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Archive for the ‘Business Engagement’ Category

Collaboration for Inclusion: Social Inclusion Works

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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Social inequalities affect us all. From a social and economic perspective, collaboration between organisations and researchers is beneficial to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate discrimination, enable inclusive growth, give voice, and change societal norms and infrastructure to catalyse inclusive communities, workplaces, and societies.

Dr Andreana Drencheva, lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Management School, is making the first steps towards doing so in partnership with University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). She’s behind Social Inclusion Works, an innovative duo of events in Sheffield (4 April and 6 June, 2017) designed to bring together social entrepreneurs, academic researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations.

By running a creative space for individuals and organisations to learn with and from each other, the first event of the series on 4 April will result in mapping the common challenges organisations working toward social inclusion face in Sheffield. In the time that passes between the two events, participants will work together to collate and co-create evidence and insights to address these challenges. On 6 June, in the second part of the event series, participants will share actionable insights that social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organisations, and researchers can take forward.

Andreana said: “The aim is to find better ways to catalyse social inclusion based on best practice and evidence. Together, we can share best practice, build capacity, and collaborate on new research or training projects that can make meaningful contributions to our communities. We are excited to host these events at Sheffield, where there’s lots of positive energy already in this area.

“The fact that the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), USE and the RSA are working together is a testament to the collaborative approach of these events. Collaboration is the key here – we would like to engage with a diverse range of sectors and disciplines relevant to social inclusion such as education, housing, social and health care, political studies, technology, urban planning, and finance, to name just a few examples.”

Social Inclusion Works has a co-creative focus. The approach of the events recognises that social entrepreneurs, researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations bring different knowledge and skills. Focusing on the current challenges of social entrepreneurs, the events will not just enable a safe space to share what works, but also to co-create new initiatives related to research, training and public engagement to improve current practice. Because of this collaborative approach, it is essential that individuals and organisations register only if they can attend both dates (4 April and 6 June, 2017).

Join the events to make social inclusion work. Click here to book your place.

Entrepreneurship conference showcases regional business expertise

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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A conference hosted by Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) is taking full advantage of the city region’s vibrant business community.

Organised in collaboration with EFMD, a European management development network based in Brussels, the conference (8-10 March) explores the theme of entrepreneurship within organisations and launches in the Management School’s Middleton lecture theatre with a panel event featuring guests from organisations including Plusnet, Tech North and KPMG.

Attracting academics from all over Europe and the US, its influence, which draws on Sheffield’s business strengths, will have global impact. Chair of the conference, Professor Tim Vorley, said: “Researchers and practitioners in the field of entrepreneurship continue to push the boundaries about what we understand about entrepreneurs and how they operate. This has important implications for entrepreneurship education, both in terms of what leading businesses and management schools teach and how they teach it.

“Entrepreneurship inside organisations is an area of management education that is growing in interest. We’re delighted to be pairing with EFMD on leading this renowned annual event – welcoming input from the region’s business community is essential to its success.”

Guests on the panel include Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet whose career at BT saw him take leadership roles in WiFi and gaming; business leader Douglas Dawson from the Liberty Industries Group who brings his exceptional global knowledge; Laura Bennett from Tech North, whose experience in entrepreneurship and organisational development sees her lead their Founders Network; KPMG’s Head of South Yorkshire region Philippa Sanderson; and Palie Smart from Cranfield School of Management whose interests encapsulate innovation and technology management.

EFMD runs and awards the EQUIS accreditation, one of SUMS’ triple crown accreditors which positions it in the top one per cent of business and management schools worldwide.

Click here to view the programme for the conference.

International Business Management students progress through UK competition

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
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ABOVE (L-R): Margaret Barrionuevo, Kristers Zuika, Meg Seaman, programme director of BA International Business Management Panayiota Alevizou, Dominique Von Oppell and Isaac Bamber Lister

A team of five BA International Business Management students have reached the UK semi-finals of a prestigious international competition.

