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Involving people with lived experience of mental health issues in mental health training could address gaps in current knowledge, say researchers

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
  • Management School academics release report on the role of lived experience in mental health training during Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
  • Scoping report spotlights gaps in current knowledge of research on how best to involve people with lived experience in mental health training
  • Report flags six priority areas for further research enquiry

Sheffield University Management School academics highlight the need for more research on how people with lived experience of mental health issues are involved in mental health training.

Professor Rachael Finn and Dr Kamal Birdi, Sheffield University Management School, received funding from the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Research Capacity Fund to conduct research on the role of lived experience in mental health training.

The project involved a review of current literature on the evaluation and effectiveness of lived experience education in mental health training, a practice review to identify the variety of lived experience education courses in the Sheffield City Region, and a co-production workshop attended by service users, lived experience educators and academics. The workshop was an arena to discuss the reviews, share experiences and prioritise areas for further research.

Report launch

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the report will be launched on Tuesday 14 May at Sheffield Health and Social Care. Sheffield Health and Social Care provide specialist services to improve the mental, physical and social wellbeing of the people living in local communities.

Professor Finn and Dr Birdi concluded that existing research is patchy and highlight the need for further research that is co-produced with mental health practitioners and people with lived experience of mental health issues to help address gaps in current knowledge.

“It’s been great to carry out this work with a team of people passionate about user involvement in education and training of mental health professionals. This is a crucial area for research because whilst it is increasingly accepted as good practice and there are many exciting initiatives locally and nationally, we know a lot less about how best to do this meaningfully and the impact this has on services and experiences of care.”

Professor Rachael Finn

“From a practical viewpoint, it was clear that health organisations need to have proactive strategies on how to engage, develop and support lived experience educators as opposed to taking an ad hoc approach.”

Dr Kamal Birdi

Future research

Based on this initial scoping project, Professor Finn and Dr Birdi compiled six priority areas for further research and produced nine practical recommendations for improving the value of lived experience in the training of mental health professionals, including:

  • Health Organisations need to develop an overall strategy to involve Service User Educators (SUEs) in education and training
  • Ensure role clarity for SUEs
  • Provide ongoing training and support for SUEs
  • Target relevant populations for training
  • Ensure co-trainer clarity on need for lived experience in their programme
  • Ensure SUEs are prepared for different types of sessions
  • Ensure preparation of trainees
  • Allow flexibility in delivery of sessions to accommodate personal preferences
  • Provide post-session debriefing and support for SUEs

The full report can be accessed by visiting the Institute of Work Psychology website.

Researchers awarded major grant to study productivity and workplace wellbeing

Thursday, May 9th, 2019
  • The Sheffield team, led by Professor Paul Latreille, was one of only five projects selected for the major new grant from the ESRC
  • The UK lags behind other developed economies for productivity 
  • Improving workplace wellbeing is increasingly in focus as a priority to tackle the productivity challenge

Researchers at The University of Sheffield’s Management School have been awarded part of a £3.8m ESRC fund looking at workplace productivity and wellbeing.

Conflict, low staff engagement and poor line management are some of the workplace challenges that can lead to weak productivity.

Leading the project team, which includes Professor Richard Saundry at the University of Plymouth, Professor Peter Urwin at the University of Westminster and Gill Dix at Acas, Professor Latreille hopes to achieve two, related things. The project will provide ‘gold standard’ evidence of the impact of a new training intervention delivered by Acas aimed at enhancing line manager competencies, including how they deal with conflict.

Secondly, that in highlighting those critical competencies and how these can be developed, it will make an important, practical contribution to tackling the UK’s ‘productivity challenge’.

“We want to see if a short, training intervention focused on enhancing these skills can improve managers’ confidence and capability, and whether this results in enhanced employee and engagement and measurable gains in productivity.”
Professor Paul Latreille

The UK Government has set productivity at the heart of their Industrial Strategy to boost employment, deliver advanced infrastructure and support technological advances.

The project is a further demonstration of The University of Sheffield’s multidisciplinary approach to knowledge exchange with key partners tackling the grand challenges of the Industrial Strategy.

Professor Paul Latreille said: “Line managers play a vital role in developing (and maintaining) positive working relationships, employee engagement and performance. Yet when we talk to HR practitioners, they regularly tell us that while managers may have strong technical skills, their interpersonal skills are often less well developed. In particular, managers may struggle to deal with difficult situations such as conflict with or between team members.”

