Our first EFMD Member Spotlight highlights Nottingham Business School (NBS) and its commitment to responsible research. Thank you to Alistair Bruce, Associate Dean for Research, and Baback Yazdani, Executive Dean, for their contribution.
There are different models operating at business schools across the world. Sometimes research and teaching are considered as separate domains. In some business schools, research is distant from the world of business. At Nottingham Business School, we think of research, education and direct engagement and collaboration with business organisations as interlinked aspects of the same endeavour of creating, developing and disseminating knowledge to have a positive impact on people, business and society. Therefore in order for our research and education to be relevant and have a positive impact, direct engagement and collaboration with business and policymakers is an essential activity. We know from four decades of experience that overlapping research, education and collaboration bring about numerous innovations for our partners and us as well as creating greater impact, as exemplified in the NBS philosophy and captured in our mission of delivering research and education that combines academic excellence with a positive impact on people, business and society.
Fostering a positive impact culture means stressing the importance of collaborations and networks beyond academia, and at an international level. NBS’s Impact Forum explores how we can better recognise and realise impact potential, build impact into research design, measure, evidence and disseminate our impact credentials. Our marketing showcases the multiple connections we enjoy with businesses and policymakers through collaborative research projects, knowledge transfer partnerships, executive education, advisory and consultancy roles, hosting of business-facing conferences, leading business support programmes and internships. Our research advisory board, comprising senior business leaders, is invaluable in identifying impact opportunities and strategies to exploit them.
NBS is home to nine research centres. Each of these exemplifies our approach, viewing impact as central to rather than an extension of its agenda. Examples include the work of the Centre for People, Work and Organizational Practice, which collaborates closely with the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development on live business issues such as employee engagement, employee voice and gender pay differentials, as well as with multiple voluntary organisations on the impact of the pandemic on the sector.
The EU-funded REAMIT project within the Centre for International Business, Strategies and Decisions, involves an international network of five academic institutions and four commercial organisations collaborating to explore how the Internet of Things and Big Data analysis can combine to minimise food waste in both developing and developed settings. The Responsible and Sustainable Business Lab’s We-DARE project reveals the potential of digital solutions to the exploitation of women in Africa, work in the Centre for Economics, Policy and Public Management has directly informed significant welfare-enhancing reform in the organisation and delivery of healthcare and emergency services.
The Work, Informalisation and Place Research Centre works closely with government and the Director for Labour Market Enforcement in shaping the regulation of informal workplaces to mitigate worker exploitation. Further examples of sustained and significant impact, drawing on high-level academic research, range from work with the local SME sector in supporting resilience, productivity and growth, to the reform of gambling taxation regimes across many international contexts, based on research into alternative tax models at NBS.
A clear message is that once the potential for impact from research is understood, and the infrastructure to support it is in place, the appetite for combining academic excellence and material impact is infectious. And NBS’s record shows that championing and delivering impact need not compromise academic rigour. On the contrary, excelling on both fronts is a rich demonstration of the value of our research across multiple constituencies as demonstrated by EFMD’s BSIS report that evaluated our economic impact in our immediate region to be £420 million (Euros 500 Million).
Nottingham Business School has been an EFMD member since 2002. The school is EQUIS accredited since 2017, EFMD Accredited for its BA (Hons) International Business Programme since 2021 and has had a BSIS label since 2019.