The Universities Business Challenge (UBC), which runs annually, has educational and employer partners and guides them through three rounds of rigorous testing designed by Learning Dynamics. The Management School’s team, championed by programme director Panayiota Alevizou, stormed through the first round – an online simulation of a real business where they had to make business decisions with regards to the financial data of each trading period, the external business environment, competitor data, and other live factors that any executive board would have to consider.

Competing directly with seven randomly chosen groups from other universities, our team accumulated as much profit as possible after six trading periods, confidently progressing to round two which will be held at the Sheffield’s Octagon Centre on 7 March.

Should they progress to round 3 – the grand final – Margaret, Kristers, Meg, Dom and Isaac will go to compete live against ten other teams at a London venue in an event hosted by UBC’s lead employer partner.

Click here to read more about the competition.

Reducing the environmental impact of a loaf of bread: SUMS leads interdisciplinary project

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

With an estimated 12 million loaves sold in the UK every day, bread remains a staple of the British diet. In a groundbreaking study researchers from the University of Sheffield have now calculated the environmental impact of a loaf of bread and which part of its production contributes the most greenhouse gas.

The group of interdisciplinary researchers from the University’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, including three experts from Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), analysed the complete process from growing and harvesting the wheat; milling the grain; producing the flour; baking the bread and the production of the final product, ready to be sold by retailers.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Plants, show ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in wheat cultivation contributes almost half (43 per cent) of the greenhouse gas emissions – dwarfing all other processes in the supply chain.

Dr Liam Goucher, N8 Agrifood Research Fellow from the University of Sheffield who carried out the study and is based at SUMS, said: “Consumers are usually unaware of the environmental impacts embodied in the products they purchase – particularly in the case of food, where the main concerns are usually over health or animal welfare. There is perhaps awareness of pollution caused by plastic packaging, but many people will be surprised at the wider environmental impacts revealed in this study.

“We found in every loaf there is embodied global warming resulting from the fertiliser applied to farmers’ fields to increase their wheat harvest. This arises from the large amount of energy needed to make the fertilizer and from nitrous oxide gas released when it is degraded in the soil.”

How to produce sufficient healthy and affordable food for the world’s growing and more demanding population, whilst protecting the environment is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. It is estimated that up to 60 per cent of agricultural crops are now grown with the use of fertilisers. Although they can dramatically boast the growth of plants and vegetables – assisting the growing demand of food yields – fertilisers consist of substances and chemicals such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and nitrogen. The emissions from these substances in synthetic fertilisers contribute to greenhouse gases.

Professor Peter Horton FRS, Chief Research Advisor to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield and corresponding author of the paper, said: “Our findings bring into focus a key part of the food security challenge – resolving the major conflicts embedded in the agri-food system, whose primary purpose is to make money not to provide sustainable global food security.

“High agricultural productivity – necessary for profit for farmers, agri-businesses and food retailers, whilst also keeping prices low for consumers – currently requires high levels of application of relatively cheap fertilisers.”

He added: “With over 100 million tonnes of fertiliser used globally each year to support agricultural production this is a massive problem, but environmental impact is not costed within the system and so there are currently no real incentives to reduce our reliance on fertiliser.

“How to achieve sustainable global food security is not only a technical question but a political economic one, and requires interdisciplinary research of the kind we do here at Sheffield.”

The study was made possible by a pioneering collaboration with the agricultural and food manufacturing sector developed by Richard Bruce, a co-author of the paper and Business Engagement Lead for the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield.

The data analysed in the study was processed using an advanced life-cycle assessment tool – SCEnAT – developed by Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre at the University’s Management School and co-author of the paper.

“This tool handles large and complex data sets and yielding data on the environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions of all the stages in the supply chain,” said Professor Koh. “The tool identifies the processes that yield the most impact – the hotspots. The findings raise a very important issue – whose responsibility is it to bring about the implementation of these interventions: the fertiliser manufacturer, the farmer, the retailer or the consumer?

“There is a growing recognition for a range of industrial processes of the notion of extended producer responsibility – the producer being responsible for downstream impact, expanded to the idea of shared producer and consumer responsibility. The consumer is key, whether being persuaded to pay more for a greener product or by applying pressure for a change in practice.”