Acas Head of Workplace Policy, Gill Dix, said: “The UK workforce produces less per hour than our main competitors such as Germany, France and the US. We’re excited to be involved in this research project and to play our part in helping to improve the UK’s workplace productivity.
“We believe that the way workplaces are organised, the part played by managers and involving employees can deliver better outcomes for workers, organisations and the economy. One key aspect to this is ensuring managers are trained to deal with conflict in the workplace.
“Last year Acas trained over 40,000 people across nearly 1000 organisations and we look forward to incorporating any learning points off the back of this study to help improve productivity within the UK.”

Dr Annie Gibney, Portfolio lead at ESRC for Management & Business Studies and Transforming Working Lives said: “This is a very strong set of projects that address the key management practices and employee engagement challenges facing business owners, managers and workers. Not only are they examples of excellent academic research that work closely with firms, policy-makers and key stakeholders – but they also have a real opportunity to lead to meaningful change in business and policy practices.”

University of Sheffield and Microsoft collaboration develop tool to help scientists forecast future impact of climate change, population growth and energy use

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019
  • Predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will help scientists forecast future impact of climate change, population growth and energy use
  • The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases including from the World Bank and NASA Satelillite maps and embedded autonomous learning
  • Policy makers and industry leaders can use the predictor to have a deeper understanding of the implications of investment decisions and policy

A pioneering predictor tool developed by the University of Sheffield will give scientists an alternative way to visualise the world and help to forecast the impact of climate change, population growth and energy use.

The Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool (SCEnAT) 4.0 uses large scale databases – including from the World Bank and NASA Satellite maps – numerical, graphic and textual data with embedded autonomous learning.

The new tool will be able to predict the relationship between climate change, political economy, innovation, life expectancy, population growth and energy use, on sustainable development and resources.

The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with Microsoft, has been working for the past eight years to solve the global challenge of depleting resources. The new tool has been pioneered through the University’s Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) by Professor Lenny Koh.

“We are very proud of the long standing relationship between the University of Sheffield AREC and Microsoft,” said Professor Koh, Director of the AREC.

“SCEnAT 4.0 is borne from this ongoing collaboration in the era of Industry 4.0; and the Cloud and AI economy. SCEnAT 4.0 AI capabilities fit strategically with the AI sector Deal announced by the UK Government.

“Globally, AI interests are on the rise especially in the USA, China and Europe, whilst the global revenue from the AI market is projected at circa 90 billion USD in 2025 in tune with the increasing global demand for more sustainable and resource efficient solutions. SCEnAT 4.0 framework and platform are well-positioned for such worldwide scale-up rapidly.”

SCEnAT 4.0 has evolved from the original SCEnAT Cloud based tool, powered by Microsoft Azure, which has helped companies reduce the environmental impact of their supply chains.

The collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Microsoft progressed the tool into SCEnAT+ and SCEnATi – funded by the EU – which has the addition of big data analytics and benchmarking capabilities along with Power BI integration, a Microsoft business analytics service.

Anthony Bitar, Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft UK, said: “Policy makers and industry leaders can exploit the prediction experiencer from SCEnAT 4.0 to have a deeper understanding of the implications of policy and investment decisions.

“We are excited by how the combination of Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI services are being used in the SCEnAT 4.0 platform to de-risk and visualise the relationship of economic, environmental and social impact from the way we produce and consume resources.”

Art for Art’s sake? Mission driven values and the role of creativity in a time of rupture

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Patrons queuing outside a the site gallery in Sheffield.

  • Drs Elizabeth Carnegie and Andreana Drencheva are curating a special issue of Arts and the Market investigating Art in a time of rupture
  • Submissions are invited that address the overarching theme of understanding how rupture, complex and rapid change impacts on support for art, artists, and artists’ spaces

Debates about the role and importance of the arts as a social good have never been more keenly felt than in recent years. At the local level, current debates about the death of the high street  are linked to the loss of community as well as equity, with the potential solution that empty shops be used for artist’s spaces and local theatre. Initiatives such as Theatre Delicatessen in Sheffield, remind us that local and national governments accept that the provision of cultural and community arts spaces remain vital to shaping identity, a sense of community and belonging, yet they do so in increasingly constrained circumstances. 

