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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.

 

Helping Europe tackle undeclared work

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Undeclared work, or what is sometimes called the ‘cash-in-hand’, ‘informal’ or ‘off-the-books’ economy, is a growing problem and governments throughout the European Union have been looking at what can be done about it. Until now national governments have had few opportunities to systematically share information with each other on what works and what does not.

Professor Colin Williams was asked by the Eurofoundation based in Dublin to evaluate what could be done to facilitate a joined-up approach towards this issue and his research highlighted the need for a ‘knowledge bank’ to share good practice. As a first step an on-line ‘knowledge bank’ was created, which evaluated the effectiveness of policy measures in five countries and a synthesis report was produced calling for a more coordinated approach.

The European Parliament then took up this issue, citing his work in a 2008 Resolution to step up the fight to combat undeclared work. The Resolution recommended the development of a more extensive knowledge bank of best practice policy measures as well as investigating creating a European platform to join up the fight against undeclared work. An EU body called Eurofound – the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions – asked Professor Williams to expand the knowledge bank to 31 European countries and he was awarded the European Commission contract to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a European platform for tackling undeclared work.

As a result, national governments now have a ‘learning hub’ to identify a whole range of possible innovative policy measures from other countries for tackling undeclared work as well as access to evaluations of their effectiveness. The European Commission is now discussing a concrete proposal for a European-wide institution for tackling undeclared work.

For more information, please see: www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/ labourmarket/tackling/search.php

CREED Awarded European Funding to Analyse EU R&D Policy Framework

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Two members of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), Dr Tim Vorley and Dr Peter Rodgers, have been awarded 15,000 EUR through the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON). As part of the programme of work focusing on the Advanced Monitoring and Coordination of EU R&D Policies at Regional Level (AMCER), this research will examine the impact of EU programmes such as the FP6/FP7 and the CIP.

Dr Vorley and Dr Rodgers will be conducting a study of EU R&D policies in the East of England, examining the impact they have had on both R&D performance and territorial cohesion. This research will feed into an inter-regional comparison and serve as a monitoring tool with empirical evidence used to develop insights and understanding about the impacts of EU policies at the regional level. The intention is that the project will support robust and better informed policy making.

COMPOSITE project comes to Sheffield

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Comparative Police Studies in the EU (COMPOSITE) is a major new European Union Framework 7 funded research programme valued at 6.6 million Euros. Based on a study of police forces across Europe, COMPOSITE aims to improve the planning and execution of change initiatives in the police, identifying how these activities can be better aligned with the cultural and societal context per country and explaining how negative process effects can be mitigated. The project also aims to improve individual police organisation per country and joint European capabilities.

The consortium consists of 15 research partners and 25 police forces in 10 European Union countries. The programme itself is made of eleven separate Work Packages.

Dr Kamal Birdi (Institute of Work Psychology, Management School, University of Sheffield) is leading Work Package 3 ‘Knowledge sharing capabilities and best practices in police organisations’ . This has received funding of £333,000 and will run from August 2010 to July 2014. The research objectives are:

1. To develop a framework for understanding knowledge-sharing practices between police organisations across Europe. This framework will comprehend knowledge sharing at three levels of complexity: communication, cooperation and collaboration.

2. Assess individual and organisational barriers and enablers to knowledge sharing.

3. Develop a diagnostic tool to assess the Knowledge Sharing Capabilities of an organisation.

The project is intended to enhance both the understanding and practice of organisational learning in police forces.

Dr Birdi has worked with a wide variety of pubic and private sector organisations and has published widely in both national and international journals. He is a fully Chartered Occupational Psychologist with the British Psychological Society/Health Professions Council and is Director of one of the UK’s leading MScs in Occupational Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

EU Research Grant Success on Work & Life Quality

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Dr David Holman from the Institute of Work Psychology and the Management School has achieved grant success with the WALQING project, which stands for ‘Work and Life Quality in New and Growing Jobs’. A key objective of the project is to address a central aim of EU policy since the Lisbon Treaty of 2001, that is, to create ‘more and better jobs’. The project is addressing this aim because, although more jobs have been created since 2001, little is known about the quality of these jobs, the impact they have on employees’ quality of life and the organisational and institutional preconditions that support the development of high quality jobs within the EU. The specific questions to be addressed by WALQING include:

· In which types of business function are new growth jobs being created within the EU?

· What is the quality of these new growth jobs?

· To what extent do new growth jobs affect an employee’s quality of life?

· What are the policies and practices of organisations, social partners and other stakeholders that affect job quality in new growth jobs?

· How can examples of good practice that support the development of high quality paths be transferred beyond their national context?

To address these questions the WALQING project will conduct seven studies:

Study 1: The development of new jobs by business functions in Europe

The EU Labour Force Survey will be used to identify business functions where there has been a substantial creation of new jobs, particularly with regard to low wage jobs in service and manufacturing industries.

Study 2: Job quality in new growth jobs: nature, distribution and effects

The European Working Conditions Survey will be used to analyse the extent and type of job quality in new growth jobs, particularly with regard to low wage jobs in service and manufacturing industries. This study will be led by David Holman, University of Sheffield.

Study 3: Quality of life new growth jobs

The EU Labour Force Survey will be used to examine quality of life issues in new growth jobs, particularly with regard to low wage jobs in service and manufacturing industries.

Study 4: Stakeholder policies

A comparative institutional analysis and stocktaking of European and national policies and social dialogues will be conducted. Key stakeholders will be interviewed about their experience of the emergence of low-quality jobs and vulnerable groups in the selected sectors. The stakeholders will include social partners (employers associations and unions), sectoral research or advisory bodies, NGOs attending to specific vulnerable groups in the sectors and government agencies regulating conditions in the sectors.

