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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…)

CREED opens doors to promoting social entrepreneurship in Europe

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Group  Open-Mind-Logo

Breaking down barriers to business creation – the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) is joining eight organisations from across Europe in piloting a digital course in social entrepreneurship for women and students from non-business studies backgrounds.

The initiative, called Open Mind, is an Erasmus+ project which over two years will develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in social entrepreneurship; a gamified online platform which serves as an inspiring learning environment, and an impact assessment report. Members of CREED, Dr Robert Wapshott, Dr Chay Brooks, Kate Penney and Prof Tim Vorley, attended the kick-off meeting in Athens with other academic partners. Tim said: “This is an excellent EU project drawing on CREED’s collective experience in entrepreneurship teaching and research. We are excited to be part of the partnership, aimed at developing new ways to foster entrepreneurship for social change.”

This project is key for social and economic progress in Europe. Despite the positive impact that social enterprises have, the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered in business and economic studies so most students can’t take part. Data shows that two-thirds of young people and women in EU believe they do not have the knowledge or skills to start a business – the outcomes from this project will address this gap.

Kate said: “The MOOC will introduce students to the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship, as well as covering areas such as identifying opportunities, creating a business model and business plan, attracting investors and getting your enterprise off the ground. An e-book featuring 50 inspiring female start-up entrepreneurs will also inspire the learners.

“The game elements incorporated into the learning environment will create a participative environment where students can explore business concepts, develop key skills and work on real-world case-studies. It will also operate in five languages, expanding the reach of the project.”

At the end of the two-year development stage, the team will outline the project’s major outcomes and establish support to sustain the project.

Click here to stay up-to-date with project news.

EU-Erasmus

Project No: 2016-1-BG01-KA203-023754. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

British Academy grant will strengthen links with Ukraine

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

PR-BAgrant

Dr Peter Rodgers, Lecturer in Strategy and International Business at the Management School (pictured), has been awarded a grant from the British Academy’s International Partnerships and Mobility Scheme which he will use to strengthen links with academic colleagues in Ukraine via a research project. Peter leading the grant will work with co-investigator Prof Tim Vorley and other members of the CREED research centre within the Management School. 

The project, which will explore the non-market strategies of export orientated Ukrainian firms, aims to explore this area from a research angle while also building dialogue with a variety of relevant stakeholders in Ukraine’s business and policy-making circles.

Peter said: “We’re delighted to receive this grant – it has fundamental benefits not only for the academics involved, but for CREED as a leading research centre examining the nature of economic transformations taking place across post-socialist spaces in Europe, the Management School and the partner institution Kyiv Molyla Business School too.

“The partners see this as an opportunity to build an extended collaboration, beyond this grant, which draws on capabilities at both institutions.”

Ukraine remains the second poorest country in Europe and its economic transformation has been stunted for a number of reasons, including ongoing conflict in the east of the country; ‘rent seeking’ activities and corrupt practices of economic and political elites and a burgeoning informal economy. Peter is an expert in business-state relations in emerging economies and has previously worked extensively in Ukraine and Russia. He has also provided policy advice to the British government on the business landscape in Ukraine, so is well positioned to work with Ukrainian colleagues on exploring the roles, restraints and current relations which hamper the country’s attempts to generate sustainable economic development.

Facilitated workshops and online webinars, as well as visits in person, will bring the research team from CREED and Kyiv together and enable them to build regional partnerships with organisations. This approach is unique in Ukraine – together we will be breaking new ground.

 

Intensive competition challenges our students in Canada

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
e, e, e and e

Gerardo, Lena, Cristian and Emad

For 48 hours, four of our postgraduate students are ‘cut off’ from the world – working on a business case in an international competition in Canada.

The fifth International Graduate Competition (IGC), held annually by HEC Montreal, has brought together a number of student teams from world-leading universities to collaborate and compete around a live business case on the themes of network economics, marketing, strategy and IT management.