Art in a changing climate

The landscape for local, national, and international art and artists’ spaces has changed considerably in recent years and is continuing to change, as arts organisations and initiatives are increasingly being, and indeed required to be, mission-driven. ‘Mission-driven arts organisations’ we can define at an umbrella term that brings together diverse organisations and initiatives that pursue both social and artistic or cultural objectives. Thus, mission-driven arts organisations are diverse and employ numerous organising forms, such as social enterprises, co-operatives, social movements, temporary organisations and initiatives.

However, at their core is the pursuit of social objectives, which also requires the management of often conflicting artistic, economic, cultural, and social demands. In this context, artists’ lived experiences are marked by tensions and contradictions as they negotiate precarious careers, and develop their creative and artistic values within a challenging marketplace. A question that might be asked here is whether artists value in this context is determined by engagement, or to put that another way conforms to the values of funders. Can artists thus survive, and thrive on the ‘outside’?

This topic has rarely seemed more timely or worthy of debate as we experience a point of rupture within wider society as the intersection of globalisation, nationalism, and neoliberalism creates multidimensional uncertainty that shapes the opportunities, responsibilities, work arrangements, and lived experiences of artists, artist-led initiatives, and cultural organisations. The resultant limited access to funding with shifting priorities, market fragmentation, and public policy place demands on arts organisations and initiatives to change their business models and become more ‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘resilient’.

Call for papers

For this special edition we aim to try and make sense of how artists and mission-driven art organisations navigate the uncertainty of contemporary artistic careers in the context of the social, economic, and technological uncertainty of our times? This question is not only timely from a practice perspective, but also creates an opportunity for dialogue between rapidly growing, yet fragmented, research streams across the cultural and creative industries. This issue will provide an opportunity for a vibrant conversation that for the first time brings together different viewpoints to understand how artists and arts organisations cope with and thrive in today’s uncertainty to catalyse positive social change, while meeting economic demands.

The overarching theme of this special edition is to understand how rupture and complex and rapid change impacts on support for art, artists, and artists’ spaces and in doing so to provide cutting-edge insights relevant for contemporary theory, practice and teaching. It is in this spirit that we are calling for papers that shed light on the foundations and nature of mission-driven art organisations and initiatives across levels of analysis: from individuals and organisations to communities and institutions.

The deadline for submission is 15 May 2019, and full guidance can be found here: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=8369








£1 million state-of-the-art Doctoral Research Centre launched at Sheffield University Management School

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

PhD student Paula Kohn in the newly refurbished Doctoral Research Centre.

  • An investment of over £1m provides exceptionally high-quality working and social spaces for Sheffield University Management School PhD researchers
  • The refurbishments improve the professional research environment providing more accessible, flexible spaces

Management School PhD students are set to benefit from an investment of over £1 million to improve the Doctoral Research Centre, in a bid to further boost student experience and enhance the School’s professional research environment.

The latest addition to the facilities at Sheffield University Management School includes completely refurbished working and social spaces for PhD students. The Doctoral Research Centre, as it will be known, is located on Northumberland Road and has been designed to provide an exceptionally high-quality environment for its users. The makeover provides students with world-class facilities and a professional, flexible working environment that will inspire the next generation of researchers.

The improvements made to the building will ensure an enhanced student experience for doctoral students in the Management School. A key focus of the improvement works was on enabling a strong sense of community to flourish among students. To meet these needs, flexible working spaces such as hot-desking and silent study facilities were created and the building is equipped with improved accessibility features. The improved infrastructure will encourage productive collaboration between students.

The refurbishment stands as a tangible example of the School’s commitment to improving its students’ experience and as a Triple Crown Accredited institution lives up to the exacting standards expected of an elite, world-class management school.

Dr Caroline Oates, Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Sheffield University Management School, said:

 “I am delighted that our students will benefit from an investment of over £1 million in facilities designed specifically for PhD students and their research”.

“The creation of the Doctoral Research Centre and its focus on developing communities of researchers will help the Sheffield University Management School continue to thrive as an international centre of research excellence”.

“These new facilities give us the environment and space we need to continue to develop the next generation of scholars”.

