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Socio-Economic and Applied Research for Change Centre

Socio-Economic Research
Projects and events
The team

From the analysis of the 2014 REF results it was clear that both the environment and impact factors for the University could have been improved (the later received a GPA of 1.99). The University has therefore given attention to ways in which these can be developed. To this end, it was considered that there should be more focus and greater co-ordination of the research in some areas.

The SEARCH research centre was therefore created as a vehicle to improve the impact score around socio-economic and applied research. This brings together the academic disciplines of business, economics and sociology as the core research functions, but might also include areas such as social work, criminology, and education (according to the research brief). The advantage is that SEARCH provides a vehicle for sharing ideas and skills, and encourages complementary research to blossom.

SEARCH does not house sociological research, nor does it house economic research: Instead, it looks at socio-economical and applied research projects, which explore particular sociological issues from an economics perspective, or an economical issue from a sociological perspective. This does not limit SEARCH strictly to these disciplines and may well involve the wider context as outlined above.


Upcoming events

Making an Impact – Valuing the Social and Economic worth of the Voluntary and Community Sector

Wednesday 6th June 2018, Hope Park Campus, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, L16 9JD

Call for Papers, information about registration to the conference and dates will be posted soon on our Making and Impact Conference webpage. For any enquiries please email us at 

Current Projects

The centre is engaged in a number of projects and partnerships to carry out research in line with its mission and objectives. Brief descriptions of some of the current projects, along with their investigators, are listed below:

Clear Blue Water - analysing the economic multiplier impact of EitC using LM3

Local Multiplier 3 is a tried and tested methodology for investigating the economic multiplier effect of an organisation or larger-scale business on its locality and community of influence. Using this methodology we are seeking to establish the impact of EitC on its locality and community-of-influence. This impact is, primarily, being viewed through the lens of the economic multiplier effect. But, it will, also, take snap-shot case studies, of a more ethnographic nature, which investigate the social meaning of the multiplier impact on Everton staff, supply chain businesses and others within the local neighbourhood.

Principal Investigators: Tony Bradley & Curtis Ziniel

Greening the economy - waves of the environmental social movement on business development

Building on our recent published work (Bradley & Ziniel, 2016) on 'green governance', examining the connections between political change in UK local authorities and the presence of green businesses, the next stage of the research looks at how the broad environmental social movement is distributed across the England & Wales space, in relation to green and 'ethical' business.

We examine empirical evidence, since the turn of the millennium, on the formation of organisations and businesses that seek to implement 'environmental economic' principles and practices in localities. This is correlated with ONS data for four points since 2000. We identify several waves of the green movement in the UK and across the West. Our empirical data is drawn from a range of sources concerning the green movement, examining the spread of green businesses, within the supply side of the economy (e.g. Ethical Junction, Green Achiever, Social Enterprise Places) and the consumption sphere demand side (e.g. Fairtrade Towns, Transition Towns).

The resulting analysis will indicate the extent to which the growth of the ethical marketplace - which we have previously analysed - is differentially distributed across the UK space.

Principal Investigators: Tony Bradley & Curtis Ziniel

The topography of ethical business - mapping the potential for green markets across the UK space

We are developing our use of the data sets deployed for examining both the spread of green business, correlated against political change and the impact of the green movement on business development. These are being brought together in order to develop a model for predicting the conditions under which green market-places are most likely to succeed within UK localities. We are overlaying a range of official statistics indicators - developing those used in the 'green governance' paper, together with others that are being used by the OECD, as 'indicators of green growth' - together with our own production, distribution and consumption spheres data-sets.

The model is, also, being tested against recent political changes, especially concerning the 2015 General Election and the 2016 EU referendum, to indicate the degree to which green business-based solidarity economies are being formed within the UK political economy.

Principal Investigators: Tony Bradley & Curtis Ziniel

Service users' experiences of multi-agency early intervention arrangements in Children's social care

A study of children and their parents’ experiences of the Common Assessment Framework. This is a multi-agency process aimed at engaging agencies in working with parents, and children and young people whose needs are deemed unmet by universal services such as education and primary health care. This qualitative inquiry addressed issues in respect of service users' participation in developing working relationships with professionals and the demands of developing effective agency as a parent or young person.

Principal Investigator: Steven Lucas

Mental health provision for the non-statutory homeless

Research into mental health provision for the non-statutory homeless. This study uses a freedom of information inquiry directed to all the Primary Care Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the National Health Service in England.

Principal Investigator: Steven Lucas

Evaluation of the youth work Everton FC is engaged with in Liverpool working with young people on the edge of secure accommodation and local authority care

This project is in the process of developing a project evaluating some of the youth work Everton FC is engaged with in Liverpool working with young people on the edge of secure accommodation and local authority care.

Principal Investigators: Steven Lucas, Lucy Hanson and Sue Gregory

‘Everton in the Community’ and its behavioural and psychological effect of fan loyalty

Ian and I are currently working on loyalty, both behavioural and psychological and the effect (if any) that Everton in the Community has on these. There will also be a focus on how this loyalty may be in transition from either high to low or low to high. If in fact there are supporters in transition of loyalty, what interventions could be made to ensure this transition not only takes place but is perhaps sped up. We are also investigating the behavioural and psychological attributes of supporters, with a lens focused on satellite supporters. These satellite supporters are widely regarded as the future of the globalisation of football. We aim to investigate predominately overseas supporters and compare their sense of loyalty to those nationally.

