We established the Work Futures Research Centre in December 2008 with four co-directors: Professor Susan Halford, Professor Pauline Leonard, Professor Alison Fuller, and Professor Catherine Pope. Originally supported by the Research Strategy sub-committee of the School of Social Sciences, a year later WFRC became a University Strategic Research Group.
Our objectives are :
– To build a collaborative, interdisciplinary network for academic research on changing forms of work organisation, workforce change, development and learning, and employment
– To improve links with employers, policy makers, and other stakeholders outside the University to strengthen Work Futures research
– To inform and influence the agenda for research on Work Futures and position the University of Southampton as a leading centre for this research
Since 2008 members of our WFRC network have raised in excess of £4.5m in funding across 21 research projects linked to our priorities. Our research has led to over 30 research papers and contributed to different Units of Assessment in the University’s REF2014 submission.
Recent successes include a commissioned scoping study for ESRC, on the ‘New Dynamics of Working’ which will inform research strategy for this major funder. Pauline Leonard and Susan Halford were also recipients of funding from the inaugural PublicPolicy@Southampton project which led to a symposium at the House of Commons on ‘Gender Equality at Work: How far have we come and how far have we got to go?’ in 2013.
WFRC members developed an innovative undergraduate curriculum module ‘Work and Employment Theory in Practice’ and delivered a multidisciplinary seminar series with the Digital Economy USRG focussed on the role of technology in school-to-work transition.
In September 2013, Alison Fuller left the University of Southampton to take up a new post at the Institute of Education at the University of London ESRC Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies. Alison remains a key collaborator in WFRC and Professor Peter Griffiths has joined us as a co-director. Peter is based in Faculty of Health Sciences and brings further expertise on workforce configuration and organisational policy in health sector to the Centre. Peter is currently working on a major review for NICE about staff-patient ratios in the NHS.