If you're interested in doing a research PhD with us, please contact iflas@cumbria.ac.uk.
For more information about postgraduate research at the University of Cumbria, visit our research pages.

Leading transition

We research how professionals can better lead their organisations, sectors or communities towards sustainability and social justice, and how such leadership can be enabled.

Our focus is on the attributes and competencies that enable someone to participate in social transformation. This includes the study of how organisational and societal transformations occur, as well as how to encourage personal transformations and wellbeing through learning experiences.

Our research draws upon the empowering educational approach of Charlotte Mason, who established our campus in 1892, and the opportunity of our beautiful landscape for learning both in and from nature. Our first Occasional Paper, "Searching for Sustainability Leadership" by Professor Jem Bendell and Richard Little (of Impact International), is available as a pdf.

Resourcing transition

We research how professionals, including entrepreneurs and community leaders, can employ novel ways to resource their activities to enable the transition to sustainability, social justice and prosperity, as well as the implications for governments, foundations and other stakeholders.

The last few years have seen an explosion in the use of alternative means of sharing, giving, swapping, exchanging and financing, with the terms “sharing economy”, “collaborative consumption” and “complementary currency” becoming popular. We research these developments as aspects of “sustainable exchange.” Our research resonates with the local legacy of John Ruskin on contrarian economics.

Scaling transition

We research how professionals develop, deploy or assess strategies for transforming difficult public problems. This includes a study of the scaling up of social innovations, the use of transformative cross-sectoral alliances, transformative philanthropy, innovations in public policies, and business innovations that are disruptive to existing markets and industries.

Our research on philanthropic leadership resonates with the local legacy of Beatrix Potter, whose active purchase and gifting of land made possible the Lake District National Park and the extent of the National Trust.

Research on the Sustainable Development Goals

22 December 2021

Building on our 2020-21 research with itdUPM on ‘Transformative Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ involving multi-stakeholder partnerships in Carlisle, Lancaster, the Lake District and Madrid, IFLAS is current working with the start-up sustainability consultancy SDG Changemakers on a new industry research project to support the development of InToto, a digital sustainability business management tool for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The project is using the 17 SDGs agreed upon by 193 nations as its content framework for the development of InToto. 

Dr David F Murphy, Associate Professor of Sustainability and Collaborative Leadership, and colleagues Dr Sarah Williams and Dr Justin Larner, together with SDG Changemakers’ Co-Directors Claire Benson and Felicity Jones are working with Penrith-based intern researcher Anna Mossop to support her in: 

Supported by the Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP II), the research project is already underway and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2022. Funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund and the Northern Powerhouse, CUSP II is a partnership between the University of Cumbria and Lancaster University that supports inventive, innovative Cumbria businesses who want to accelerate their development through collaboration with academic expertise and specialist resources.  

Research into Currencies

Why use alternative currencies?

One of our biggest projects has been looking into the usage of alternative currencies, including Bitcoin and the Bristol Pound. Click here to find out more.


IFLAS associates contribute to many publications - please see some links below.


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