Dr Rory Ridley-Duff is Emeritus Professor of Co-operative Social Entrepreneurship at Sheffield Hallam University. He retired on 31st December 2022 after 30 years working in, developing, supporting and researching co-operative and mutual approaches to strengthening the social solidarity economy.
His initial experiences were shaped by 12 years as a worker-director of Computercraft Ltd before winning a scholarship that enabled a switch to an academic career. After completing a PhD study of co-operative social enterprise, he produced a series of publications on co-operative approaches to social enterprise development, cultminating in three editions of Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications) in 2011, 2015 and 2019. He taught co-operative social enterprise at Sheffield Hallam from 2003 - 2020, alongside an active research career which ended with the development of the FairShares Model between 2013 and 2022.
In 2015, he co-founded the FairShares Association Ltd then took a role as academic lead in the EU Erasmus+ FairShares Labs for Social and Blue Innovation (2016 - 2019). In 2017, he became a workgroup leader for the EMPOWER-SE project managed by the EMES International Research Network during which he developed the work of the FairShares Institute for Co-operative Social Entrepreneurship at Sheffield Business School by joining, then co-chairing the 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise. Rory maintained connections to practice through numerous directorships, notably at Social Enterprise International Ltd (2012 - 2019), the FairShares Association Ltd (2013 - present).
He has twice served on the board of the UK Society for Co-operative Studies (UKSCS), between 2010 - 2013, then between 2016 and 2023. As Chair (2020-2022), he led a project involving the UK Society of Co-operative Studies, the EMES International Social Enterprise Research Network and the European Institute for Co-operative and Social Enterprise on new developments in the co-operative movement. He co-ordinated nine seminars to support a special issue of the Journal of Co-operative Studies that advanced and refined theories of 'new cooperativism'.
The impact of his research has been widely acknowledged. His work has been submitted twice as an Impact Case Study to the UK government's Research Excellence Framework (REF). The 2021 submission shows the FairShares Model impacting social entrepreneurs in 39 countries across five continents, supporting a global ecosystem for co-operative social entrepreneurship aligned with UN 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Since 2018, the FairShares Model has been adopted as the core development philosophy for nine social enterprise incubator projects and two eco-enterprise development companies.
Rory was appointed Reader in Cooperative and Social Enterprise at Sheffield Business School in 2013 after six years as a Senior Lecturer. In 2018, he became Professor of Cooperative Social Entrepreneurship through his pioneering work on the FairShares Institute for Cooperative Social Entrepreneurship at Sheffield Hallam University. He serves on the board of the UK Society for Co-operative Studies and as an Associate Editor of Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Editorial Board member of the Social Enterprise Journal. He was one of four guest editors for a special issue of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research (IJEBR) on critical perspectives on social enterprise.
In 2017, he led Sheffield Hallam University's successful application for Institutional Membership of EMES and co-chaired the 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise in 2019. He has also (co-)chaired streams at the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference (Social, Ethical and Sustainable Enterprise, with Mike Bull) and International Social Innovation Research Conference (Social Co-operatives and the Solidarity Economy).
From 2014 - 2017, he chaired Sheffield Business School’s PRME group, organising conferences in 2016 and 2017 to highlight research and teaching materials available to support the PRME initiative. Up to 2018, he was route-leader of the MBA Cooperative Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at Sheffield Business School, co-delivered with the Co-operative College (Manchester) and Co-operative Management Education Programme (St Mary's University, Halifax, Canada).
For further details, see his Professorial CV and Statement.