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Research council

The Social Investment Research Council is a coordinated initiative which draws together research commissioners from key organisations in the social investment market from the public, private and social sectors.

Background and aim of the Social Investment Research Council

The aim of the Social Investment Research Council is to help advance the UK social investment market through consolidating research efforts to generate powerful and practical insights for the benefit of charities and social enterprises and investors. 

The Council was launched on 31st October 2013 with Big Lottery FundBig Society Capitalthe Cabinet OfficeCiti and the City of London as founding members.

Why Big Society Capital is involved

We believe that robust and credible research and information is key to filling information gaps and helping build a stronger social investment market. Our role as a founding member and secretariat of the Council will help make this possible. 

Published projects 

The Council has published four projects so far.

1. New Specialist Sources of Capital for the Social Investment Market

Social Investment Consultancy & London Economics

Published on 29 April 2014

This report identifies opportunities for previously under-researched institutional investor groups who may provide pools of untapped capital for the UK's growing social investment market.

2. Marketing Social Investments - An Outline of the UK Financial Promotion Regime

Bates Wells Braithwaite

Published on 18 May 2014

This research explores the ‘Financial Promotion Regime’ and other overlapping regulation where relevant. It provides an overview and guidance on the practical application of the regime for social enterprises (investees) and retail investors.

3. The Social Investment Market through a Data Lens

Engaged X

Published on 5 June 2015.

First ever independent data centric study into a key segment of the UK social investment market.

4. Understanding the capacity and need to take on investment within the social sector


Published on 27 April 2016

The research will identify and explore the ability of charities and social enterprise to take on social investment (i.e. their “investability”). The research aims to gain a better understanding of the nature of charities and social enterprises' financing needs – what types of social investment can/do charities and social enterprises use? Are particular types of social investment more or less appropriate for different forms of charities and social enterprises? This analysis will help to understand the financing needs of charities and social enterprises and how the market can meet these. 

Live projects

The Social Investment Research Council is currently working on the following project:

The role of individual investors in social investment

The research will help us better understand the nature and preferences of individuals as potential social investors in order to encourage more social investment by individuals in the future. It will investigate which segments of society social investment is most likely to appeal to, the motivations for investment and where the best opportunities for growth are.

The research is being carried out by IFF Research on behalf of a steering group of six providers of positive savings and investment providers. This group is coordinated by Ethex, and includes Triodos Bank, Big Issue Invest, Barclays Wealth,  Microgenius, Oikocredit and Allia.

Future projects and external contact details

The Council always welcomes new ideas and suggestions for research projects that can help develop the social investment market. Therefore please feel free to email any new ideas to the Social Investment Research Council.

The Council is also interested in providing a forum for researchers and other industry bodies interested in social investment research. If you’d like to contacted in the future, please email your details to the Social Investment Research Council


Simon Rowell

Simon Rowell | Senior Director, Strategy and Market Development