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Future Economy, Work and Finance

Future Economy, Work and Finance

Latest Future Economy, Work and Finance blog articles


We bring together industrial partners, academics and students to explore and create solutions to the biggest social and technological challenges that organisations face. This can range from the changing nature of work, the climate emergency or the global pandemic.

With academic specialism in digital transformation, sustainable business and finance, governance and policy, management and responsible leadership, we provide businesses with the latest insights, executive education and research that will drive productivity, support growth and build organisational resilience.

Partnerships and Collaborations

We work with a range of partners on a variety of collaborations for research, innovation and education a purposes, examples include:

NHS Employers

We have worked closely with the NHS since 2016 to support the organisation to achieve their 50:50 gender balance target across all NHS Boards. Prof Ruth Sealy’s work in this area has led to a series of “very practical actionable recommendations” which have been adopted across NHS Confederation and NHS Employers and led to new leadership programmes being developed and shifts in the way that trusts recruit and retain talent. Between 2017 and 2020, the percentage of women on NHS trust boards increased by 5% to 44.7%, reaching parity (as defined by the European Commission). Sealy’s research has been cited by NHS Trust Chairs across the country as well as by the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock as galvanising them to make changes to board composition


The University of Exeter and J.P.Morgan work together across a portfolio of Degree Apprenticeships (DA), including standards in digital technology, management and an innovative portfolio of finance programmes. In October 2019, 30 financial services and 10 tech students started their apprenticeship programme with JPM while studying towards their degree BSc (Hons) in Applied Finance and BSc (Hons) in Digital and Technology Solutions. In the current academic year, 762 apprentices are on 9 programmes across 4 Colleges. In addition to the DA collaboration, Exeter and JPM are actively exploring areas of mutual interest including executive education and emerging skills requirements. 

Federated Hermes

Federated Hermes International (FHI) is a global institutional investor with more than $1 trillion in assets under advice. They are widely recognised as a global pioneer in sustainable investment. Exeter and FHI have recently embarked upon a multi-year programme of research and development with the aim of establishing a market-leading climate and environmental insights lab. The work packages take a view across all major areas of sustainable finance’ i.e. physical risks associated with the changing climate, risks relating to our transition a low carbon economy, and emerging risks relating to biodiversity and habitat loss. 


The University of Exeter partners with leading animal health company, Zoetis on a number of different projects relating to new business models and innovation. Zoetis is a principle partner of the DIGIT Lab a multidisciplinary research centre funded by the university, industry and a UKRI research grant of £3.6m. The lab has over 20 industry partners and has been established to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies to drive innovation for growth, impact and transformation in large established organisations.


Avenade is a global, digital innovation consultancy and one of our key MBA corporate partners.  Most recently and MBA student conducted her consultancy project with Avanade looking at how the organisation could implement circular economy principles into a retail business context.  The student was able to delve deeply into the subject and dig out some interesting insights for the organisation, as well as allowing her to build her network and expertise in support of her career aspirations. The student cohort has also benefited from the expertise of Avanade’s Chief Growth Officer, Craig Gorsline, who, through the Tackling Global Challenges Module, shared insights on a variety of issues relating to both the COVID pandemic and WEF global risks in an ‘expert witness’ interview with MBA Director, Jackie Bagnall.  As part of the Business School’s Black History Month, Pamela Maynard, CEO of Avanade, took part in the opening panel discussion event, sharing her ideas on how the University community can engage positively in the vital discussion and actions necessary to address racism and to achieve its goals of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. The MBA continues to strengthen its relationship with Avanade with a further consultancy project in 2021. 

“Working with the Exeter MBA has been incredibly refreshing for Avanade, and the focus on inspiring leaders for a better world is a perfect fit with our commitment to being responsible in everything we do, partnering with organisations that share our values. The students I've met on the MBA programme have been exceptionally engaged, while the MBA team have been consistently professional, friendly, collaborative, and easy to work with - more than just buzzwords, the MBA programme really seems to live those values, day-in, day-out.”

Chris Lloyd-Jones Product and Engineering Lead, Emerging Technology - Avanade




Digital Transformation

Exploring the challenges and opportunities that artificial intelligence, technology and data present to organisations. In a world of finite resources but an exponential growth of data available, how must organisations structure themselves to thrive in the future of work? Automation of roles, emerging technologies and new business models require employees, leaders and future generations to adopt new skills to succeed in the world of work. Our current research impact has included:

  • Reframing Politics for the digital age
  • Creating a new data system for the police forces in England and Wales
  • Examining the growing impact of digital disruption
  • Discovering the impact of mechanisation
  • Development of Digital Economy Network Plus, an online tool which transforms the way firms earn money
  • Collaborating with other leading UK universities in Connected Everything II (CEII) Network Plus - an EPSRC-funded research network for the Digital Manufacturing community
  • Investigating the use of digital technologies which have the potential to transform the food chain

The Future of work

The future of work is changing how, where and when people work. It presents huge opportunities to provide better services and experiences to employees and customers alike. Recent projects include:

  • Development of an app, called Biobeats, to help reduce stress and mental illness 
  • Uncovering the 'glass cliff' phenomenon relating to gender discrimination in the workplace
  • Mental health pros and cons of minority spaces in the workplace
  • Helping build ethical businesses in corrupt environments
  • Addressing the social embedding of data across different settings, from business to policy and government, from biology to health and climate change.
  • Building Digital Identities
  • Training global government officials on how international law governs hostile cyber operations.
  • Participating in the Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC)’s FairTax project to evaluate taxation and social policy reforms in the EU
  • Leading debate on professional regulatory and ethics issues

Sustainable Business and Finance

Sustainable Finance concerns the fundamental re-wiring that is required for the finance industry to have a meaningful, positive, impact on the climate and environmental emergencies, whilst also creating competitive advantage and growth. Our research looks at the implications for FS firms, and their clients, of:

  • Physical risks associated with the changing climate
  • Risks relating to the transition a low carbon economy
  • Emerging risks due to biodiversity and habitat loss. 

Finance, Tax and Business Risk

  • Working across business, law, data and environmental science, our academics are the leading experts in the issues facing businesses today.
  • Our research has:
    • Supported global financial service firms in tackling the climate emergency
    • Provided input to the Bank of England’s annual financial stability review
    • Contributed to the annual Tax Gap exercise for HM Revenue & Customs
    • Audited the digital transformation and client experience strategy for a leading UK bank
    • Shaped the recent reforms to UK Commercial Insurance law




Sophie Smith - Senior Impact and Partnership Development Manager - Head of Business School Programmes


Phone: 01392 724308

Jack Oliver - Impact and Partnership Development Manager, Finance and Business Risk 


Phone: 01392 722351