Here you can find out about our research programme and publications, as well as our approach to delivering rigorous but practical outputs, and the Research Advisory Board which assures the quality of our work.

Current research programme and latest publications

The Centre's first publication is a review of the business model for credit unions in Ireland, and the case for change. Circulated to members in November 2017, it is now available for download here.

The key messages are that: the objective evidence demonstrates the case for change to the existing business model, international examples show an expansion of the proposition to members is a successful model, and that collaboration within the sector will be required to build the necessary capability. But first, we need a shared vision of the future, and an appetite for change. We welcome feedback and comment; contact us here. 

The Centre launched in July 2017, and our current research activity is still taking shape. We are currently working on:

  • Future credit union products and services, subject areas to be finalised in December 2016 for Ireland and January 2018 for Great Britain
  • Remuneration of directors on credit union boards, to be published imminently (December 2017)
  • Credit union board performance evaluation process and policy, to be published imminently (December 2017)
  • Financial literacy and governance for social inclusion, with Romanian and Italian co-operatives and credit unions, a two year, EU-funded programme (November 2017-November 2019)

Previous publications

The directors, through their other institutions, have previously collaborated on several important projects, most recently an exploration of best practice in governance for credit unions and a study of credit union experience of GB's Credit Union Expansion Project, which are available to download below. Some further report examples, published by Liverpool John Moores University, are also shown; contact us if you would like a copy of any of these reports.

Research approach

We aim to publish academically rigorous research papers and other outputs that will be of practical and actionable help to the Centre's stakeholders, for them to identify and adopt new services, better engage their communities, improve their business practices, protect their values, mitigate the risks they face, and facilitate their collaboration for the common good.  We wish to be a thought leader in our field. We collaborate with Members and other stakeholders to the greatest extent possible, to ensure that ideas and concepts are tested and proven. We make our research available first to our members, and then to the public.

Scope - Our subjects include co-operatives and mutuals (such as credit unions), social enterprises (such as the UK's community finance development insitutions) and co-operative banks and building societies, as well as social businesses in other sectors that engage with community finance (such as housing associations seeking affordable credit to residents). The Centre's current focus is Ireland and the United Kingdom, but in due course we will undertake research across Europe. In all cases, our work is informed by experience and knowledge from around the world.

Our researchers -  We engage academic, professional and practitioner experts who are recognised for their expertise, integrity and quality of work in Centre-relevant areas. The Centre has a special, collaborative relationship with the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University. Certain research papers and publications will be published in collaboration with the University.

Programme - We select research projects in consultation with our members, funded by subscription and / or external grants, and seek to engage and work with similar organisations throughout Europe and internationally. We are happy to discuss projects brought to us by interested third parties such as academics, consultants or sector agencies.  Please contact us if you wish to discuss a research project partnership. 

Our Research Advisory Board

The Research Advisory Board advises the Centre on its research methodology, standards and quality, and oversees peer review of the Centre's publications.

Its members are distinguished academic and professional experts who have demonstrated qualifications in specialist areas relevant to the Centre's work.

Current members of the Advisory Board:

  • Professor Anne-Marie Ward, University of Ulster
  • Professor Elaine Kempson, University of Bristol
  • Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK
  • Dr Olive McCarthy, Senior Lecturer at University College Cork