Study 5: Organisational arrangements and strategies

The aim of this study will be to investigate how company strategies and practices influence the quality of employees’ work and life. This will be done by conducting case studies of companies or business functions in selected and strategic sectors where job growth has taken place, and where working conditions and quality of work and life are problematic but positive synergies are possible.

Study 6: Individual perspectives and agency

This study will focus on the role of individual agency and orientation. The aim is to analyse the interaction between individual agency and orientation on the one hand, and organisation and contractual arrangements on the other, in order to identify problematic and positive synergies with regard to job quality. Semi-structured interviewswill be conducted with employees in the selected occupations or functions from each of the case studies selected in Study 5.

Study 7: Developing stakeholder strategies – policy lessons

The main aim of this study will be to develop and disseminate strategies for improving unhealthy or dysfunctional working conditions. Action research based interventions will be the core methodology employed, putting particular emphasis on creating arenas for learning and dialogue, where the stakeholders engage themselves in discussing core findings from the case studies as well as commit themselves to implementing joint strategies at company or sector level.

The WALQING consortium consists of eleven European Universities and is being led by FORBA (Forschungs-und Beratungsstelle Arbeitswelt) in Austria. The university partners are located in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and the UK. The researchers involved in the project include specialists in labour economics, work psychology, sociology of work and organisations, political science, management studies and human resource management. The funding, from EU Framework 7, is for €2.7 million over three years, and the University of Sheffield will receive approximately €220K. The University of Sheffield will lead Study 2, and be closely involved in Studies 5 and 6.

Brussels seminar to group of experts on undeclared work

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Colin C Williams, Professor of Public Policy, has delivered the findings of research commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to a group of experts on undeclared work. This research evaluates the policy approaches and measures being used to tackle undeclared work in the 27 EU member states and Norway.

In March 2009, the preliminary findings were presented to a group of experts on undeclared work in Brussels, including European Commission officials responsible for tackling undeclared work, trade union officials, representatives from employer organisations, a range of academic experts and government officials responsible for undeclared work officials from the governments of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Sweden.

This research is being conducted in cooperation with Dr Piet Renooy at Regioplan in the Netherlands. The current project extends an earlier initial study that provided an evaluation of the policy measures being used in five EU member states.

The feedback from this group of experts will now be fed into the final overview report. A  ‘knowledge bank’ which makes available to policy-makers throughout the world up-to-date evaluations of specific policy measures used in particular nations and whether these policy measures are transferable to other contexts, is available at:

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/labourmarket/tackling/search.php

Brussels seminar to group of experts on undeclared work

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Colin C Williams, Professor of Public Policy, has delivered the findings of research commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to a group of experts on undeclared work.This research evaluates the policy approaches and measures being used to tackle undeclared work in the 27 EU member states and Norway

In March 2009, the preliminary findings were presented to a group of experts on undeclared work in Brussels, including European Commission officials responsible for tackling undeclared work, trade union officials, representatives from employer organisations, a range of academic experts and government officials responsible for undeclared work officials from the governments of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Sweden

This research is being conducted in cooperation with Dr Piet Renooy at Regioplan in the Netherlands. The current project extends an earlier initial study that provided an evaluation of the policy measures being used in five EU member states.

The feedback from this group of experts will now be fed into the final overview report. A ‘knowledge bank’ which makes available to policy-makers throughout the world up-to-date evaluations of specific policy measures used in particular nations and whether these policy measures are transferable to other contexts, is available at:

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/labourmarket/tackling/search.php

Cash-in-hand work and organised crime

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Do those working on a cash-in-hand basis have links with organised crime? To what extent does off-the-books work overlap with the organised crime sector?

The School of Management working in cooperation with the multi-disciplinary Centre for Criminological Research (CCR), as part of the European Commission-funded CRIMPEV network, have been seeking answers to these questions.

To reveal the findings, Professor Joanna Shapland (School of Law, University of Sheffield), Professor Colin C Williams (School of Management, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Ponsaers (Ghent University) have guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of Social Economics entitled “The informal economy and its links to organised crime’.

To view this special issue, visit: http://preview.tinyurl.com/45pgul

Tackling undeclared work

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Colin C Williams, Professor of Public Policy, has been commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to evaluate the policy measures being used to tackle undeclared work in a total of 27 EU member states as well as Norway. This work is being conducted in cooperation with Dr Piet Renooy at Regioplan in the Netherlands.

The current project extends an earlier initial study that provided an evaluation of the policy measures being used in five EU member states.

The outcome of this EU-wide investigation will be a ‘knowledge bank’ which will make available to policy-makers throughout the world not only up-to-date evaluations of specific policy measures used in particular nations but also information on whether these policy measures are transferable to other contexts. This ‘learning hub’ is available at:

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/labourmarket/tackling/search.php

Tackling undeclared work in the European Union

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Until now, national governments have found it difficult to know what policy approaches and measures are effective and appropriate when tackling undeclared work. There has been little systematic sharing of information on what works and what does not.

To resolve this, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions employed a team of researchers to begin to create a ‘knowledge hub’. Led by Professor Colin Williams of the School of Management, a review has been published of the effectiveness of the policy measures adopted in five countries – Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom (UK). Further countries will be included over time.

An overview report has also been produced on Tackling Undeclared Work in the European Union to provide a typology of the potential approaches and measures available against which the approaches currently adopted can be compared.