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Knowledge Hub

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The Knowledge Hub is a key focus for innovation in the Faculty of Business and Law.

Through our wide range of Knowledge Clusters we bring together academic staff, students and ‘real world’ partners to make sense of the key challenges facing contemporary business and society.

Our Knowledge Clusters reflect the passion and expertise of our academic staff. Of equal importance, though, are the research needs of our business community. By bringing together a treasure trove of resource in a creative environment we seek to spark innovation in teaching, research and knowledge exchange that can really make a difference.

Our clusters are action-orientated and entrepreneurial as well as scholarly. They are passionate about working with a wide range of stakeholders to build a useful evidence base and facilitating practitioners to use that evidence to build a sustainable future.

Knowledge Hub Director, Dr Julia Rouse.

Latest News and Opportunities

Dr Kate Cook discusses Ched Evans’s return to football on BBC North West Tonight

Dr Kate Cook (leader of the Gender knowledge cluster) appeared on Monday evening’s edition of BBC North West Tonight (5.1.2015) to talk about Ched Evans’s potential return to professional football.

Knowledge Hub Director wins best paper award for ISBE 2014

Dr Julia Rouse receiving Winner Best Paper (Gender and Enterprise)

Congratulations to Dr Julia Rouse for her award at ISBE 2014. Julia was presented with Winner Best Paper (Gender and Enterprise) at the awards dinner for a piece of research she co-authored with Prof. John Kitching entitled Embodying Entrepreneur Pregnancy: More Individualised Strategising than Mutual Adjustment.

A view from the MPA

Logo for the MPA

Jeff McCarthy (Digital and Social Media Marketing knowledge cluster) has written a piece for the Manchester Evening News regarding the local digital economy:

Digital now cuts right across enterprise in areas such as order fulfilment, customer psychology, product development to name but a few. Anyone involved needs to be a keen learner – the one thing of which you can be 100% certain, is the digital landscape constantly evolves… [and] the north west needs to develop and retain digital talent across all disciplines.

The full article is available on the Manchester Evening News website. The MPA is also involved in our Future Talent in Creative Industries event, organised for postgraduate students at MMU Business School by the Creative Industries knowledge cluster.

Project looking for ‘best practice case examples’ regarding part-time staff returning to work from maternity leave

Dr Julia Rouse (MMU Business School) and Jamie Atkinson (Manchester Law School) are carrying out research into the experience of small firms managing staff who take maternity leave and then want to return to work part-time. They are currently interviewing employees and managers and hope to present their findings next year.

As a member of the External Advisory Group to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination in the Workplace Project’, Dr Rouse advises on the development of practical materials to help small firms manage maternity fairly and productively.

We are currently looking for ‘best practice case examples’, so if you know any women employed by a small firm or SME who has managed staff maternity, and have a positive story to tell, we would love to hear about their experiences.

For more information about the project and how to get involved, please email Jamie Atkinson at

MMU and Sport England report on sports volunteering published

Sport England

A report on sports volunteering commissioned by Sport England and involving Knowledge Hub affiliates has been published. The ‘Volunteering Insight’ project, led by Ryan Groom of the Business in Sport knowledge cluster, along with William Taylor (also from Manchester Metropolitan University) and Lee Nelson (University of Hull), was conducted over a four week period in March 2014.

Among the key findings were:

  • The number of adults volunteering in 2012–13 is down from 6 million the previous year to 5.2 million.
  • Key motivations behind volunteering included: a love for sport, giving back to sport, child involvement, volunteering linked to education and employment, career aspirations and social connection.
  • Whereas noted barriers to volunteering included: time, motivation, financial constraints, responsibility, awareness, lack of confidence and knowledge, administration and bureaucracy, and professionalisation.
  • Preparation and training were highlighted to be important for volunteering.
  • Important factors influencing the retention of volunteers included: rewards, recognition (even a simple ‘thank you’), providing qualifications and expenses, clear roles and on-going support.
  • Factors leading to drop outs included: personal circumstances, organisational circumstances, lack of enjoyment, child dropout, financial issues, qualifications, and (micro)political influences.

The report is avaliable to view on the Sport England website at Alternatively, you can download the report here.

Work Psychology knowledge cluster launches

The Work Psychology cluster will host an event on September 10th to introduce their work and the benefits of understanding how psychology can be valuably applied to the workplace.

