Responsible research that makes a difference

From helping local communities to influencing global debate, our research contributes valuable insight into worldwide issues, helping our work to have a real impact.

Our research is split into centres and clusters, which focus on providing research with relevance, reliability and rigour in a diverse range of subjects.

We implement responsible business into the core of our work, and our research centres are informing business transformation. This work can be seen across many of our centres, including:

Centre for Responsible Business

The creation of Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business in July 2017 was the result of a unique partnership of Birmingham Business School academics, the University of Birmingham Business Engagement team and Lloyds Banking Group. This partnership shared a desire for positive change, the need for collective, creative thinking, sharing insights and debating the complex issues associated with responsible business. Lloyds Banking Group and the Centre for Responsible Business ended their partnership in 2022, culminating their five year relationship with the launch of their Urgent Business Book. The Centre is continuing to operate and deliver research, building on the innovative and thought-leading research of this fruitful partnership

The Centre carries out extensive work to explore how businesses can be ‘rewired responsibly’ so that they can contribute to the responsible business revolution.

City Region Economic and Development Institute (City REDI)

City REDI was established to support regional economic growth which is inclusive of all. A strong focus of the Institute’s work is to ensure that the growth of our cities is sustainable and beneficial for all.

The Institute, as part of the Inclusive Growth Unit led by the West Midlands Combined Authority, is helping more deprived areas of society by ensuring that new policies and decision-making processes tackle issues such as poverty and unemployment.

Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM)

Our Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) is dedicated to helping people make sensible and well-informed decisions throughout their lives, whether this is in relation to pensions, housing, or savings, by carrying out rigorous research into all aspects of personal financial wellbeing.

The Centre is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in society, especially the most vulnerable, has the financial means and capability to manage ongoing economic change. As part of their research, the Centre have recently published the 2018 Financial Inclusion Report.

Work Inclusivity Research Cluster (WIRC)

WIRC is a dynamic community of researchers who are carrying out imperative work to understand equality, diversity and inclusion in employment, and overcome the barriers preventing these. The research from the cluster is made to be implementable in real-life businesses, and an example of this is the policy work completed in relation to shared parental leave.

Work from the cluster focuses on diversity and inclusivity by examining lived experience of organisations, inclusive labour governance and employee voice, and leadership and diversity.

Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing

The Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing undertakes research that influences a genuine change within our community. The Centre’s diverse group of over 40 researchers from various schools across the University address some of the major challenges that face the criminal justice sector with a view to helping real-life people.

Through its research, the Centre provides context to the regional, national, and cyber crime that is currently impacting negatively on the way that society functions.

Postgraduate research

Many of our PhD students are researching in the area of responsible business. Below are a just a few of the projects being carried out across the School.

Jorge Soguero Escuer: International Trade and the Agri-food Sector

Jorge Escuer

My research explores the impact of international trade on the agri-food sector in multiple ways. We will look at how free trade agreements can reshape countries’ food systems and, thus, food consumption patterns. Ultimately, we analyse how trade liberalization changes countries’ health expenditure due to obesity-driven health problems. The primary objective of this study is to understand the effect of sugar consumption on people’s health expenditure. I will also seek to further evidence on the importance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) as major trade friction in the agricultural sector. 

Hind Alsudays: Pay Inequalities in Saudi Arabia

Hind Alsudays

Despite the recent reforms and the improvement of women’s rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), as led by Mohammad bin Salman, which include allowing tourist visas to women over the age of 25, granting women the right to drive, and hiring Uber and Careem female drivers; gender inequalities (e.g., pay disparity) remain a serious issue in KSA. Disparity in pay can have notable effects on the economy and welfare of society. Given that Saudi women’s average (or median) hourly pay is significantly lower than that of men, this study is concerned with pay inequalities between men and women (or gender pay gap) in Saudi Arabia, and therefore seeks to identify the extent of pay inequalities and the factors underlying these inequalities (e.g. gender, age, hours worked, job experience, marital status, level of education, and occupation chosen), especially because inequalities in pay are not necessarily evidence of discrimination against Saudi women in the labour market. 

Samantha Sandilands: Global Food Waste and Social Business Models

Samantha Sandilands

My research aims to investigate how the global food waste problem is being addressed using social business models through the use of international comparative case studies. The study will attempt to identify changes in behaviour and challenges as a result of a variety of different types of food waste regulation, and how this may differ to a country without any formal regulation but where food waste has seen high levels of improvement over recent years. This qualitative study will be underpinned by a constructivist, interpretivist philosophical standpoint and will involve interviewing key stakeholders in social businesses, looking at documentation and conducting some observations to get an overall picture of how effective current initiatives are and how businesses have adapted to new regulations. This information may then be used to identify potential impact on organisations in the UK. 

Madlen Sobkowiak: National Biodiversity Performance

Samantha Sandilands

As the world is currently facing the sixth mass extinction event, various scholars within the discipline of Social and Environmental Accounting have looked at ways to halt biodiversity loss by bringing biodiversity into organisational decision making. Extant accounting for biodiversity literature has sought to explain how different kinds of organisations have achieved various forms of calculability for performance in relation to biodiversity, with much of this work focussing on corporate reporting. However, international goals and targets have placed primary responsibility to halt biodiversity loss with national governments.  As part of these international agreements, governments have to account for and  report on their national biodiversity, which is seen as being key to decision making. My research tries to understand how the UK government seeks to achieve calculability for its national biodiversity performance, thus enabling it to formulate policies to address the challenge of biodiversity loss. 

Raeni: Sustainable Finance


Emerging countries face a challenge in the development of energy, infrastructure, and other carbon-intensive projects in pursuing welfare for their citizens. At the same time, these countries are also vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Therefore, the development of low carbon industries, the Paris Agreement, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 have become a significant concern for various nations. In shifting financings away from the risk of climate risk, organisational fields, including public sectors and related institutions, play a pivotal role in transforming to sustainable development. In translating commitment to embrace sustainable finance, this research will examine how organisation fields articulate sustainability issues within project finance operations, how the intersectional works develop the coherency of the identity across them, and how the impacts of these processes on the accountability of the organisation fields on their social and environmental assessment. 

Policy engagement

Our researchers and academic experts work across a wide range of areas that have an impact on policy making for the better of society. Below is a list of recent contributions to policy change or engagement from our academics: