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Stimulating growth and supporting innovation

12 September 2013

A report highlighting the impact that Cardiff Business School has had on local businesses and industry has been released by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The report confirms that social science researchers at Cardiff University have formed extensive links with businesses. For example researchers at Cardiff Business School have contributed to significant developments in the sustainable production of motor vehicles. Working with both UK-based and international firms, the researchers have developed a model for sustainable car manufacture which involves the use of more lightweight, durable and sustainable materials. The model has already been adopted by the company Axon Automotive, and it has also helped another company, GMD, to demonstrate the foundations for their own model for sustainable car manufacturing.

"Cardiff Business School has established an international reputation for research on the motor industry over many years. We are delighted that our researchers' work has contributed to innovative developments in the industry, particularly in the area of sustainability which is another major research strength of the University," said Professor Rick Delbridge, Dean of Research, Innovation & Enterprise at Cardiff University.

Cardiff University has also engaged with local businesses through 'The Cardiff Business Partnership', a formal group of businesses working together with Cardiff Business School to undertake research into a range of issues that are important to the economy of South Wales.

The partnership was initiated by two of the largest companies in Wales which were looking to create a Welsh focussed business voice. These two businesses approached Cardiff Business School, leading to the employment of a full time research fellow from the School. Now the partnership is made up of 13 members across a variety of business sectors.

A recent research project originating from the group focussed on the role of agencies in attracting inward investment in Wales. This research was then used by the consortium to highlight issues facing the local economy and Wales to government bodies with the overall aim of improving the economic situation locally and nationally.

"The Cardiff Business Partnership is just one example of how Cardiff Business School has worked closely both with individual businesses and their representative organizations to produce high quality new research which can assist them in their decision making and other activities, while also providing the data for our researchers to contribute to major academic debates," says Professor Delbridge.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "This report shows that Business Schools are not only important sources of academic research, but also play a vital role in stimulating growth in their local economies.

"It demonstrates the real impact social science research can have on improving products, management practice, cost savings and supply chains within businesses. I encourage businesses to extend their collaboration with researchers, taking advantage of existing support such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Innovation Vouchers."

Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of ESRC said: "Engaging with the business community is a key priority for the ESRC and I am pleased to see the excellent work that business schools across the UK are doing in supporting their local businesses, and providing much needed growth in the economy."

The authors of the ESRC report, 'Evaluating the Business Impact of Social Science', looked at the Business and Management schools of three Higher Education Institutes; Lancaster University, Cardiff University and Warwick University. The study aimed to understand the routes through which social science influences business, and the mechanisms that facilitate impact.