The paper also highlights the solutions available which could potentially reduce these impacts in the future.

Co-author Professor Duncan Cameron, Co-director of the P3 Centre for Translational Plant and Soil Science explains: “The fertiliser problem is solvable – through improved agronomic practices”.

“These harness the best of organic farming combined with new technologies to better monitor the nutritional status of soils and plants and to recycle waste and with the promise of new wheat varieties able to utilise soil nitrogen more efficiently”.

Click here to read the paper in full.

Engaging with the city region’s business community: how will the industrial strategy impact business?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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The Business Secretary announced industrial strategy investment in science, research and innovation but how do Sheffield City Region businesses think it will impact on them?

This is a question in the current Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), the results of which are analysed and reported by the Management School’s Associate Dean for External Business Advancement Professor Andrew Simpson (pictured above). These survey results for the first quarter of 2017 will give a snapshot of how the regional economy performed over the last three months and a forecast for the next quarter.

Business people are urged to complete the short online survey to provide up to date hard data on the current business economy, skills and labour market, international trade and other issues affecting business such as the Industrial Strategy. The results are used to inform the Sheffield City Region Chambers of Commerce and the Local Enterprise Partnership and help set the mandate of their work to influence policy makers at a regional and national level and help shape government support for business.

Prof Simpson said: “It’s vital that the School is at the heart of discussion around the regional economy and being involved with the Quarterly Economic Survey has given us great insight into the progress and changes we see locally.”

“This quarter’s survey will help the Chambers to identify what businesses think to the Government’s proposed Industrial Strategy and how it can be shaped to add most value for the Sheffield City Region’s businesses” added Dan Fell, CEO, Doncaster Chamber.

To influence policy and decision-making, and win free flights to Paris, Sheffield City Region businesses can take the survey at screconomy.org.uk/survey

Tackling cold homes – taking action on fuel poverty

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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‘The interactions between people, home and energy’ – the Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN), co-founded by Dr Robert Marchand at Sheffield University Management School (pictured above), is an ever-expanding group of international researchers aiming to bring domestic energy issues into the spotlight.

Wellbeing is affected significantly by living in a cold home, and many people can’t afford to heat them thoroughly – in fact the annual social cost of cold homes on mental health in a city like Sheffield alone is almost £20million. Robert and his colleagues aim for closer collaboration between their academic community and policy makers, so that government initiatives and funding are appropriate, informed and ultimately effective.

FPRN is now preparing for their third major event, a meeting and parliamentary reception in Edinburgh from 28-30 March 2017. Co-organisers, Energy Action Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University, have planned an engaging agenda including a reception at the Scottish Parliament with Andy Wightman MSP. Click here for more information and to book your place.

Robert said: “We hope to create positive change through the network – having an impact on the people affected by fuel poverty drives our efforts. Whether it’s the pensioner who can’t afford to heat their home, the GP with a crowded waiting room of unwell people contributed to by energy costs, or the landlord who can’t yet see the value of insulating their property portfolio, we hope to reach all of them.

“The Edinburgh event is testament to the FPRN’s approach to collaboration. With contributions from a member of Scottish parliament, the only national body dedicated solely to eliminating fuel poverty, and relevant academic researchers, it’s an event where we’re can together identify key interventions.”

Find out more about the Fuel Poverty Research Network on their website (fuelpovertyresearch.net) and follow them on Twitter @FuelPovertyRN.

Real-world insight: Our students pitch AECOM entrepreneurship expertise

Friday, December 9th, 2016

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Entrepreneurship is about more than individuals starting businesses – in fact increasingly, big businesses are thinking and working more entrepreneurially.

As a part of our MSc Entrepreneurship and Management, students pitched ideas for entrepreneurship inside an organisation to directors at AECOM, a multinational engineering firm.

The module leader, Dr Chay Brooks, emphasised the importance of working with AECOM on the module, explaining: “Visiting AECOM is a great opportunity for our students and is a part of the learning experience, the contribution of AECOM to the module brings the realities of entrepreneurial activity in a corporate setting to life.”