Paula Kohn, a PhD student from Brazil, said:

“The new upgrade has brought to our Doctoral Centre a fresh modern look with an up-to-date professional environment, creating a collective surrounding that facilitates mutual collaboration and support. I feel privileged and very comfortable here”.

The Doctoral Research Centre opened to students in early 2019. For more information about doctoral study with the Sheffield University Management School, visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/study/researchdegrees






Working to reduce food waste in developing countries

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Scientists and engineers in the UK are working to use ideas from advanced space technology to improve the lives of farmers and reduce food waste in developing countries. 

Due to a warmer climate and a lack of technology, expertise and infrastructure, up to 40% of food in developing countries can be wasted, with much of this waste being fresh produce. This is because the farmers are unable to insulate and cool or refrigerate produce after it is harvested – and on the journey between the farm and the consumer, the food can become spoiled.

A research team, led by Dr Sonal Choudhary of the University of Sheffield, is working on utilising the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) expertise in space science and cryogenics, thermal engineering and analysing large datasets to improve the efficiency of the cold food supply chain in India and so reduce the amount of waste, both in terms of food and energy. The project is being undertaken as part of STFC’s Food Network+ research programme.

UK expertise in cryogenics, the science of extremely cold temperatures, and of thermal engineering could hold the key to bolstering the food chain by reducing the amount of loss from farm-to-fork and by doing so, helping farmers raise their income.

Dr Choudhary said: “There are a number of practical and logistical challenges for farmers in developing countries. Once they have harvested the fruit or vegetables, how can they keep it fresh before it reaches the consumer? They are often unable to afford refrigerated vehicles, and rely solely on traditional methods such as transporting the produce through open trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles and even bicycles. Given the ambient temperature of 40-45oC in many parts of India, a good thermal insulation along with cryogenics technology could provide us with a viable option to reduce food loss from farm-to-fork and improve the cold chain efficiency.”

Dr Bryan Shaughnessy is head of the Thermal Engineering Group at STFC RAL Space and also a participant in this project. “We design systems to withstand the harsh extremes of temperature in space. By taking the technology and expertise we apply in developing instruments for use in space missions and instead looking at how to apply it in assisting in keeping food cooler in warm climates I believe we have an opportunity here to find fairly low cost solutions to what can be a very expensive problem…”

Dr Choudhary added: “Thanks to the STFC Food Network+ we have the chance to work with experts in cryogenics, thermal engineering and data science, alongside stakeholders from the supply chain to really iron out some of the logistical challenges and get one step closer to making this solution a reality.”

The project has been funded by the STFC Food Network+, which brings together researchers from STFC and different disciplines in the agri-food sector with the aim of solving some of the world’s greatest food sustainability challenges.

The team have utilised participatory workshops and focus groups to predict any challenges in implementing STFC space science and technologies in India, where the gaps in the infrastructure exist, and what interventions are needed at different stages of the food supply chain from farmers to retailers and end consumers.

“We have met with farmers, retailers, academics, government officials and other invested parties to try to really understand the issues the sector faces and to come up with ways to meet those challenges. Early studies have shown that it is certainly possible to increase farmers’ livelihood by decreasing food loss from farm-to-fork,” Dr Choudhary said, “Now we need to demonstrate how this could be achieved at a low budget utilising STFC space science and technologies.”

The team is made up of both academia and industry, with representatives from the Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), Hull University Business School (HUBS), STFC’s RAL Space and commercial cryogenics firm Cryox.

University of Sheffield to lead €4 million research project exploring a more sustainable future

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

ReTraCE: Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy

ReTraCE: Realising the Transition towards the Circular Economy

The University of Sheffield will lead a €4 million research project and train a new cohort of thought leaders to drive the transition towards a more sustainable mode of production and consumption in Europe over the coming decades.

Realising the Transition to the Circular Economy (ReTraCE) is a research project funded by Horizon 2020 EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks and will support the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Economy strategy.

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their useful life.

The project will bring together world-leading experts from a wide set of beneficiaries and partners to achieve breakthroughs in understanding how the transition towards a circular economy can be realised – both within existing organisations and industries as well as through innovative and sustainable business models.

Professor Andrea Genovese, from the University of Sheffield’s Management School and Principal Investigator of the ReTraCE initiative, said:

“This project will directly facilitate the implementation of the recently adopted ambitious Circular Economy strategy of the European Commission, which is closely linked to Sustainable Development Goals – the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy. It aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits, where products are kept in use for as long as possible, with value recovery and regeneration at the end of their useful life.”

