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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

Structure and Plans (RA5)

Research Structure and Environment

Law is one of two academic groups in the School of Finance & Law, which embodies a strong commitment to effective interdisciplinary collaboration. Corporate Governance provides a natural research focus in the School where lawyers, accountants, economists, financial services specialists and tax specialists work closely together. There is a vibrant research culture focused primarily on the European Centre for Corporate Governance (ECCG, see below). Research in the School has come a long way in a short time and is going from strength to strength. This is amply demonstrated by our growing recognition in academic, government, professional and commercial circles; our development of a research degree programme and research-driven taught postgraduate programmes with a strong dissertation component; and our flourishing research seminar programme and working paper series.

The Law submission to the 1996 RAE achieved a grade 1. This result was disappointing but not surprising and prompted a fundamental re-think of our research strategy. The University’s commitment to research in Law, which had begun in 1995 with the establishment of the Steele Raymond Chair in Business Law, was further demonstrated by the appointment of a new Head of School and other research-active staff in 1997/98. The following year saw the establishment of the ECCG as the primary focus of the School’s research activities, thanks to investment by the University and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, which sponsors the Chair in Corporate Governance.

Centres of Excellence

Supported by a world-class advisory board which includes Bob Monks of Lens Investment Management LLC and Professor Takis Tridimas, the ECCG’s main research themes are: (1) economic analysis of corporate governance law and practice; (2) the legal regulation of corporate governance; (3) the impact on corporate governance of ethical issues, human rights and changes in values; and (4) corporate governance in a business context. The ECCG includes all staff listed in RA1 as well as others who feature in RA6 and one colleague who is included in the UOA 43 submission. To date, the ECCG’s most significant achievement has been its commissioning by the Department of Trade and Industry to undertake funded research on Who Disciplines Management in Poorly Performing Companies? for the Modern Company Law Review. The report, which appears on the DTI’s website (http://www.dti.gov.uk/cld/review.htm) and forms part of our UOA 43 submission, demonstrates the ECCG’s capacity to undertake high quality interdisciplinary research within a challenging timescale. Besides sponsoring the Chair, ICSA facilitate corporate governance-related conference participation (£3k per annum) and have commissioned funded research on Company Secretaries' Responsibilities and Salaries which will be included in our next RAE submission. In 1999 the School was shortlisted for major ESRC funding for a project on ‘Regulation and Governance in the Life Assurance Industry’. In May 2000 the ECCG hosted a very successful SPTL Workshop on Company Law Reform and Economic Analysis: Establishing Boundaries, which attracted sponsorship from the SPTL itself and two leading firms of solicitors, Beachcroft Wansbroughs and Steele Raymond. The proceedings will be published as the first edition of the Journal of Corporate Law Studies (Hart Publishing). The ECCG’s research activities are complemented by a lively programme of speakers who have included Lord Millett, Rodney Insall (VP Corporate Governance, BP-Amoco) and Rosalind Wright (Director of the Serious Fraud Office). In October 2000, the ECCG and ICSA jointly sponsored a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference. In May 2001, the ECCG will support the conference on Corporate Governance: Reassessing Ownership and Control organised by the Centre for Business Research, Cambridge University. The speakers will include Copp (ECCG Director), McGuinness (Steele Raymond Professor of Business Law) and Maughan (Reader in Law & Economics).

Besides the ECCG, the other fast-developing centre of excellence in the School of Finance & Law is the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM). The CIPPM is still at a formative stage in research terms, having been launched in October 2000 on the basis of pioneering work to develop innovative IP learning and teaching materials, funded by The Leverhulme Trust and The Patent Office. The quality of that work was already recognised by the EPSRC, under whose auspices the School has hosted Hidden Assets conferences designed to help the creators of intellectual property to understand and exploit their IPR. The appointment of Dr Martin Kretschmer as Leverhulme Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Policy in July 1999 added an exciting research dimension which led to the CIPPM’s establishment. Again, the hallmark is interdisciplinary collaboration, exemplified in a recent application for research funding to the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and Dr Kretschmer is included in our UOA 66 submission with colleagues from Bournemouth Media School. The CIPPM’s main research themes are: the effects of intellectual property rights on firm behaviour and innovation; best practice in managing IPR portfolios; regulatory processes (EU, WIPO and WTO); tensions between IPR and other regimes and rights (competition, development rights, environment); piracy, counterfeiting, new technologies; and inter-professional dialogue between IPR creators and the professions. In Spring 2001, the CIPPM inaugurated a programme of ‘master classes’ by leading experts including Professors Gerald Dworkin and Jeremy Phillips (Visiting Professor of Intellectual Property Law). Further investment is planned in this area and it will be a prominent part of our Law submission in the next RAE.

Staffing policy

The School’s priority is to develop a critical mass of research-active staff, both by external recruitment and by nurturing "home-grown“ talent, in particular through mentoring (eg. Maughan/Soetendorp) and by providing support in terms of time and funding to enable staff to undertake research degrees. In the last two years, four members of staff have completed their Doctoral studies and two are nearing completion. The School established its first Readership in August 1999 and a second appointment is anticipated in August 2001. Our corporate governance expertise is being enhanced by the recruitment of a Research Fellow funded partly by ICSA. The School has also invested in the appointment of a Research Administrator to provide vital support for research activities (e.g. bid preparation) and research degree students. Visiting Professors, appointed for their experience and expertise, play a very active part in the life of the ECCG and the CIPPM.

Users of this website should note that the information is not intended to be a complete record of all research centres in the UK

Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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