Having previously been Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) in the School of Arts and Media, Karl was promoted to Dean of Research in May 2017. Karl’s role incorporates the strategic direction of research at Salford, the Research Excellence Framework submission, and development of a successful and vibrant postgraduate research community. He also manages the Research and Knowledge Exchange team.
An economic sociologist, Karl’s research has focused on alternative forms of finance and issues related to financial inclusion. His PhD was on the paradox of the simultaneous demutualisation of building societies and mutualisation of financial inclusion, which led to the creation of Community Finance Solutions (CFS), a research and development unit within the university. Much of his early work was around community owned finance bodies and the creation of a dozen Community Development Finance Institutions in England.
These organisations sought to address access to finance issues faced by SMEs and households within some of the poorest areas in the country. The activity involved worked closely with Barclays and Lloyds banks, the Bank of England and officials from H.M. Treasury and the Financial Services Authority. Karl and CFS were recognised for their groundbreaking work with the award of the Times Higher Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community in 2005.
In 2008, with Pål Vik, he won the European Microfinance Networks, Research Paper of the Year for their research on sustainability of microfinance institutions. This led to work for the European Commission on the future of microcredit across the continent and the production of the ‘European Code of Conduct for Microcredit Providers in Europe’ in 2011 and subsequent work on the methodology and implementation of the Code. Today, Karl sits on the Code’s Steering Committee along with colleagues from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank.
Karl’s current research focuses on the role of technology in address financial inclusion and the creation of Fintech community finance institutions.