A significant investment such as TSRC ought to make an impact through developing research capacity and over twenty former research staff and students in TSRC have gone on to take up academic appointments in British and overseas universities.
Reflecting our approach to research – particularly to collaboration with non-academic partners – we are particularly proud that former PhD students and staff have gone on to research and policy roles in major voluntary organisations. Examples include positions as directors of research / policy in the Church Urban Fund, Scope and the National Development Team for Inclusion; policy roles in NCVO and the Charity Finance Group; and CEO positions in Volunteering New Zealand and the Kent Refugee Action Network.
A direct example of capacity-building through our activities has been that a number of early career researchers and academic staff involved in our work have subsequent obtained funding or other research recognition for work in our field. The following provide examples:
A Fulbright Scholarship (2010), awarded to Rosie Meek, drawing on her TSRC-funded work on the role of third sector in criminal justice.
Funding for an ESRC Seminar series on social enterprise – Simon Teasdale 2012 (with Nicholls, Oxford) – this provided a space for dialogue between social enterprise practitioners and academics to develop an agenda for critical research on social enterprise.
An ESRC Future leaders award 2013 to David Clifford - these awards recognise a small number of individuals across the social sciences who are no more than four years from completing their PhD. David’s research explored new data from the Charity Commission regarding the overseas activities of English and Welsh charities.
An ESRC knowledge exchange project (2013-14) exploring change in the third sector: Rob Macmillan, working with the Timescapes project at the University of Leeds, brought together various prominent research projects with a shared concern about longitudinal change in the third sector, along with practitioners, to reflect on how the findings could inform practice.
Two awards from the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis initiative, the first (2013-4) for a study of Continuity and change in volunteering – Rose Lindsey and Sarah Bulloch (an award which resulted in a major monograph, Continuity and change in voluntary action, published in 2018). This initiated a long-running research collaboration with the social research charity, Mass Observation, which has resulted in two further awards from ESRC. One of them developed the use of Mass Observation as a research resource by producing an online version of Mass Observation’s database about its volunteer writers, whose contributions are a major resource for social scientists and historians. A further award from ESRC (2017-19) on Discourses of Voluntary Action involved Macmillan and Ellis Paine plus various collaborators. The project investigates the debates that have taken place on the role, position and contribution of voluntary action in the provision of welfare in the 1940s and 2010s, and it will contribute to new understandings of voluntary action and to practical action for third sector organisations and policy makers.
Involvement in a major MRC-funded project, Social enterprise as a public health intervention, by Simon Teasdale (former TSRC researcher, 2008-13, now holds a chair at Glasgow Caledonian).
Other significant research projects in which our early-career staff have played central roles include an extension from ESRC of our longitudinal work which tracks a small number of third sector sector organisations since 2009, involving Rob Macmillan, Angela Ellis Paine, and John Mohan; work funded by NIHR on role of the voluntary sector in mental health crisis care (2016-19), with James Rees, now at the Open University, and a former research fellow at TSRC; and a project led by James Rees, funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation (2016) on the value of small and medium-sized voluntary organisations, a project which also involved Chris Damm and Vita Terry, former ESRC-funded PhD students at TSRC).
A prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize (2017), awarded to David Clifford for the further development of his large-scale quantitative work on organisational change in the third sector, using TSRC datasets which he played a significant role in creating.
An award from the Marsden Fund, New Zealand (2017) to Alice Mills (formerly TSRC, now at the University of Auckland) on supporting ex-offenders in desistance, building on her work with TSRC.
Charles Rahal, now at Oxford, who has a British Academy postdoc fellowship which develops and extends the work he did with TSRC on the ESRC-funded civil society data partnerships projects – he is developing refined procedures for linking together open data on public sector procurement to financial data on third sector organisations.