation, such as accounting. They might want to come and paint a room or plant a tree – but the organisation could benefit more from the professional services they offer in their day jobs.

“Conversely, large organisations become frustrated by the ‘red tape’ they have to complete for volunteering activities, such as risk assessment forms and health and safety procedures – especially when they are sending large numbers of staff.”

Read the Financial Times’ coverage of these findings here.

Dr Burchell and Dr Cook suggest that relationships between the businesses and third-sector organisations need be facilitated – they work best when both groups can work with someone who manages the relationship and ensures that they’re a good fit. This will require infrastructure and funding, but would help to overcome the four gaps identified by the research team:

Skills gap: Volunteers should consider using their professional skills in the volunteer organisation
Capacity gap: Third-sector groups must get to the point where they have the infrastructure to accommodate volunteers, and also pitch the benefits of a relationship to large organisations
Knowledge gap: When relationships are formed, they rarely understand the difficulties experienced by the other group
Infrastructure gap: Relationships between businesses and third-sector organisations work well when they’re ‘brokered’ – there is a benefit to someone looking at each party’s needs, and matching successfully

Dr Burchell and Dr Cook discussed these gaps further on a recent radio interview – listen to it here.

For more information on the gaps identified by the research team, click here.

Digital healthcare innovation comes to Sheffield

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Forty enterprising young people from across Europe are in Sheffield to kick-off a series of EU-funded workshops, aimed at training and developing innovative ICT entrepreneurs.

The delegates, from 19 countries, are using their time on the Startify7 project at the University of Sheffield to work on entrepreneurial ideas around digital healthcare. After spending last week developing concepts in teams, they will do further refinement and pitch to a panel of judges on Thursday.

Three teams who are deemed to have the most innovative ideas then attend a follow-up workshop in Brussels in September. Professor Tim Vorley, Chair in Entrepreneurship at Sheffield University Management School, is leading the project which was funded by a European Commission Horizon 2020 grant. He said: “It’s so inspiring to see budding entrepreneurs explore the complex but burgeoning world of digital healthcare innovation. The international nature of the project ensures that we’re considering cultural and budgeting factors and all attendees are benefitting from a global exchange of ideas.

“This is the first in a full programme of workshops to be held all over Europe, at partner organisations in Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands. I have taught on this programme, alongside my colleagues Dr Robert Wapshott and Kate Penney, and it’s been amazing hearing the initial ideas coming from teams, exploring areas such as innovative delivery through the use of drones, and digital products such as apps for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled.”

Held at the Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), delegates are working with staff from relevant University of Sheffield research teams such as CREED (the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development) and ScHARR (the School of Health and Related Research) to build on their ideas and benefit from academic expertise in the fields of healthcare and innovation. They also visited the Digital Catapult Centre in London to hear about the work of technologists working at the frontiers of digital healthcare.

A visiting tutor on the workshop, Jorge Gonzalez from partner project GET Health, summed up the timely nature of Startify7: “Events like this are integral to challenging and developing the future of digital health in Europe. It is vital that we engage a bright, technically minded generation in innovations for this area of research as, given the pace of digital, their ideas may be changing lives in just a few years’ time.”

Find out more about Startify7 and its up-coming European workshops here: www.startify7.eu

A clear approach to new ideas: Dr Kamal Birdi’s work highlighted by the ESRC

Friday, July 24th, 2015

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His work on creativity and innovation in the workplace has gained momentum over the last decade, and with the launch of a CLEAR IDEAS iPad app earlier this year, Dr Kamal Birdi’s work on the framework is starting to make a significant impact on public services in the Sheffield City Region.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have highlighted Kamal’s study as a key impact case-study on their website, focusing on how the CLEAR IDEAS innovation development model has improved cost-efficiency in service delivery for public sector organisations, leading to savings of £1.7million for social care services in Sheffield.

Click here to read the whole article on the ESRC website.

Kamal explained the benefits of the CLEAR IDEAS framework to us: “CLEAR IDEAS is a way of tackling problems more creatively. It’s not just a way of helping you come up with more ideas; it will also help you pick which ideas to take forward and will assist you in putting those ideas into practice more effectively.

“Lots of innovations or creative efforts fail because the individual doesn’t come up with enough original ideas, doesn’t know how to pick which ideas to take forward, can’t get buy-in to their ideas or know how to implement them.

“As a result, some potentially great ideas fail because creativity and innovation aren’t taken into account well enough. So what the CLEAR IDEAS approach does is it helps develop the skills and knowledge in people in terms of how to tackle problems creatively, and come up with an innovation. The app is a way of embedding that process that you can carry out yourself – give it a problem, and it will take you through ten steps you need to go through to come up with new ideas, picking those ideas, and coming up with a strategy for implementing them.”

