The ESRC Capacity Building Clusters in Business Research and Engagement are designed to develop closer dialogue and collaboration between social science and the business sector.

University of Exeter wins £1.5 million for research into sport, leisure and tourism

It was announced today that academics at the University of Exeter have won the funding to establish an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Capacity Building Cluster in Sport, Leisure and Tourism.

The bid was a joint venture between the Business School and the School of Sport and Health Sciences.

It firmly establishes Exeter as the leading university for ESRC funded research in this vital area, ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

The grant is divided into a number of different areas yet every element involves the University working in partnership with businesses both locally and nationally. Over the next five years the University will complete 15 CASE awards, 6 knowledge transfer partnerships, 10 business placements and will award 15 business vouchers worth £3,000 each.

The CASE awards are opportunities for PhD students and businesses to work together as a partnership on a specific business issue, relevant to them.

The knowledge transfer partnerships can be one or two year projects with specially recruited associates placed within the company, supported by academics at the University.

There is also support for ten students currently funded by the ESRC to undertake a placement within a business in the sport, leisure and tourism sector anywhere in the country.

Finally, companies across the region will be invited to apply for one of the £3,000 business vouchers. These are designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) to overcome any barriers and issues they may have to develop and grow their firms.

Talking about the award Dr Tim Coles, the Cluster Director, said ‘The University of Exeter has been developing its capability in sport, leisure and tourism over many years. This is one of just four awards made in this scheme in the UK. It not only strengthens our conviction that we are the national centre of expertise in this area but it also provides outstanding opportunities for businesses in the South West and beyond to benefit from participation in advanced, inter-disciplinary research.’

To formally launch the cluster and begin the process of engagement with businesses in the Sport, Leisure and Tourism sectors, the University will be hosting an event on October 16 2008 in which more details about the cluster will be revealed. It will also provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to become involved in the cluster. Businesses interested in attending the event should contact Jess Hurrell on 01392 263456 or email

Date: 13 October 2008

Read more University News