The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) brings together established experts from a range of disciplines to conduct research which will lead to a better understanding of the key patterns, processes and impacts of developments in the third sector, and of the implications for policy towards the sector. The Centre is led by Professor Pete Alcock (University of Birmingham) and is based upon a joint programme of research and knowledge transfer shared between Birmingham and the University of Southampton, where Professor John Mohan is situated and acts as Deputy Director. The institutions have complementary strengths.

The Centre's research agenda and programme are rooted in close collaboration with key organisations (including ACEVO, NCVO, Guidestar) and reflect priorities identified by these organisations. Partner organisations play a strategic role in steering the research programmes, with individual organisations engaging more closely with specific, and relevant, areas of activity.

The research programme is organised around four key strands of activity:

  • Reviewing the existing evidence base
  • Analysing the theoretical and policy context to place British research in a wider frame of reference
  • Developing a robust and comprehensive quantitative analysis of the impacts of third sector activities with a parallel qualitative programme
  • utilise these to develop work streams on:
  • organisational development, partnership working and service delivery
  • engagement, participation, campaigning, diversity and social cohesion.