Rob Macmillan

Research Fellow

Rob is leading the design, coordination and delivery of Real Times, a programme of longitudinal qualitative research with third sector organisations, which is planned to run throughout the life of TSRC. 

Rob is also undertaking a literature review of research on the voluntary and community sector, focusing on: organisational sustainability and resilience; service delivery; capacity building; theory; and an overview of the current state of research on the sector.


Rob has been involved in research with and on the third sector for over ten years. His main research interests and experience are around third sector infrastructure support, capacity-building, and the challenges of sustainable funding, competition and collaboration between voluntary and community organisations.

Rob has previously been a senior researcher at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University. As well as an extended study of the role of second tier support agencies in developing and organising community-based projects in deprived rural areas, Rob has recently undertaken a number of studies examining local VCS infrastructure support in the context of the government’s ChangeUp programme. These have included: studies of support needs of ‘frontline organisations’ in County Durham (2004), South Yorkshire (2006) and Rotherham (2007); an evidence review of the benefits of VCS infrastructure (2006); the Building Effective Local VCS Infrastructure (BELVI) study for NAVCA (2007); the ChangeUp evaluation scoping study for Capacitybuilders (2007) and the County Durham VCS infrastructure review (2008).

Rob is a member of the ‘evidence base for the effectiveness of VCS infrastructure’ working group, and a trustee of the South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau, the Involve Yorkshire and Humber, and the Voluntary Sector Studies Network.


BA (Hons), MA, PhD.