As we approach the end of the year that was 2017, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the events of the past 12 months.

Pursuit of CRSE’s demand driven approach

One of the key elements of CRSE’s strategy is to link university researchers with policymakers and industry, enabling a demand-driven agenda focused on translating research into policies that support the self-employed.

In order to implement this strategy, we have recently launched a new programme of work which will see the production of quarterly policy reports aimed at informing industry and government policy through academic research.

Currently, the CRSE is calling for proposals for one of these reports addressing key research questions in relation to the impact of self-employment on wellbeing. The report will be published to coincide with National Freelancers Day in the UK, therefore enabling the authors to maximise the impact of their research on industry and policy at this national high-profile event. For full details on the project and guidelines download the call for proposals here.

Publication of our first major piece of research

2017 was particularly notable for the CRSE as we published our first major piece of research in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Studies – The True Diversity of Self-Employment – which identifies nine distinct segments of the solo self-employed population in the UK on the basis of their earnings, levels of independence and how much security their working situation provides.

This report comes at crucial point for the UK policy-making, weeks before the government releases its response to the Taylor Review of Modern Employment Practices. In its submission to the Review, the CRSE stressed that the inherent flexibility of self-employment must be protected, but more can be done to identify and support those who may be falsely labelled as self-employed.

That is why the CRSE was invited to join a panel discussion at both the Conservative and Labour party conferences this autumn. At these events, Professor Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity Business School Dublin and Chair of the CRSE, as well as Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies and CRSE Steering Committee member, presented preliminary data form the report in order to illustrate the true diversity of the self-employed.

Mission to improve the understanding of the self-employment sector

We have also made further inroads in pursuing our overarching mission of improving the understanding of the self-employment sector and its impact on the economy.

This year’s EURAM conference featured a symposium on ‘Freelancing and the transformation of organisations, innovation and careers’. Including this important research agenda as part of its annual conference highlights the growing interest in the area of self-employment.

A number of members of the CRSE network also contributed to the special issue of the Journal of Management and Organisation (JMO)  on ‘Self-employed professionals, freelancers and contractors’ following their involvement in the 2015 Global Research Workshop.

We will continue to expand upon this exciting research trajectory in 2018 with the next Global Research Workshop on Freelancing and Self-Employment on the 26-27 April in London. For those of you who wish to submit a paper at the workshop, the title and the abstract are due by 31 January 2018. Click here to find out more information about how to submit your paper or register interest in the event.