Research review

Delve into our annual publication of research taking place in the University of Sussex Business School.


Professor Steven McGuire, dean of the business schoolIn our annual Research Review, we showcase a cross-section of the innovative research being undertaken here at the University of Sussex Business School that seeks to address some of the key challenges facing the modern world, from the current pandemic and the evolving world of work to the role of innovation in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. We share with you our plans, successes and a selection of our recent activities and outputs.

While our intellectual footprint goes back at least five decades, the current range and quality of our expertise places us at the forefront of research and teaching that is of direct relevance to business practice and policymaking. Across the School, our strengths lie in interdisciplinary, policy-focused research with particular expertise in three areas: energy, innovation and sustainability. We are placed 1st in the UK for Energy Economics and 2nd for Innovation in the most recent Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) rankings.

In alignment with the University’s Strategic Framework, Sussex 2025, the School is committed to understanding and responding to the grand issues of our time by challenging conventional thinking and discourse, being creative and open in our approaches, and innovative in our methods, in order to produce world-class research with impact. This review gives a flavour of this research and the work that has gone into producing it over the past year.

Professor Steven McGuire

Dean of the Business School


Headshot of Professor Constantin Blome RR

Last year we were concerned that Brexit posed a significant challenge to the research landscape, but the global coronavirus pandemic has brought an entirely new level of disruption to the sector. The difficulties and uncertainties posed by Brexit remain, and in many cases have been compounded by the advent of COVID-19, which has brought unprecedented challenges of its own. It has also brought to light the importance and value of research to society in general as it has proved key to paving the way out of the crisis and providing the tools needed to repair the damage caused to society, the economy and people’s lives.

Here at the University of Sussex Business School our research is helping inform policy and business practice across a broad array of pandemic-related challenges, from the science policy of mitigation measures and vaccines to the economic and personal impacts on jobs and working practices.

We are fortunate that a great deal of our research concerns the megatrends that play such a vital role in our understanding of the pandemic and its aftermath – such as transformation, innovation, resilience and sustainability. All of these issues are important to the future of society and so it is heartening that we have experienced another highly successful year on the research front – in terms of research funding and citation counts, but more importantly, new research projects that make a real difference to the world we live in.

Richard Taylor RR

However, we are confronted with a paradox: the financial pressures resulting from the pandemic threaten the resources required to undertake ground-breaking research at precisely the time that the need for such research has never been greater. While this is a problem for universities and governments to solve, the pandemic has forced us to reconsider our research strategy as an institution. In addition to the challenges of resourcing research, research itself has become more digitalized, providing access to new international research networks and making global thought leaders more accessible, but at the same time rendering physical conferences and unplanned research encounters virtually non-existent. As we know from our colleague Ohid Yaqub, serendipity is vitally important in the research process; and so we must better understand how, in the ‘new normal’, we can keep alive the intellectual environment of ‘creative chaos’ that has so often proved necessary for achieving ground-breaking research.

As a school, we have succeeded thus far in maintaining research momentum in a locked-down world, and although many of us look forward to a (research) life after the pandemic, it seems that institutionally we have already learned and adapted (for the most part) to our new conditions. Our REF preparations are on track; a high proportion of our publications are internationally co-authored; our research centres continue to gain visibility, recognition and acclaim; key metrics around PhD success remain strong; and our research income generation is amongst the very best in the country, with the School retaining its top-three position in the Chartered Association of Business Schools’ research income rankings and securing more research funding last year than any other UK business school.

In the second edition of our Annual Research Review, we invite you to find out more about this year’s activities and achievements. Of course, the highlighted research only allows the reader to infer what the research culture in Sussex is like. Nevertheless, we believe we are an institution that inspires other researchers through collaboration, collegiality and interdisciplinary research (for example through our Research Mobilisation Groups). 

Rankings, of course, fail to capture some important elements of a research culture, but given that we are located in a young university and are a school of smaller size than many, we are delighted to be positioned 9th in the UK for research excellence according to the Times Higher Education Ranking and within the top 20 in the world for research citations and h-index. We have produced some of the world’s most heavily cited research, with four of our faculty appearing in the top 1% of researchers globally by citation count – across ALL academic disciplines, not just those of concern to business schools (source: Clarivate Analytics). Indeed, when it comes to demonstrating the reach and influence of our research, for example using field-weighted citation data, we consistently outperform both the Russell Group in the UK and the Ivy League in the US (source: Scopus; SciVal). This demonstrates the global importance of our research to both society and the academy, and reaffirms our conviction that we are on course to becoming one of the very best producers of business and policy-related research in the world.

Pictured first: Professor Constantin Blome, Associate Dean – Research; pictured second: Dr Richard Taylor, Research Manager.

In depth

Pandemics, Pandemonium and Panaceas

COVID-19 is perhaps the most significant science policy issue of our time. 

Researchers at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) have examined critical issues surrounding diagnostic technologies, vaccines and therapeutics, and response paradigms.

Find out more…

read the previous year’s articles

In the media

There were 979 items of coverage in the UK media with a total reach of 1.5 billion (1 September 2019 to 28 August 2020).

Coverage where staff or research were mentioned without the ‘University of Sussex’ affiliations is not included in these statistics.

Top five stories

Research on COVID-19, Brexit and cocky kids features in the Business School's top five media stories (largest reach per individual news item):

  1. Food supply warning as government urged to tackle 'disruptions and shortages' (April 2020) MSN
  2. Cocky kids: Four-year-olds are as overconfident as BANKERS when it comes to taking risks, study reveals (April 2020) Daily Mail
  3. Brexit 'could mean border checks between England, Scotland and Wales' (November 2019) The Independent
  4. Banning access to work emails outside office hours ‘could impact employees’ wellbeing’ (October 2019) The Independent
  5. Brexit: Cars produced in Japan to be stamped ‘Made in Britain’ under Boris Johnson’s plans (July 2020) The Independent

Top news stories by department

  • Accounting and Finance

    How market manipulation in the age of pandemic is destroying traditional safe havens (Carol Alexander) (May 2020)

  • Economics

    Brexit: Cars produced in Japan to be stamped ‘Made in Britain’ under Boris Johnson’s plans (Alan Winters/Peter Holmes) (July 2020) The Independent

  • Management

    Banning access to work emails outside office hours ‘could impact employees’ wellbeing’ (Emma Russell) (October 2019) The Independent

  • SPRU

    Food supply warning as government urged to tackle 'disruptions and shortages' (Erik Millstone) (April 2020) MSN

  • Marketing and Strategy

    Cocky kids: Four-year-olds are as overconfident as BANKERS when it comes to taking risks, study reveals (Dominik Piehlmaier) (April 2020) The Daily Mail

Download the 2018-19 Research Review

You can download:

These are legacy documents that may not be fully accessible.

Research Review printed cover

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