ISBE RAKE Fund – Call for Applications 2018


The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund (RAKE)
Call for applications 2018

 Research, Policy and Practice: Collaboration in a disparate world

The Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE) fund is an initiative supported by and administered through ISBE.  This initiative aims to encourage and support research activities from academics, third sector organisations, consultants and practitioners with the ambition of drawing together and generating an entrepreneurial community of practice to facilitate knowledge exchange and transfer.

Collaborative bids are invited which draw together any combination of third sector organisations, academic researchers, consultants and practitioners. The Principal Investigator must be employed within a UK institution but may be partnered with an international team – indeed this is encouraged. Research teams which demonstrate capacity building through collaborations between experienced and early career academics will be favourably considered; applications which demonstrate ‘in-kind’ contributions from partner organisations are welcomed as are those jointly funded from other sources.  Applications presented as pilot studies, with the aim of generating future funding from other sources, are encouraged.  The RAKE funding this year encourages applications that explore how we continueto advance and build a critical scholarly community of practice which is committed to theproduction and promotion of knowledge that is useful to academic and practitioner communities which makes a difference. This fusion of research and practice has the potential to be pioneering and a distinguishing feature and bridging the gap between research, practice and impact which advance the field of Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium businesses.

The current interest in Research, Policy and Practice and its application to small firms has brought to the surface a range of important questions for scholars, policy makers and practitioners. As a consequence there is a growing need to cultivate;

  1. Innovative research approaches which address social science questions that make a difference to practitioner communities
  1. Engaged impact – What is it and how do we do it? Should scholarly research influence and support practice?
  1. Policy engagement – How do we marry the divergent world of academics, policy makers and small firms?

By Research, Policy and Practicewe mean different forms of Engaged scholarship which encompass collaborative forms of inquiry in which academics and practitioners leverage their different perspectives and competencies to co-produce knowledge about a complex problem or phenomenon that exists under conditions of uncertainty found in the world”. Van de Van (2006, p.80).  Such a definition draws attention towards the co-constructed nature of knowledge which has relevance, by creating space for interaction between the academic and practitioner, creating the opportunity for knowledge and understanding to be co-created and enacted into practice; this space facilitates the ability to question one another and gain mutual understanding by directly bring together methods of inquiry and practice.

The increasing emphasis on academics evidencing, in meaningful and purposeful way, (measurable), the value and contribution of their work to public and private domains, requires the development of a new set of values for academic work where engagement is now considered to be the singular method of impact articulation and the means by which applied knowledge is mobilised.  We welcome submissions that develop conceptual perspectives and/or present rigorous empirical studies that advance the theory and practice of Research, Policy and Practice.  Examples are welcomed from policy networks, business support, entrepreneurial learning and educational or from other arenas in which Engaged scholarship is currently or could potentially be used. We are also open to submissions from colleagues working across disciplines, weencourage contributions that explore, but are not limited to, any of the following topics:

  • Philosophical and political context of Research, Policy and Practice: Collaboration in a disparate world
  • Researcher reflexivity in research as a means of engaging with policy and practice
  • Ethical dilemmas of collaborating in a disparate world- engagement with non-academic audiences
  • Issues in identifying and evaluating impact in Entrepreneurship research
  • Critically Engaging with Policy and Practice – opportunities or contraction?
  • How relevant are current research approaches as a means of developing meaningful knowledge to practitioners / policy makers?
  • How one differentiates between research as having “rigour” and research as having an applied “relevance” claim?
  • Evaluations of policy support structures to encourage entrepreneurial collaborations
  • Enhancing networks and information exchange possibilities between small firms, academia policy and practice
  • Applicationswhichemploynoveltheoreticaland/ormethodologicalapproaches to study entrepreneurship through a practice perspective

All proposals must clearly demonstrate and describe relevance to the notion of knowledge transfer and exchange related to the context of the bid.

For this round of funding, we envisage awarding up to two grants of around £5,000 each.  These will not support full economic costing, given ISBE’s position as a registered charity. Applications for smaller, seed corn funds would not be discounted however; we will not consider bids which:

  1. Exceed £5,000
  2. Exceed 1200 words in total (including references/notes/tables/appendices)
  3. Appear to be funding PhD students
  4. Are skewed towards funding conference attendance and travel.

Successful grant holders will be required to fulfil the following conditions:

  • To be in membership of ISBE for the duration of the award
  • To present their work at the annual ISBE conference
  • To host one event which disseminates the findings of the research
  • To produce one blog at the end of the award
  • To produce a satisfactory end of award report within three months of the completion of the research
  • To recognise the ISBE RAKE fund in any presentations or publications arising from an award
  • To report to the RAKE fund management board to discuss research progress

Further details on the aims and constitution of the ISBE RAKE fund can be found at

The closing date for applications is 17.00 p.m. Friday the 26th of October. Late submissions will not be considered under any circumstances.

Notifications of awards given at the ISBE conference in November 2018. We suggest the earliest starting date for research projects should be 1stDecember 2018. Completed applications may be returned electronically to

Electronic application forms can be downloaded here and please click here for the FAQ’s. Please submit applications in MSWord format – not as a PDF file.

Applicants may contact the following ISBE board members and staff for informal discussions regarding their bids and/or the aims of RAKE:

Professor Kiran Trehan VP: Research ISBE: RAKE Fund Manager.

Lynn O’Byrne




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