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ICRS puts research on the agenda

April 2015

I’d like to see the day where there is a revolving door between the academic and corporate worlds. Companies can learn a huge amount from academics, and academics can gain insights from companies which help them keep their courses current. There are already a number of companies teaming up with academic institutions to find solutions to corporate dilemmas, but we at the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS) feel that more can be done to broker business-academic partnerships, and to bring valuable research ‘to market’.
That is why the Institute is setting up a Research Working Group to discuss how we can help bridge the gap between academe and CR and sustainability professionals. Corporate research funding programmes are one aspect to this, and there are already lots of good examples of such partnerships creating fruitful results:
• Nike is funding research into sustainable materials through the Sustainable Materials Project at the London College of Fashion
• Apple have created a Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Academy in China in partnership with Nanjing University, Sun Yat-sen University and the Institute for Sustainable Communities to help train EHS managers and raise standards in their supply chain
• Imperial College London’s Smart Water Systems Lab is receiving input from NEC to develop technologies that make water supply infrastructures more energy efficient, adaptable and environmentally sensitive
But there’s also a plethora of ‘every day’ Masters and PHD research projects that practitioners could find useful but usually do not have the time or connection to explore. This is where the ICRS can step in.
We are committed to learning and one of our roles is to propagate best practice by opening people up to new ideas. In May, we will launch the Research Working Group, bringing together academics and professionals to build a plan. The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the Doughty Centre at Cranfield, among others, have proved that academic institutions can harness the results of their research and translate them into practical insights for business. We want to help disseminate findings from centres such as these, and over the medium to longer term, we want to identify and support areas of research that will provide the greatest benefit to practitioners and their employers.
Our first academic partnership is with Nottingham University to develop an e-Book for the profession.
If this interests you, keep track of the conversation by following us on Twitter @WeAreICRS,
And if you are keen to become a part of the community, do consider joining us. ICRS membership will help you to develop your CRS career, give you recognition of your experience, and let you demonstrate your credentials to employers. It will also create a network for you to test ideas, make you part of a wider movement, and ensure that you stay on top of your game. Find out more about membership and how to apply here: https://icrs.info/membership
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@icrs.info or call us on 020 7839 019

Claudine Blamey is Chair of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS) and Head of Stewardship at The Crown Estate.
 




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