As one of the first UK teams to attend the competition, the Sheffield group join attendees from Australia, America, Canada and all over Europe. The Management School-funded trip, run and also attended by members of the Centre for Regional Economy and Enterprise Development (CREED) provides a fantastic opportunity for the students who underwent a rigorous selection process.

The students in attendance are Lena Suess (MSc Creative and Cultural Industries Management), Cristian Gherhes (PhD student with CREED), Gerardo Taboada (MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management) and Emad Ejielat (MSc Entrepreneurship and Management).

Prof Tim Vorley, who is attending the competition in Montreal as a mentor with Dr Robert Wapshott, said: “The six-day event has begun with a series of ice-breaking, team-building sessions, followed by lectures and workshops which are relevant to the themes. Following this, the students were given the brief and have been put into a period of 48 hours with no contact from the outside world, apart from the opportunity to interview experts from the company that has set the business case.

“On Wednesday, the students present their projects. They prepare a 60 page analysis and recommendations and pitch it to the organisation.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students and has given the Management School a presence on this international stage, where we can build links with similar, accredited schools.”

Startify7 mentors digital start-ups in Brussels

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
Startify7-BootcampWinners

L-R: Arindam Ghosh, Thomas van den Boezem and Theodor Beutel from the Breathar team

Following a successful summer of digital academies around Europe, the Startify7 project gathered teams with potentially successful ideas in Brussels at the start of October.

The nine winning teams of young digital entrepreneurs from all three Startify7 academies – held in Sheffield, Trento and Munich/Nuremberg – participated in a three-day acceleration boot camp by fine-tuning their business models, setting up their start-up profiles and finally pitching to high profile investors at the event.

Supported by experts and mentors, the 45 selected participants followed an intensive programme enabling them to improve their business models and sharpen their business plans in order to become venture capitalist (VC) ready. They received advice from a former VC on funding, discussing everything from how to find the right investor to establishing a good term sheet. They also had targeted and professional mentoring to enhance their pitch decks and pitching abilities.

Each Startify7 academy focused on a different entrepreneurial subject. The Sheffield Digital Health Academy identified entrepreneurial solutions to healthcare challenges and supported participants in pursuing their own ideas. The three winning Sheffield teams came up with digital business ideas; one to support healthcare in rural Africa, a second which is an asthma detection aid, and finally a digital microscopic aid that one of the judges commented ‘could revolutionize healthcare’.

Dr Robert Wapshott, one of Startify7’s co-investigators who supported teams at the Brussels event, commented: “Sheffield teams were awarded first, second and fourth positions in Brussels – a fantastic result which reflects very well on the successes of the digital health academy. Breathar, the asthma detection aid, took top spot so the team has been awarded a presentation slot at the European Venture Summit in December.”

Startify7 is a Horizon 2020 project from the European Commission aimed at training young future ICT entrepreneurs in Europe. It organises seven thematically focused summer academies in seven different European cities that follow a lean-training structure and emphasise strong team-building as well as learning-by-doing processes. You can follow the progress of the teams at www.startify7.eu and @startify7.

Out of the shadows: SUMS contributes to high-level conference on combating undeclared work in the EU

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Seating Delegates

In Dubrovnik in late April 2015, Deputy Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials from 24 European countries met to discuss how they could cooperate to tackle the undeclared economy.

Professor Colin Williams from Sheffield University Management School was invited by the host, Milanka Opacic, Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia, to provide the keynote address on approaches towards tackling undeclared work in the European Union.

The outcome, expressed well by Helena Dalli, Minister of Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties in the Maltese government, was a raised awareness that besides complementing the traditional ‘sticks’ approach that punishes non-compliance with more ‘carrots’ to reward compliance, there was also a need for introducing awareness campaigns on the consequences of undeclared work targeted at enterprises, workers and the general public.

Summarising the view of many countries, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Ivaiol Kalfin stated: “Promotion of regulated labour relations between Bulgaria and other EU and non-EU countries is a priority of the government”. The European Commission representative present, Jader Cane, urged governments to make full use of the European Social Fund to undertake coordinated responses.

