The first of a series of expert scoping panels of the 'High Street Futures' project took place with great success in London on the 25&26 of September.
WELCOME TO RIBEN
The RIBEN (Retail Industry Business Engagement Network) project
Despite the significance of the retail sector to the UK economy, many parts of the industry have had a limited interaction with University experts who undertake research and consultancy in the retail sector.
To encourage collaboration between universities and the retail industry the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Retail Industry Business Engagement Network (RIBEN) Capacity Building Cluster was created. The aim is to provide university-based researchers with experience of working on issues of relevance to the retail sector and working with clients from the sector.
RIBEN brings together three of the UK's leading retail research groups at the Universities of Southampton, Oxford and Leeds. Together these groups have some of the strongest existing research partnerships with the retail industry, plus long-standing records of research funding involving industry. The three groups will seek to foster wider engagement of UK university-based social scientists with the retail industry, both directly, and also via acting as 'hubs' through which other researchers with retail and consumption interests can more effectively engage in knowledge production and transfer with the industry.
The collective research capabilities of RIBEN's partner research groups at Southampton, Oxford and Leeds include expertise on issues of:
retail innovation and entrepreneurship
retail competition, regulation, planning and development
retail marketing, and retail information/network planning systems
internationalization and retail performance in the global economy
CSR and responsible/ethical sourcing
e-commerce and multichannel retailing.
The RIBEN cluster is one of six clusters funded by the ESRC to support the exchange of knowledge and capacity building. In common with other 'capacity building clusters' RIBEN has received core support from ESRC, consisting of a package of resources targeted directly at retail firms, including:
ESRC CASE doctoral studentship awards
Business vouchers for small and medium sized entrerprises in the retail sector to assess 'business relevant' university research expertise
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
Business placement awards to enable ESRC-funded students at other UK Universities to work with retail industry partners