This semester, students have studied the theory and practice of how big businesses are looking to create environments that encourage employees to be more entrepreneurial, while continuing to deliver their core business. Our collaboration with AECOM gives students a unique opportunity to see how an organisation with over 90,000 employees is changing its working practices to become more innovative and entrepreneurial. As a part of the module students have had guest lecturers by AECOM staff that provide real-world insights, and as a part of their final assessment they presented their recommendations for them to become a more entrepreneurial organisation.

Professor Tim Vorley, Director of the Centre for Regional for Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), who developed the relationship with AECOM, said: “Taking our students out of the Management School to present their work in a corporate environment is a fantastic opportunity for them, and it is great to see them rising to the challenge as they pitch their ideas.”

The MSc Entrepreneurship and Management provides students with an understanding of entrepreneurship in different countries and contexts, as well as from start-ups to corporate organisation.

In 2017 Sheffield University Management School is hosting the EFMD Entrepreneurship Education Conference, the theme of which focuses on ‘Entrepreneurship inside Organisations’. This area of entrepreneurship education is of growing in interest to business and management schools, and is one in which Sheffield is a leading by example.

Click here to find out more about the conference.

New analysis tool will help economy move towards a low-carbon and sustainable future

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

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An analytics tool from the University of Sheffield, built in partnership with one of the world’s biggest technology companies, is helping decision makers understand the full environmental impact of their supply chains and the potential consequences of their decisions.

SCEnATi, the improved version of the SCEnAT supply chain environmental analysis tool, now integrates with the Microsoft cloud technology platform, Azure. It outputs on a world map geographic carbon dioxide emissions and environmental impact across global supply chains.

This powerful data visualisation – along with country profiles and sustainability contribution information – helps policy makers, planners, investors and industrialists understand the impact of their supply chains by calculating carbon dioxide emission intensity and environmental impact using life-cycle analysis.

As part of the improvements, SCEnATi has also been enhanced with advanced business intelligence analytics capability from the Microsoft Power BI platform, which works with Shaping Cloud on an Office 365 platform.

Teresa Hitchcock, Partner at global law firm DLA Piper where SCEnATi was launched said: “I am delighted to see the evolution of this research capability led by the University of Sheffield, especially the work from Professor Koh and her team. Being an industry member of the AREC committee, we have been involved in the work as part of a co-production process. I believe this tool will be an important enabler to assist key stakeholders in their transition to a low carbon and sustainable future globally and to support their compliance to environmental regulation and policy.”

Professor Lenny Koh, Chair in Operations Management at Sheffield University Management School and Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), said: “The supply chain resource sustainability model demonstrated in SCEnATi is powered by advanced technology and will grow our understanding of global challenges on resources critical in supply chains. The science which underpins SCEnATi has been published in top journals whilst the technology, provided by our strategic partner Microsoft, provides a flexible, secure environment for our users.”

Mike Davies, Higher Education Manager from Microsoft, continued: “SCEnATi automates data capture using Microsoft Excel where Office 365 supports complete mobility to enable users to use the tool as part of their routine package.

Steve Beswick, Education Business Development Director from Microsoft, said: “It is compatible with a range of our devices including Surface and Hubs. The built-in touch capability in this tool gives complete flexibility to users to access the tool anytime and anywhere.”

Carlos Oliveira, CEO of Shaping Cloud concluded: “The science and technology supporting SCEnATi is world leading. It is a great example of how academic research can be translated into a tangible piece of IP, which we believe can deliver real change and impact worldwide.”

Click here to find out more about SCEnATi: http://www.scenat.com/

Helping to deliver the vision for science and innovation-led growth in the Sheffield City Region and beyond

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

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By Prof Tim Vorley & Prof Andrew Simpson

Announcements today from the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP (Secretary of State for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy) about a new wave of Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) as a basis for forging the vision for devolved economic growth in the UK.

He highlighted the importance of ‘locally directed collaborative working’ as critical for economic growth and competitiveness. Undoubtedly the remarks serve to emphasise the continuing importance of the Northern Powerhouse which, if it were a country, would already be the 10th largest in Europe.

