Innovation & Technology

Data in action – testing the UN’s urban sustainable development goal in Greater Manchester

When the University of Salford’s SURF project needed rapid research and data collection for a global pilot project to test out proposed UN indicators on cities, they asked Quantum to help.

We delivered a rapid project to pilot the targets and indicators for the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals #11 “Make Cities and Human Settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” We ran a workshop with Greater Manchester local authorities, AGMA and United Utilities to prioritise which indicators to test and to prioritse which were most relevant to the city. Following on, we gathered and analysed a large volume of data and discussed if and how it might help make Greater Manchester more inclusive, safer, resilient and sustainable. International targets and indicators need to be locally relevant, yet internationally comparable. How can we compare slum indicators for Greater Manchester with those in Cape Town?

We presented our findings at the Urban Goal Campaing workshop in Sweden which compared our findings in Greater Manchester with other pilots in Kenya, Sweden, South Africa and India. Our findings have been published as part of an international report to inform the UN process of determining Sustainable Development Goals; an academic article has been co-authored for publication later in 2015 and a local report will be prepared.

Dr Beth Perry, SURF Director said “Yet again Quantum proved an excellent partner in our research work. I was extremely impressed – not only by their professionalism and high quality outputs, but also by their collegiality and the values and commitment that underpin their work.”

Please email if you’d like a copy of the report or if you’re developing indicators for your city or project.

Playfair Impact Study for TUC & Labour Behind the Label

Play Fair is a global campaign coordinated by international trade union federations and NGOs. Its focus is workers’ rights in the sportswear, products and other supply chains. The Playfair 2012 campaign on the London 2012 Olympics was led by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label with 21 trade unions and two NGOs. It was part funded by UK Aid (Department For International Development, DFID).

Louise was commissioned to conduct the Impact Study to see what had been achieved by the project and campaign, to highlight successes and lessons to share with future Play Fair campaigns, including Rio 2016. The study also made recommendations to improve delivery of TUC and Labour Behind the Label joint campaigns with unions and NGO partners.

Louise conducted document reviews and19 stakeholder interviews with the campaign members, trade unions and NGOs, sportswear brands and independent experts as well as the Head of Sustainability and the Corporate Sustainability Manager at LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games).

Louise’s research and interviews drew out important learning for a concise and readable report with four illustrative case studies and recommendations. This was published and shared with the international steering group, international officers in Trade Unions and DFID.

“We were very pleased with the end product. You were able to turn a lot of complex and sometimes conflicting information into a readable and useful report.” Sam Gurney, TUC

Louise’s analysis included learning and thoughts on:

–          Project planning for a partnership-based campaign and the need for flexibility and responsiveness

–          Strength in a broad based campaigning coalition

–          Communications that make a distant supply chain relevant to a UK audience

–          Conducting high quality reliable research in difficult situations within a short timescale

–          Engagement with brands and LOCOG vs public media based campaigning to create a burning platform

–          Moving from awareness to action: supporting the development of policies, complaints procedures and solutions to workers’ rights abuses

–          The role of multi-stakeholder initiatives in producer countries bringing factories, brands and unions together for change.

“We had good feedback from several people you interviewed about the manner in which you conducted these conversations. You were open to discussion on points where we had issues/queries without compromising the independence of the evaluation.” Sam Gurney, TUC

Nuclear packing technology

An interim management role for a world leading software provider – focusing on the packing of critical waste streams for long term storage.

NW Energy Innovation Centre

Initial feasibility study, business plan and funding mechanisms for NWDA and EA Technology. This organization is now in its second successful year developing innovative technologies for the electricity transmission and distribution industry.

Joule Centre for Energy R&D

Original business plan, evaluation of bids, N8 energy theme, smart appliances etc.

Landis & Gyr

The development of Sub Metering Systems. A long term project with L+G to enable them to translate their metering systems into the newly developing sub metering market. Support has included market research, strategic analysis and client introductions.


The development of an up to date database for the leading North of England universities listing their Energy R & D researchers and facilities. (N8 is a group of the eight most research-intensive universities in the North of England: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York)

National Contact Point (NCP) for Sustainable Energy

The UK National Contact Point (NCP) for Sustainable Energy Systems in the EU Framework Programmes (FPs) was established by the DTI and Defra to provide information and support to UK organisations bidding into these R&D and technology demonstration programmes. Richard Pearce was project director of the NCP from 2000 until 2007 on behalf of Enviros. This involved setting-up the NCP and overseeing the extension of the contract to cover FP6, FP7 and Intelligent Energy Europe. During this time, he gained a broad understanding of the development of a wide range of sustainable energy technologies and their integration with energy networks.

Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI)

Richard Pearce assisted the University of Manchester with the establishment of the SCI in 2008. Reporting to Professor Simon Gaskell, Vice-President (Research), his role was to manage a number of commercial aspects of the SCI especially the production of the business and marketing plans and marketing activities such as the initial web site ( and promotional materials. He was also responsible for developing and maintaining the project management system. The work involved liaising with the senior academic staff on the Operations Board of the SCI, the research theme leaders and key Tesco staff – the company being key funders.