There will be lunch and an opportunity to network with other members of the University together with a short practical (and fun!) session with some pointers on how to use psychological insights to help you survive and thrive at the start of a new academic year.

This meeting takes place in room 4.04 in the Business School from 1pm–3pm. Places are limited so hurry to book your place online at

Consumer Behaviour cluster to research the gift-giving traditions of British Asians

Gift of Togetherness

A new research project involving the Consumer Behaviour knowledge cluster aims to inspire new ways of building links between ethnic minority groups. The project team will explore the inter-generational differences of British Muslims with a Pakistani, Indian or Bengali background through traditional gift-giving practices.

Researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the differences through the years to provide insights into if any changes in cultural traditions and behaviours are taking place.

Results from the project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, could then help develop community engagement strategies through greater understanding of ethnic minority groups.

Cluster leader Dr Amna Khan elaborated upon the need for undertaking the project:

Many people in the community felt that post-911, Muslims had received a lot of negative publicity.

There was limited information which acknowledged the contribution they made to communities and society in general. So a project which explored how they gave gifts to people within their community and outside their community was developed.

Britain is a multicultural society with many different ethnic groups and cultures. To make a society work together it is important to understand the diverse cultures and behaviours.

This study is important as it gives insights how communities can work together through the act of gift giving.

To collect the data, the plan is to conduct 90 oral interviews in community centres throughout the North West and build links with residents. The findings will be shared with people of all ages groups at the Manchester Mega Mela 2015, through activities such as story telling corner, quizzes, interactive displays and audios.

The interviews will be stored in the North West Sound Archive. Transcripts and some copies will be housed in Manchester’s Central Library. The story book will be displayed in the community centres involved in the project.

For more information about the project, please visit

Turning potential into legacy: Business in Sport cluster to host sports volunteering conference at MMU

With the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games well underway, barely two years after the London 2012 Olympic Games the focus has returned to organisational aspects of such mega events, with discussion centering on how to make these events a success and of generating a legacy. The ‘games makers’, for example, were a prominent part of London 2012 and they highlighted just how important volunteers are to the running of sports events both large and small.

With this in mind, on September 10th the Business in Sport subject cluster hosts its first annual conference on this very issue, bringing together academics, practitioners and policymakers with a shared interest in sports volunteering. Keynote speakers include people with the ideal experience and expertise in this particular area, such as Keith Russell, Head of Sport and Events at Glasgow Life, the company that coordinated volunteers at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Taking place in the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 nominated Benzie Building at Manchester School of Art, the conference aims to provide a platform for a variety of opinions from across the landscape as well as the opportunity to network, debate and share ideas around a number of key themes. Delegates will be invited to attend a mix of mini-keynotes, interactive workshops and practitioner-led seminars in order to encompass a diverse range of perspectives.

Catherine Elliot, Senior Lecturer at MMU and one of the conference organisers, worked as a volunteer during the 2002 Commonnwealth Games in Manchester. ‘We could not have sport without volunteers,’ she told Mike Sweeney on BBC Radio Manchester. ‘[Sport] has always needed people to volunteer and put their hand up.’

Sweeney’s programme on Monday 28 July was broadcast live from the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, and largely examined the legacy of those 2002 Games.

Catherine’s research interest in the importance of volunteers at mega events was born from her own volunteering experience:

‘I was a timing assistant for both the triathlon and the marathon, which involved picking up the split times and running them up to the press office. Of course this wouldn’t happen now as they are probably done automatically.’

‘It was really good to be part of a huge event, a “mega event”, that was running in this country, and I have followed on with that, carried on volunteering, and now teach in this area of sport. It was the impetus to get me going in my career.’

Tickets for the conference are priced at £35 per delegate. For more information regarding the particulars of this event, please visit our events calendar or download our promotional flyer.

ESRC Festival of Social Science

Debate, discuss, discover

The Knowledge Hub has successfully secured sponsorship from the European Social Research Council (ESRC) to host three exciting and innovative events at MMU as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science (1–7 November 2014). The Festival will provide a fantastic opportunity for the Knowledge Hub to invite a local, national and international audience into the Business School to engage with our research.