The consortium of ten beneficiaries is led by the University of Sheffield and includes seven academic and three non-academic groups: The University of Kassel (Germany), Parthenope University of Naples (Italy), Olympia Electronics S.A (Greece), Tata Steel (UK), University of Kent (UK), ABIS – Academy of Business in Society (Belgium), Dalarna University (Sweden), Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands), and SEERC – The South-East European Research Centre (Greece).

The network will design and deliver world-class multidisciplinary training to 15 early stage researchers, offering them an extended and valuable program of international exchanges and secondments through a wide network of partner organisations – from public, private and third sector.

The multi-disciplinary project will draw upon research that will advance the current understanding of the circular economy from economic, environmental and social perspectives, providing policy insights and implications for practice.

It is envisaged that, by the end of the project, early stage researchers will be employable by research institutions, public sector bodies and within a wide range of manufacturing and service industries which will require new professional profiles for realising the transition towards the circular economy.

Call for applications

The project has a call for applications for 15 Early Stage Researcher positions funded by the EU H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 scheme. Find out more about the project on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Government-commissioned research led by University of Sheffield will help law and accountancy firms adopt new technologies

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

  • Research project will help mid-sized law and accountancy firms adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies – helping to improve the productivity and prosperity of cities and regions across the UK
  • Sheffield University Management School-led project is one of three successful bids to the Industrial Strategy Challenges Fund Next Generation Services call

A major new research project led by the University of Sheffield will help mid-sized law and accountancy firms adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to improve productivity.

A team of researchers, led by Professor Tim Vorley from the University of Sheffield’s Management School, is one of three successful bids to the Industrial Strategy Challenges Fund (ISCF) Next Generation Services call.

The research, commissioned by the UK government, will focus on helping people adopt new technologies.
Professor Vorley will lead a team of colleagues from the University of Sheffield; Lancaster University; Manchester Business School; The University of the Arts, London; as well as non-academic partners the Managing Partners’ Forum and Normann Partners.

The project, Innovating Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design, will focus on firms that are cautious or uncertain over how to implement technological change.

Rather than focusing solely on new technologies, the research will involve exploratory prototyping of solutions designed in collaboration with firms to enable a rapid generation and assessment of potential future applications of artificial intelligence across businesses. This is critical if adoption within sector firms is to be broadened.

The services sector accounts for almost 80 per cent of the UK economy, with professional services the largest sub-sector representing 11 per cent of GDP.

Professor Vorley said: “Understanding the transformative potential of AI involves looking at individual firms, the outcomes provided to clients, and the business processes and predictions that are deployed.

“Our project will focus on understanding the technological and behavioural barriers facing mid-sized legal and accountancy firms, and suggesting potential solutions, as this is the segment where intervention will have maximum impact on the continued success of the overall sector.”

Dr Chay Brooks, a co-investigator at Sheffield University Management School, added: “The adoption of AI will have a transformative impact on professional service businesses. Given the emphasis in the Industrial Strategy on the place agenda, our work focusing on mid-tier legal and accountancy firms is important for the productivity and prosperity of cities and regions across the UK.”

Richard Chapin, a co-investigator from the Managing Partners’ Forum. said: “The potential of AI remains hypothetical unless and until the leadership team at a firm has the authority, confidence and knowledge to persuade frontline advisers to embrace new ways of working. ‘Command & control’ is seldom a viable route to bring about change at a professional firm.”

Business Secretary, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said: “The UK is the home of AI – from Alan Turing’s pioneering work to today’s growing use of AI throughout the economy. Artificial Intelligence is changing how we work, live and play.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we want to build on our history of innovation to develop and deploy AI to create new opportunities and improve services across the whole economy.”

(more…)

Professor Colin Williams invited to discuss proposed European Labour Authority in the European Parliament

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Dr Colin Williams European Parliament

Brexit negotiations may be the only news for the UK in relation to the European Union, but it is very much business as usual in the European Parliament. Colin Williams, Professor of Public Policy in Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), was invited on 6th June to discuss the proposal for a European Labour Authority in the European Parliament.