The Sheffield City Region (SCR) was one of the UK’s first Science and Innovation Audit sites. Focusing on the Advanced Manufacturing Corridor (AM Corridor), the emphasis on high-value manufacturing is highly likely to prove a cornerstone of the emerging Industrial Strategy. Moreover, with the AM Corridor comprising a consortium of key partners across the SCR LEP and Lancashire LEP, led by the University of Sheffield and Lancaster University, it transects the Northern Powerhouse. In keeping with the comments of the Secretary of State, this means that the local innovation strengths of the SCR will see it strive on a global stage.

The findings of the SIA highlight the comparative strengths of Sheffield as a centre of advanced and high-value manufacturing, a sector that has been emphasised as a priority growth area. Regional strengths in nuclear research will also grow further under the ‘nuclear innovation programme’ announced by the Secretary of State, in which the SCR is already an important part of the national innovation system.

The findings of the SIA and announcement about the nuclear innovation programme are striking, and will have implications for what and how the SCR LEP will deliver to increase productivity and profitability of high-value manufacturers in the region. As a leading research school and provider of management education, Sheffield University Management School has a key role to play in helping deliver the vision set out in the SIA to ensure that the SCR and the UK remains an innovation leader.

For our part, the Management School is already pioneering new courses to support advanced and high-value manufacturing with a new EMBA programme. This is the UK’s first specialist manufacturing EMBA tailored for manufacturers of all sizes and sectors to drive change that translates into prosperity and economic growth. We are also committed to working with the Growth Hub at the SCR LEP to develop higher level management and leadership skills for SMEs in the manufacturing sector and more widely.

Beyond our role in developing skills, as a research-led management school colleagues continue to be engaged in a broad range of research and impact activities. The research and engagement of colleagues has already helped many business grow in an environmentally and socially-responsible way. Building on our strong tradition of working with businesses, we are committed to supporting the productivity and profitability of businesses. While much emphasis in the SIA is about the technological skills and capabilities, this is not to detract from the value of knowledge and insights of our research into business models, supply chains, organisational design, leadership and finance.

At what is a critical time for the SCR and the UK economy more generally, and in keeping with our mission and vision, Sheffield University Management School remains committed to supporting innovation and stimulate growth.

 

Prof Tim Vorley is attending Innovate 2016 (Manchester) with the Innovation Caucus for ESRC and Innovate UK.

Prof Williams leads Greek government bailout plan on undeclared economy

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Professor Colin Williams, chair in public policy at the Management School, is leading the Greek government’s action plan to tackle their undeclared economy. A recent report released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency, provides a set of policy recommendations informed by Prof Williams’s (pictured above) expert knowledge, which will set Greece on the right path to receiving their bailout money from the European Commission.

The ILO will now establish a road map with the Greek government to decide the timetable for the implementation of the legislative and component policy measures. They expressed special thanks to the high level team of experts that prepared the comprehensive diagnostic report, led by Prof Williams.

For the Greek government to receive debt relief, one of the five conditions agreed in August 2015 was that they would develop a national action plan to tackle their undeclared economy. Funded by the European Commission, Prof Williams has led the mission to Greece to produce this plan. Following a period of extensive consultation by him with the Greek government, the Bank of Greece, trade unions and employer organisations, it was accepted and validated by all partners in July.

Prof Williams has written extensively on ‘best practice’ policy approaches and measures for tackling the undeclared economy. A key aspect of his work is to use institutional theory to explain the undeclared economy. To tackle the undeclared economy, he has argued that formal institutional failings need to be addressed which produce a lack of alignment between the laws and regulations, and citizens’ and businesses’ beliefs about the acceptability of operating on an undeclared basis.  The national action plan produced for Greece is based on tackling these formal institutional failings.

Prior to Prof Williams leading the mission to Greece, the employer representative organisations held four national-level workshops regarding their diagnosis of the problem and their view of the policy measures required. The trade union movement in Greece held two workshops to do the same. These reports were then presented to Prof Williams on his arrival in Greece in April 2016 at the commencement of his diagnostic mission.

Click here to read the ILO’s report.