Wales Institute for Research into Co-operatives, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK

The research centre was established in April 2000 as the first Welsh centre providing basic, strategic and applied research covering all aspects of the social economy. It is based at the Business School of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. WIRC members provide academic analyses to raise the profile of the social economy and especially the co-operative sector within the academic community, while keeping a strong policy focus and sharing their academic skills to support co-operative enterprises in Wales. Specific examples of such matters include: employee ownership, community enterprise, co-operative production, co-operative retailing, community provision of services and credit unions. At WIRC we undertake research into the specific application of aspects of the social economy such as employee ownership, community enterprise, credit unions and related boundary areas such as ethical business. We engage critically with the innovative organisational structures required by these developments, as well as exploring the implications for more traditional organisational forms.