  • Dr Julia Rouse: Developing women’s enterprise to create sustainable communities (4 November 2014)
  • Dr Kate Cook (Faculty of Law): Community services for women survivors of sexual violence (4 November 2014)
  • Professor Cathy Urquart and Professor Callum Thomas: Resolving the conflict between consumerism and sustainable development (7 November 2014)

Further details about the ESRC Festival can be found at

The ISBE Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund (RAKE) Call for Applications 2014

The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) fund is an initiative supported by Barclays Bank and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) administered through ISBE. This initiative aims to encourage and support research activities from academics, third sector organisations, consultants and practitioners with the ambition of drawing together and generating an entrepreneurial community of practice to facilitate knowledge exchange and transfer.

Applications are invited from individuals or teams. Collaborative bids which draw together any combination of third sector organisations, academic researchers, consultants and practitioners are particularly welcome.

Applications that ‘think outside of the box’ are encouraged. A potential but not exhaustive list of suggestions include:

  • Putting value on Innovation
  • Start up and the barriers to obtaining funding for IP (intellectual property)
  • Regional economic sustainability and small firm innovation
  • Measuring the value of innovation
  • Bank support for firms with IP and development potential
  • Policy support structures to encourage entrepreneurial activity – exploring the opportunities of small firm innovation

We draw attention to the Strategic priorities of the ESRC which embraces three broad priorities any of which can be mapped onto and integrated with the themes outlined above:

  • Economic Performance and Sustainable Growth
  • Influencing Behaviour and Informing Interventions
  • A Vibrant and Fair Society

Further details are available from

New PR MSc launched to help boost careers

A flexible MSc degree in Public Relations and Media Management for students to learn from the comfort of their own home or office has been launched.

The course is designed for busy PR professionals aiming to enhance their career within the PR industry and learn in their own time.

Course content offers the opportunity for people to gain new PR and digital communications skills with a range of affordable study options – from shorter Postgraduate Certificates to the full MSc degree – anywhere in the UK.

Live weekly webinars will be hosted by experienced MMU PR professionals, with students able to interact with fellow classmates and tutors via video links. Each course unit also features two Foundation Days at the University’s new £75million Business School.

Flexible learning

All webinar-based lectures and accompanying materials can be replayed and studied after the live sessions, providing even greater flexibility for learning to fit around people’s busy lives.

The course also offers students full access to the University’s resources as well as the ability to meet and network with fellow professionals, guest speakers and the academic team.

Dr Jane Tonge, course leader and leader of the Creative Industries knowledge cluster, said:

‘It really is an innovative course, offering true flexible learning for students who can go at their own pace. It gives people from anywhere in the country the chance to pick up new qualifications and is tailored to meet their needs.

‘The online course is unique and allows people to interact with our experienced lecturers, all with PR and digital industry backgrounds. We believe this is a completely new way to study, giving students new freedoms and interactivity plus weekly interaction with expert tutors to guide you every step of the way.

Enhance your PR career

‘It has been designed for PR professionals who want to combine a busy working life with a flexible part-time course, and allows them to step on and off the course while gaining interim qualifications which will enhance their career prospects.’

PR professionals who have a CIPR diploma already hold one third of the masters and can be fast-tracked.

The course would suit practitioners whose initial qualifications do not include PR, those looking for a focus on digital communications or who are seeking to progress to a more strategic PR management role. It will also suit other communications professionals.

The first two units can be done in eight months, earning students a Postgraduate Certificate, while a further eight months study earns a Postgraduate Diploma. Students can stop and start the course when they want, picking up more qualifications as they progress.

Find more information about the course on the dedicated course page, and for information on the subject cluster’s activity please visit the Creative Industries webpage.

Success in the MMU Teaching Awards

Congratulations to Dr Steve Mansfield from the Business in Sport subject cluster and David Edmundson-Bird, leader of the Digital and Social Media Marketing subject cluster, who were both shortlisted at the 2014 MMU Teaching Awards in Outstanding Teaching for Employability.

Business-savvy Greater Manchester students go head to head in Young Enterprise competition

Budding entrepreneurs who have set up their own businesses will go head to head in the next stage of the national Young Enterprise competition.

Students from twelve Greater Manchester schools will be vying for the top awards of ‘Best Company, Greater Manchester’ and ‘Runner-Up company, Greater Manchester’ at the Young Enterprise Greater Manchester Strategic Finals at Manchester Metropolitan University on Thursday 1 May.

All the students have set up and run their own companies with the help of business mentors as part of a Young Enterprise company programme that inspires Greater Manchester’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

The students have produced and sold a range of products which include an educational online magazine for children, bags and purses made from recycled Caprisun cartons, vintage clothes that have been revamped into fashionable items, and covered notebooks made from recycled clothing.