Professor Colin Williams is currently coordinating a Marie Curie project entitled ‘Out of the shadows: developing capacities and capabilities for tackling undeclared work in Bulgaria, Croatia and FYR Macedonia’, which is seeking to raise understanding among South-East European governments about the need to transcend the ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’ approach and to tackle it more indirectly by introducing greater awareness amongst citizens of the consequences of undeclared work so that they self-regulate themselves, rather than need to be forced to be compliant through enforcement authorities.

See the website for this project here.

Combating illegal trade and the shadow economy in Europe – SUMS’ Professor Colin Williams paves the way

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

 CW-speaking  ITIC

Senior tax policy, tax administration and customs officials from 19 Eurasian countries met in Bucharest at the end of April 2015 to learn more about the latest strategies to tackle multibillion-dollar revenue losses stemming from illegal trade, counterfeits, and other aspects of the shadow economy.

Sheffield University Management School’s Professor Colin Williams (pictured above, and with other conference delegates) gave the opening academic overview (PDF) and closing review of policy approaches.

As one of only two academic experts invited, other speakers included senior officials from the U.S. State Department, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Customs Organization, Interpol and Europol, as well as senior officials from multi-national corporations in the tobacco (JT International, British American Tobacco), alcohol (SABMiller) and pharmaceuticals (Pfizer) industries.

The two-day ‘International Conference on the Shadow Economy and Taxation’ was co-hosted by the International Tax and Investment Center, a non-profit research and education organisation focused on tax reform and public-private initiatives to improve the investment climate in transition economies, and Euromonitor Business Consulting Services.

Professor Williams, along with experienced enforcement officials, concluded the conference by advising that a new approach was essential as we cannot police ourselves out of the current situation, and argued that we need to make it easier and more attractive for people and businesses to move from the shadow to the formal economy.

ESRC event: Who wants to be an entrepreneur?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The Management School is delighted to announce further success in relation to the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences events.

Date:7 November
Time:
10.00-15.00
Venue:
ICOSS, Sheffield

Dr Peter Rodgers along with Dr Nick Williams and Dr Tim Vorley under the auspices of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) have secured ESCR funding for an interactive event to engage participants in different entrepreneurial activities, entitled ‘Who wants to be an Entrepreneur?’

Further information:

The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council and takes place from 3-10 November 2012. With events from some of the country’s leading social scientists, the Festival celebrates the very best of British social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives – both now and in the future. This year’s Festival of Social Science has over 180 creative and exciting events across the UK to encourage businesses, charities, government agencies, schools and college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events and a full list of the programme are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on twitter using #esrcfestival

CREED awarded SURE grant

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
CREED, via Dr. Tim Vorley, has secured a SURE award looking at the knowledge spillover effects of the AMRC on Sheffield. This is part of a wider funded project that CREED is undertaking on the economic impacts of the AMRC.
Tim Vorley, in addition, has won at least £40k to undertake a piece of behavioural economics research on student decision making funded by the Higher Education Academy. This work is being conducted with Professor Jenny Roberts from Economics and a consultancy called CFE.

Congratulations to Tim and his colleagues Dr. Nick Williams and Dr. Peter Rodgers on these significant achievements.

For more information about CREED please see:  www.shef.ac.uk/creed

ESRC Festival of Social Science Funding

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The Management School is delighted to announce that Peter Rodgers and Tim Vorley, under the auspices of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), have successfully gained funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a proposed entrepreneurship education taster day in the ESRC’s Festival of Social Sciences week between 29th October and 5th November 2011.

The event, ‘Who wants to be an Entrepreneur?’ will bring together around 50 year 11 students from about 10 local Sheffield schools in a hands-on event aimed at raising awareness of entrepreneurship. The day aims to expose students to the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship in a supportive environment couched in terms of both academic and practitioner perspectives. Business Education South Yorkshire (BESY), whose remit is to foster links between schools and businesses and enhance the delivery of business education across South Yorkshire have happily agreed to work in collaboration on this event.

Congratulations to Tim and Peter on their success.

Further information: