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.