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Real-world impact

Laura Claus on field research in Tanzania
Laura Claus doing field research in Tanzania

At Cambridge Judge Business School, real-world impact is key. There might be different terms for it - meaningful research, deep engagement or policy research -  but what we are all after is to make a difference with our research. While some might argue that impact is for later, we believe that aiming for real-world impact starts right with the PhD and the research that inspires us! This philosophy drives our efforts to create active partnerships with organisations, be it for business, public sector or international development, addressing real-world challenges while at the same time ensuring rigorous and methodologically sound research.

As PhD students we are part of and seek to shape the debate around real-world impact, for instance with our recently initiated Impact Forum. See for yourself and explore what real-world impact can mean and how we aim to achieve it.

Isabel Brüggemann

Isabel is a PhD candidate in Organisational Theory at Cambridge Judge Business School working on topics around social innovation and institutional change. She seeks to understand how actors, who are operating in challenging institutional environments with limited power and resources, can introduce impactful social and environmental change. As part of her research, Isabel is studying the efforts of community enterprises in rural Indonesia to develop sustainable livelihoods and the initiatives of social entrepreneurs in Egypt to combat inequalities and make society more inclusive for minority groups. She is combining participatory observations during multiple visits to the field with in-depth interviews.

For instance, as part of a research project in collaboration with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Isabel has travelled to Indonesia to observe the formation and development of two agricultural community-based enterprises in two rural villages in the West Kalimantan region. The aim of the project is to identify how FFI and the farmers of the villages can work together to increase the value of existing entrepreneurial activities in the region to the communities. Findings from this study contribute to research on outsider-driven change initiatives to facilitate international development. In Egypt, Isabel is studying how local entrepreneurs can legitimise their new social ventures in a restrictive legal, political and social environment and work together with established actors, such as corporations, to realise their goals.

Laura Claus

Laura Claus is a PhD candidate at Cambridge Judge Business School working on topics around social movements and social innovation. As part of her research, she has traveled countries including Tanzania, Indonesia, and recently Nigeria. In collaboration with UNICEF, her research examines ways in which organisations can work with social activists to drive social change, and on a more practical level, aims to enhance the voice of children in emerging countries across the globe. 

For instance, in Indonesia, she has worked on a UN consulting project against the practice of child marriage; in Nigeria, she worked with an activist group fighting the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Corinna Frey

Corinna's motivation in pursuing research closely aligns with her interests in real-world impact. She regularly feeds back research insights to international humanitarian organisations. She further engages closely with key actors in her field by organising Public Policy lectures. She also routinely meets with UK politicians through a Policy Fellow Scheme exploring relevant questions for future research and blogs about her research experiences in global crises environments such as Lebanon, India, South Africa and Rwanda.

To stimulate the debate about academic impact, she established the School's Impact Forum, a seminar that allows early career researchers to reflect on impact in their own work.

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