The ESRC also highlighted Kamal’s contribution to the Festival of Social Sciences 2013 in this document (page 31).

Now Kamal has trained over 1,000 individuals worldwide, the benefits have become tangible – key successes from the ESRC piece are highlighted below:

  • An estimated £1.7million saving was made by Sheffield City Council by introducing cost-effective and more efficient practices in the delivery of adult social care services.
  • South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue used CLEAR IDEAS’s creative-thinking techniques to make improvements in the fitting of 19,000 smoke alarms, with a cost-saving in materials alone of 3p per unit. In addition, the simple and effective solution which was adopted led to a reduced need for trained staff when refitting previously poorly-installed smoke alarms.
  • CLEAR IDEAS techniques were used to influence the adoption of an alternative drug for gastric medication in Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Savings of £10,000 per year were estimated to have been made by the Trust, due to more accurate administration, dosage and patient compliance.
  • A training resource including the CLEAR IDEAS model was developed in 2010 to enhance the leadership and skills of public sector managers and employees. Since introduction, 216 people from local councils, NHS Trusts, the police, fire and rescue service, educational institutions and other local services have participated.

Find out more about Kamal’s research here, and download the app for your iPad here.

 

Forward thinking: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development conference comes to Sheffield

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Dr-Nick-Williams

If the Northern Powerhouse is going to come to fruition, locations like the Sheffield City Region need to innovate. With this in mind, the timely arrival of the eighth International Conference for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development (ICEIRD2015) in the city next week is certainly appropriate.

The conference which aims to address key factors in fostering entrepreneurship at national and regional level, share good practice in innovation research, facilitate regional partnerships and promote open innovation networks, is being hosted by academic members of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), a group of researchers at Sheffield University Management School (University of Sheffield).

Conference Chair, Dr Nick Williams (pictured), said: “Sheffield is a city which is changing, moving from traditional industries to a modern, diverse economy. The debates which take place at ICEIRD2015, regarding how city and regional economies can bounce back from crisis and grow again directly reflect the policy debates taking place in Sheffield and elsewhere.

“CREED is a leading research centre producing cutting edge work on entrepreneurship, innovation and regional development. It therefore provides a natural home for the conference, which is being held at the heart of the University of Sheffield campus. We hope our international delegation will enjoy not only the rigorous academic panel sessions, but also the energy of our city and the university itself.”

Keynote speakers include Professor Susan Marlow of the University of Nottingham who will present on ‘searching for the elusive female entrepreneur’, Professor Aard Groen from the University of Twente discussing ‘Entrepreneurial ecosystems’ and Michael Kitson of Cambridge University who opens his dialogue on ‘The role of the university in the innovation ecosystem’.
Sheffield’s world-class conference facilities will play host to ICEIRD2015, which is to be held at INOX, in the University of Sheffield Students’ Union.

Dr Williams continued: “ICEIRD2015 will focus on how entrepreneurship and innovation can help to drive regional and city economies to grow. Much of the focus will be on how the recent economic crisis has presented challenges and how these may be overcome through effective policy.

“Sheffield University Management School is producing leading research on these topics and will contribute to the debates taking place across the two days.”

Find out more about ICEIRD2015 on the website: www.iceird2015.com

Flexicurity: WOERRC event lifts the lid on future directions

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Andrew-Gamble  MikkelMailand  SusanMilner

Labour Market Security and Flexibility: The Future Directions of Flexicurity in the Age of Austerity, was the title of an event jointly hosted at Sheffield University Management School by the Work, Organisation and Employment Relations Research Centre (WOERRC) and the Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES)

Delegates enjoyed a day of lively discussion on the subject, covering such areas as the changing political ideology of labour market regulation, the impact of European youth employment policies before and during the crisis and whether flexicurity is a spent concept. Views from speakers were certainly of a European nature, bringing perspectives from Denmark, France, Spain, Greece and Ireland.

The event was attended by a number of scholars, including PhD students, with an interest in the area – speakers included WOERRC members Prof Jason Heyes and Dr Thomas Hastings, as well as Paul Lewis (University of Birmingham), Prof Andrew Gamble (University of Sheffield – pictured above left) and Phil Whyman (University of Central Lancashire), Mikkel Mailand (University of Copenhagen – pictured above middle), Susan Milner (University of Bath – pictured above right), Oscar Molina (UAB) and Orestis Papadopoulos (Keele University).

Dr Hastings said: “The workshop addressed three main questions – firstly, are member states genuinely seeking to achieve flexicurity or will the future of work simply involve ‘less security’ for workers; secondly, what impact have supra- and international institutions had on national labour market policies; and thirdly, does flexicurity need to be re-thought or simply abandoned?

“Attendees readily engaged with the discussions so it was a rigorous but enjoyable workshop, with funding coming from a small event grant by UACES.”

Read more about WOERRC here.