North West Area Manager for Young Enterprise, Suzanne Lockwood said:

The Greater Manchester Strategic Finals mark the second stage in a national competition to find 2014’s Best Young Enterprise Company in the UK. We are delighted to be working with MMU who are hosting the event, it’s only fitting that the Faculty of Business and Law at one of Manchester’s top Universities is the venue for such a showcase.

The students will display the products and services they’ve developed and will be grilled by our expert panel of judges who will be scrutinising their business reports and profit margins.

The winner and runner-up companies will get the chance to represent Greater Manchester in the third stage of the competition – the North West Young Enterprise Regional Finals at Barclays Technology Centre, Radbroke on 19th June.

We’ve seen some great businesses set up by young people in Greater Manchester this year and I wish all the students the best of luck.

Young Enterprise believes that young people ‘learn by doing’ and over the years countless young people have been inspired to start up their own businesses after taking part in our Company Programme.

Setting up their own companies while still in school gives young people a unique real-life experience of business and enterprise and gives them invaluable practical skills that prepare them for the world of work.

More than 700 fifteen to eighteen year-olds in schools across Greater Manchester have taken part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme this year with help from local business volunteers.

The twelve companies who have made it to this stage are:

  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls: ‘ReStyled’
  • Loreto Grammar School: ‘Bellesa’
  • Bolton School Girls’ Division: ‘Tweega’
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Boys: ‘X.Y.Enteprises’
  • Bolton School Girls’ Division: ‘Revamp’
  • Cheadle Hulme High School: ‘Enigma’
  • Bury Girls Grammar School: ‘Fortis’
  • Oldham Sixth Form College: ‘Take Note
  • Manchester High School for Girls: ‘Aspire’
  • Withington Girls’ School: ‘Undercover’
  • Manchester High School for Girls: ‘Innovation’
  • North Chadderton School: ‘Sweet Course Candle’

The winner of the ‘Best Company’ Award and ‘Runner-Up’ will go forward into the North West Regional Final on 19th June where they will compete for the chance to represent the North West at the Young Enterprise National Finals in London in July.

For photos of the teams or interviews with the students please contact: Suzanne Lockwood Area Manager for the North West on 07841 880996 or email

Project 28–40: The Report

Project 28–40 gives insight into the needs, opinions and aspirations of the 25,000 women and men who filled in their survey. This report is a first look at what they told them, and what needs to be done.

The report shows that women are just as confident, able and ambitious as men, while sharing similar priorities in work and life. Frustratingly, they are still not receiving enough support from their employers to achieve their ambitions. We’ve set out simple things that organisations can do to make work better for all their employees – men and women – and now it’s up to them to take action.
— Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Chair of Opportunity Now

Download the report at

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award 2015 now open
— Internal call for Expressions of Interest

Collaborative Doctoral Awards are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships between Higher Education Institution (HEI) departments and non-HEI organisations and businesses.

These awards provide funded studentships based on opportunities for doctoral students to gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment. The support provided by both a university and non-university supervisor enhances the employment-related skills and training a research student gains during the course of their award.

The studentships also encourage and establish links that can have long-term benefits for both collaborating partners, providing access to resources and materials, knowledge and expertise that may not otherwise have been available and also provide social, cultural and economic benefits to wider society.

The current AHRC call for Collaborative Doctoral Awards has a cap of two applications per HEI. We therefore need to run an internal MMU Expression of Interest Call so that we ensure that we are complying with that maximum and are putting forward our strongest applications.

Please submit a short Expression of Interest form by Wednesday 21 May. Forms should be submitted to Germaine Loader, Research Development Manager in RKE at Geramine can also answer any questions you have about the scheme). EOIs will then be assessed by a panel likely to include relevant Research Institute Directors and they will select those to go forward to develop an AHRC application.

Please visit for more information.

News and opportunities archive

For more information

  • Director:
    Dr Julia Rouse
  • Address:
    Knowledge Hub,
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Business School,
    All Saints Campus,
    Oxford Road,
    Manchester, M15 6BH,
    United Kingdom
For general enquiries, contact
  • Katherine Roycroft
    Research Project and Development Manager (Mon–Wed)
  • Telephone:
    0161 247 6067
  • Email:

  • Jane Walkington-Ellis
    Research Project and Development Manager (Wed–Fri)
  • Telephone:
    0161 247 3654
  • Email:

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