The European Labour Authority aims to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in fair, simple and effective way. It was announced in September 2017 by the president of the European Commission and on 13 March, the legislative proposal was presented as part of the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It is proposed that the Authority will be up and running in 2019 and is expected to reach its full operational capacity by 2023.

Invited by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D Group), the second largest grouping of MEPs in the Parliament, Professor Williams made the case for a real and effective European Labour Authority able to enforce labour and social rights and ensure rules on labour mobility fairly. Drawing upon his experiences as lead expert to the European Commission’s European Platform Tackling Undeclared Work, he called for a greater focus in the legislative proposal upon developing the capabilities and capacities of Member States to tackle labour abuse and enforce workers’ rights. He also called for a shift away from solely dealing with labour abuses after they occurred and towards preventing them from happening in the first place.

Professor Williams shared the platform with the Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Unions Confederation (representing 45 million members), and the European Commission official responsible for the legislative proposal. The debate was live-streamed and interpreted in five languages.

For further information: http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/sds-we-need-effective-european-labour-authority-protects-workers-rights-and-ensures-fair

Blockchain could bridge the gap to integrated transport, according to new report

Thursday, June 7th, 2018
  • Sheffield University Management School and Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) report studies the disruptive potential of Blockchain in the transport industry
  • Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) at Sheffield University Management School, co-authored the report with Charles Carter, TSC.
  • TSC is calling for government and industry to explore the technology’s potential uses in transport to ensure the UK stays ahead of latest developments

Blockchain

Blockchain could provide the underpinnings for a future integrated transport system, without the need for large and costly centralised control mechanisms, according to a new paper from Sheffield University Management School and the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC).

The TSC is calling for government and industry to explore the technology’s potential uses in transport to ensure the UK stays ahead of latest developments.

Blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology, which is a special type of distributed database. Each computer ‘node’ or member in a network  stores an identical ‘ledger’ or database. This database takes the form of a chronological chain of unique groups  of information called ‘blocks’ which are securely linked together using cryptography.

The University of Sheffield and TSC report found that, whilst currently the technology is still some years from full maturity, synergies exist in areas like freight and logistics, autonomous vehicles and mobility as a service, where the technology could be applied in the future.

This is because these areas will involve multiple businesses with potentially competing interests, who require trust and transparency to share data and work together seamlessly – which plays to the strengths of Blockchain.

In one example, the report highlights that the decentralised nature of Blockchain could provide an alternative future for mobility as a service business model, where transport is supplied on demand to subscription customers.

Blockchain could help avoid the situation where centralised platforms come to control service provision and data leading to minimal competition. Instead it could facilitate a decentralised network of transport operators by providing built-in trust, consensus and immutability in data and information sharing. Passengers could also have greater control over their personal data.

The report also suggests that Blockchain could also help integrate autonomous drone fleets into the existing transport network, without the need to establish large regulatory organisations to track and monitor use and licensing.

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), at Sheffield University Management School, added: “Our transport systems and their wider networks and supply chains are increasingly digitalised. The traditional ways of managing transactions and resources in order to provide frictionless processes, mobility, products and services to users are no longer efficient. In this partnership between the Transport Systems Catapult and the University of Sheffield, we have explored the potential of Blockchain to address these challenges.

“Blockchain as a disruptive technology, to be used in conjunction with Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud, can add further value and have a transformational impact on transport including the acceleration of the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) economy.”

Discussing the report, TSC Chief Technology Officer Mark Westwood added: “The TSC’s unique neutral and trusted position allows us to provide a balanced voice against the positive and negative messages around Blockchain through this report. We need to help decision makers understand the potential benefits and limitations of Blockchain technology. It is also important to analyse potential use cases to find out if Blockchain is a good fit, or if other technologies could provide a better solution.

“Blockchain is still a new technology, but it has the potential to disrupt parts of the transport industry in a similar way as it has in finance. Other countries and businesses are exploring its potential right now. The technology’s disruptive potential is such that the UK transport industry needs to start paying attention, so we are not caught out later.”

The TSC is calling for the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support future mobility through the launch of a dedicated R&D programme, collaborating with the transport services industry to build demonstrators of new mobility services. This will enable new service models and technologies such as Blockchain to be tested in-market, creating economic growth for UK based companies through reducing time to market.

Download the full report ‘Blockchain Disruption in Transport: Are you decentralised yet?’