Principal Investigators: Professor Ian Vandewalle and Clay Grandsen

The Social Quality of Participatory Democracy

This project focuses on the ways in which participatory democratic social settings enhance social empowerment and social quality. The research uses the social quality perspective as a counter to the corrosive influence on democracy by neoliberal ideology and policy. By focusing on the much broader concept of the social, rather than solely the economic, social quality argues that aspects of visions of the good society cannot be reduced, as neoliberalism does, to atomised, rational economic actors pursuing self-interest. Instead, humans are seen as social beings.

The focus on social conditions broadens the scope to a range of factors involved in improving society, including, socio-economic security, social cohesion, social inclusion, social empowerment and sustainability. This research will apply the latest stage of social quality thinking to forms of participatory democracy, based on empirical research of a democratic workplace and a democratic local government initiative (participatory budgeting). It will argue that these forms of social relations can enhance the social quality of societies.

Principal Investigator: Steve Corbett

The Post-Brexit Declaration on Social Quality in Europe

This project is an initiative with my colleague Prof Alan Walker (Sheffield University) which updates the Amsterdam Declaration on Social Quality (1997) to reflect the changing socio-political and political economic circumstances following the Brexit vote and the rise of right wing populism across the globe. The project will collect signatories from across academia and develop a series of articles on the theme of 'the social' in post-Brexit Europe. The declaration is available to read here:

Principal Investigators: Steve Corbett and Professor Alan Walker

Assessing the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of Employability and youth engagement initiatives by ‘Everton in the Community’

This project will assess the wider social and economic impact that the employability and youth engagement initiatives has produced on the youth. Amongst other findings, the research will calculate the SROI ratio that will enable to estimate the ‘extra-financial’ value (i.e., the wider social and environmental value) relative to the resources invested in achieving that value.

Principal Investigator: Asad Ghalib

Monitoring and Evaluation of Survivors to Thrivers

The Big Lottery Fund has funded this research project to monitor and evaluate the local domestic abuse service Survivors to Thrivers from 2016-2019. This service is run by charity organisation The First Step in Huyton, Knowsley, and it aims to support survivors of domestic abuse to achieve:

  • increased confidence and self-esteem
  • reduced isolation and increased safety
  • more control over their future and increased awareness of opportunities available e.g. volunteering, education and employment
  • Qualitative focus groups, quantitative scales and peer-interviews by service users are being used by the researchers to investigate the extent to which Survivors to Thrivers is meeting its aims.

This service is one of the few in this sector to provide long-term support over several months. The evaluation will therefore add to the evidence-base around the effectiveness and value of sustained supports for abuse survivors.

Principal Investigators: Emma Katz and Lucy Hanson

Pass on the Memories

The Pass on the Memories project is delivered by Everton in the Community in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Trust and supports people living with dementia and their carers. Pass on the Memories started in 2013 and has attracted the attention of policy makers at a national level as a model of innovative practice but there is an urgent need for a mixed methods evaluation of the project's social impact on the lives of participants both during and after the eight-week programme of events.

Principal Investigator: David Neary


ReInvest is an EU-funded project involving 19 partners from across Europe aiming to contribute to the construction of a more inclusive Europe based on a social investment strategy to build solidarity and trust in the post-financial crisis era. The project adopts a participative approach that gives voice to vulnerable groups and civil society organisations alongside high quality academic research. Liverpool Hope University colleagues, Professor Michael Lavalette and Dr Rich Moth, are work package leaders and I contribute to another work package on the impact of the crisis on vulnerable groups’ access to health care services across Europe.

Investigators: David Neary, Professor Michael Lavalette and Rich Moth

The impact of aggravated austerity on health care systems

In collaboration with Dr Francois Briatte, European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL) at the Université Catholique de Lille, I am working on a paper to explore the continuing impact of austerity on health care systems across Europe with a particular emphasis on France and the UK (the NHS in England).

Principal Investigators: David Neary and Francois Briatte

Children and Domestic Abuse

This project is providing groundbreaking data on how children are harmed by domestic abuse (especially coercive and controlling behaviours), on children’s resistance and recovery, and on mother-child mutual supportiveness in domestic abuse contexts. The initial phase of the research involved collecting qualitative data from 30 children and mothers in the UK who had experienced domestic abuse.

The data has so far been disseminated through 5 journal articles, including the international award-winning article ‘Beyond the Physical Incident Model: How Children Living with Domestic Violence are Harmed By and Resist Regimes of Coercive Control’ (Best Publication 2016 – Women Against Violence Europe). A monograph based on the research will be published by Oxford University Press in 2020. Insights from the research are being shared with thousands of practitioners through an ongoing programme of presentations and training sessions at NHS conferences, local governments, Safeguarding Children Boards, Women’s Aid and other organisations.

Investigator: Dr Emma Katz

The centre attracts active researchers from a number of departments and faculties across the University and also hosts external appointments.

Listed below are current team members who are actively engaged in research:

  • Professor Ian Vandewalle (Centre Director)


The Business School

  • Professor Archontis Pantsios
  • Revd. Tony Bradley
  • Curtis Ziniel
  • Asad Ghalib
  • Clay Grandsen

School of Social Sciences

  • Professor Michael Lavalette
  • David Neary
  • Steve Corbett
  • Steven Lucas
  • Emma Katz
  • Lucy Hanson

Contact us

Liverpool Hope Business School
Liverpool Hope University
Hope Park
L16 9JD

Tel: 0151 291 3087

Centre Director

Dr. Ian Vandewalle