Launching The ECR Open Research Grant Opportunity

by Colin Peacock

Jan 16, 2023

Background and Remit of the Group

ECR Retail Loss is part of the ECR Community, a voluntary and collaborative retailer-manufacturer platform with a mission to ‘fulfil consumer wishes better, faster and at less cost’. Over the last 23 years, the group has acted as an independent think tank focused on creating imaginative new ways to better manage the problems of loss and on-shelf availability across the retail industry. Championing the idea of Sell More and Lose Less, the group is open to any retailer and manufacturer to join.

In the past 23 years, the group has invested more than €5 million in research projects focussed upon meeting its core objectives. Details of previous projects can be found at: www.ecrloss.com.

The group is interested in a broad range of areas relating to retail ‘loss’ and its control, adopting an inclusive definition to encompass any aspect of retailing that negatively impacts upon retail profitability and the methods that can be deployed to minimise their effect. For instance, the issues of food waste, on-shelf availability, inventory accuracy and ecommerce losses are as relevant to the group as losses due to staff and customer theft. In addition, the group is interested in exploring a wide range of approaches to address these issues, including those focussed upon, guardianship, technologies, retail processes, and design. All types of retailing and modes of operation are of interest – from grocery to apparel and physical stores to online/omni channel. In addition, the group is keen to explore problems of loss across the entire retail supply chain – including shipping, distribution and reverse logistics.

Of particular importance to the work of the group is generating new insights and approaches that offer practical value to the retail industry to enable them to sell more and lose less. As such, its research agenda is very much driven by a desire to generate high quality, independent, rigorous and methodologically robust studies that the retail community can have high levels of confidence in.

Research Funding Opportunities

The group is interested in receiving innovative and exciting research proposals from academics working in any higher education institution in the world (students are excluded). To guide your application process, the value of an ECR research grant is normally up to €50,000 although in exceptional circumstances, the group will consider applications of a higher value. The group has a simple two-step application process:

1)     Initial expression of interest

2)     More detailed research proposal

Initial Expression of Interest

In order to keep the application process simple and to avoid unnecessary burden, the group is keen in the first instance to receive a short outline (no more than two pages) outlining the proposed research, covering the following issues:

·        Overall aims and objectives of the research          

·        Relevance to the work of ECR

·        Proposed research methods and timing

·        Likely outputs and deliverables

·        Your experience and expertise

·        Approximate total cost of the research

There is no deadline for submission – applications can be made at any time. Academics interested in applying can contact ECR Retail Loss to discuss their ideas before submitting an application. The group will review all initial expressions of interest within 2-3 months of submission.

Detailed Research Proposal

Successful applications will then be invited to complete a more detailed research proposal (5-6 pages) which covers the following issues:

·        Project summary

·        Case for importance of the project

·        Aims and objectives

·        Methods, approach and activities

·        Outcomes, outputs and dissemination

·        Staffing

·        Legal and Ethical Aspects

·        Timetable

·        Budget (e.g. Salary, University Overheads, Equipment, Conference Attendance, Travel and Subsistence etc)

Each detailed research proposal will be assessed by a panel made up of the ECR Retail Loss Board, invited retailer representatives and the ECR Academic Advisor. Applicants will be notified within 3 months of submission.

To find out more, contact Colin Peacock: colin@ecrloss.com