The Work Foundation & Lancaster University

Acquired by Lancaster University in 2010, The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future, influencing policy and practice for the benefit of society. Through its rigorous research programmes targeting organisations, cities, regions and economies, The Work Foundation is a leading provider of research-based analysis, knowledge exchange and policy advice in the UK and beyond.

Lancaster and The Work Foundation share long-standing research synergies, which have now been brought together in order to have increased influence and to devote expertise to research in areas that are crucial to the UK economy.

A registered charity and think tank, The Work Foundation is governed by The Work Foundation Alliance Board, chaired by Professor Sue Cox, Dean of Lancaster University Management School. The directors of The Work Foundation - Ian Brinkley, Professor Birgitte Andersen and Professor Stephen Bevan - are part of a 50-strong workforce in London.

Joint collaborative work between Lancaster and The Work Foundation include:

The London Creative Digital Fusion Project

Drawing on the combined expertise of researchers and led by Lancaster’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, this £5.1m project supports innovative collaborations between small and medium-sized businesses in the London digital and creative industries. Other partners in the initiative are the University of London, Queen Mary University, the Royal College of Art and the Council for Industry and Higher Education. This initiative runs until June 2014 and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Design in European Policies

This €1.45m EU-funded project aims to evaluate and share design innovation policies to help spur European growth. The Work Foundation’s Big Innovation Centre and Lancaster University’s ImaginationLancaster are collaborating to map EU design innovation policies; create a tool for policymakers to evaluate future design policies; and provide an online platform for policymakers to access the evaluation tool. Other partners on the project are Politecnico di Milano, Confartigianato Lombardia, Munktell Science Park and Pro Design.

The Value of Open Innovation: Mapping approaches

This work charts the open innovation approaches and activities of the twelve corporate partners of the initiative. BAe Systems Visiting Fellow Dr John Golightly led the project, with support from researchers at the Big Innovation Centre, LUMS MBA student and PhD candidate Chris Ford and Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development faculty member Dr Jan Pfister. The final report was launched at an event at The Work Foundation in September 2012.

UK design as a global industry: international trade and intellectual property

This recent research project was commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and was led by The Work Foundation’s Big Innovation Centre with support from Lancaster University’s ImaginationLancaster. Launched at an event in June, the research mapped the UK design industry’s role in global trade in design and offered analysis and recommendations for the IPO on the role of design rights in supporting international trade in design. It provided an opportunity for copyright owners, technology companies, users, consumers, academics and policymakers to explore the legal implications of design rights and the international scale of UK design and IP.

The Impact of Engaging

In January 2012, a joint conference between LUMS and The Work Foundation, ran in London to help organisations, academics, practitioners and policy makers understand the impact of knowledge exchange between higher education institutions, government and industry.

Letting the Barbarians through the Gates: Harnessing the power of social media

Part of The Work Foundation’s larger stream of work on the role of HR in supporting organisational innovation, this project examined best practice around how employees use social media in the workplace. It was a close collaboration between researchers from the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, the late David White, formerly a LUMS PhD candidate and LUMS Professor Mike Chiasson. The report was launched at an event in September 2011 at The Work Foundation. A summary of the research was published in the November 2011 edition of HR Magazine.