The diverse research culture at Queen's Business School has produced a vibrant research environment, the vitality of which is illustrated in growth over the past two decades.
The University has prioritised the School by investing heavily in staff and infrastructure. The School has a unique set of interdisciplinary research centres which focus on economic history, health, leadership, and the public and not-for-profit sectors. The development of a vital and sustainable research environment is a collective endeavour and is shaped by the Heads of Academic Departments and the Directors of the Research Centres via the School’s Research Committee.
Support for our research comes from funders of international standing, including: the ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, European Commission, and EC Horizon 2020. Major grants have also been received from a variety of bodies which have resulted in deeper engagement with end users of research, particularly in the Northern Irish economy. Some examples of such grants include: Invest NI; NI Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Money and Pensions Service; and the NI Department for the Economy.
A key part of our culture is that research-active staff have all their teaching in one semester, leaving the other semester free for research. In addition, a major innovation over the past seven years has been the development of policies which support colleagues who have taken maternity or dependency leave. On their return, the School ensures that their first semester back is free from teaching and major administrative responsibilities.
The semester-on-semester-off teaching arrangement gives our Early Career Researchers the time and space to develop their research. The research centres have also played an important role in attracting new colleagues to the School – a critical mass of researchers in related areas provide excellent mentorship to those starting out in their careers.
Dedicated research time is facilitated through workload models so that staff can devote 40 per cent of their time to research. Staff are entitled to apply for sabbatical leave of one semester normally after six semesters or one year after six years. Staff are actively encouraged and supported financially to visit major overseas research universities.
Staff in the School have been supported to have sabbaticals at leading institutions such as Australian National University, Brown University, Duke University, ESC Rennes, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, Max Planck Institute (Bonn), Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Pompeu Fabra University, University of California Davis, University of Cape Town, University of Heidelberg, University of Massachusetts, University of Melbourne, University of Victoria, and Yale University.
A major University investment in QBS research is being used to support PhD scholarships, incoming visiting scholars, and outgoing visits by QBS staff.
Active weekly seminar series are run by each research centre and department. These are essential parts of building our research environment and ensuring its sustainability and vitality. Speakers at seminar series are a mixture of internal and external academics. In the most recent REF period, the School hosted a total of 201 seminars by external international scholars such as Barbara Czarniawska (University of Gothenburg), Peter Conti-Brown (Wharton), YousseffYoussef Cassis (EUI), David Canning (Harvard), Greg Clark (UC Davis), William Goetzmann (Yale), Zorina Khan (Bowdoin), Peter Koudijs (StanfordErasmus Rotterdam), Sibylle Lehmann-Hasemayer (Hohenheim), Eric Hilt (Wellesley), Naomi Lamoreaux (Yale), and Mary O’Sullivan (Geneva), Lee Parker (RMIT University), John Roberts (University of Sydney), and John Sherry (Notre Dame).
Dissemination and feedback on working papers is facilitated by the QBS Research Paper Series. The editor of the series and a subject expert give feedback on all papers submitted to the series before they appear online. Since 2018 the QBS working paper series has been hosted by SSRN.
Impact support and advice for staff is provided by a dedicated Impact Officer from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, working alongside the School’s Director of Research Impact and Engagement, and a School Impact Champion. The School Advisory Board has also played an important role in facilitating pathways to impact for colleagues in the School.
Support for Early Career Researchers
- A research start-up package of £4,000 is given to each ECR when they join to help pump prime their next research project.
- The School’s workload model gives ECRs a 50% reduction in teaching and administration in year 1 and a 25% reduction in year 2 of their appointment. This is designed to give them time to develop their research pipeline.
- A mentor as well as a personal development reviewer are assigned to each ECR to help guide ECRs with their research strategy. In addition to this formal mentorship, the research centres and disciplinary groups through their regular meetings provide ECRs with feedback on their research ideas and early drafts of their work.
A weekly seminar series is run for students, where there is emphasis on academic skills such as data science, writing, teaching, turning PhD chapters into papers, the art of co-authoring, and the academic job market. There is also an annual PhD colloquium where students present their work to peers, staff and external faculty. First-year students present posters at the colloquium.
To embed students into the research culture, PhD students have funding to present their work at workshops and conferences. The research centres include PhD students in all their activities of the centre and have opportunities to meet all visiting seminar speakers.
Students are encouraged to work closely with their supervisory team by co-authoring journal articles – in this most recent REF period 17 papers were published where students had co-authored with their supervisor(s).
A key aim of our PhD programme is to place students in academic and research positions. To that end, as well as embedding them into our research culture, we also help them acquire teaching skills. 50% of students who graduated in the current REF period have ended up in academic positions.
Our students in recent years have been placed at institutions such as Aston University, De Montfort University Leicester, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Glasgow University, Higher School of Economics in Moscow, London School of Economics, Newcastle University, Nottingham University, Queen’s University Belfast, State University of New York, Ulster University, and University College Cork. The majority of those who do not go into academia have commenced research positions in organisations such as the CBI, Financial Conduct Authority, Invest NI, Ministry of Defence, and RTÉ.
QBS PhD students can also avail of the University's Graduate School skills development programmes such as the postgraduate researcher development programme, the peer mentoring scheme, and the development of enterprise and innovation.
This includes providing guidance on ethics and governance, funding projects, working with partners, and commercial developments. New researchers are invited to attend a central induction event, an opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the University.
PhD students are in shared offices, close to their supervisors.
QBS has invested in specialist databases to facilitate our researchers, including: 12 Bloomberg terminals, Datastream, Fame, Financial Times Historical Archive, Global Financial Data, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Capital SNL, Thomson ONE Banker, WRDS, Compustat and the CRSP databases. QBS enjoys a close relationship with the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, which is located opposite Riddel Hall.
The new QBS Student Hub represents an investment of £30 million in the School. It features open plan office space for postdoctoral researchers, seminar and workshop spaces and common spaces for socialising and networking with academics, PhD students and industry partners.
Contributions to Society and the Economy
Engaging with disadvantaged communities. Through close connections with the credit union industry, members of our Department of Finance worked with the Money Advice Service and the Derry Credit Union to determine the effectiveness of mobile apps in enhancing financial capability of people from disadvantaged communities. They worked with 500 members of the Derry Credit Union and examined over the space of a year how exposure to financial capability apps improved both personal and financial well-being and confidence. The results of this study were disseminated widely among credit union practitioners across the globe.
Engaging with school children. The Centre coordinates a programme of school outreach in collaboration with the Discover Economics initiative of the Royal Economics Society. Current undergraduate students are trained to deliver economics taster sessions to schools across Northern Ireland.
Providing a long run perspective. Long Run Institute (LRI) is a not-for-profit forum linked to QUCEH. It organises high-profile events to provide insights from the historical analysis of long-run forces and trends to provide context and deepen understanding of the grand challenges facing businesses and government.
Queen's Business School has an active diversity and gender equality team which has developed a comprehensive programme of actions to improve diversity at all levels amongst staff and students. Our progress on gender equality was recently recognised through an Athena SWAN Bronze award.
Voluntary mentoring is provided for all staff and female staff can also avail of mentoring provided by the Queen’s Gender Initiative and the Aurora leadership programme. We also support the sustainability of female research careers by providing additional research time on return from maternity leave.
Our Research Centres have actively sought greater gender balance in their seminar programmes to improve the availability of role models and networking opportunities.