Celebrating the Success of the CRoSS Initiative

We are pleased to acknowledge the achievements of the CRoSS (Commercialising Research out of the Social Sciences) initiative at the College of Social Sciences (CoSS). CRoSS has been a pioneering force in advancing social science commercialisation, an area less explored at the University. 

Through CRoSS, 15 innovative projects have emerged in CoSS, tacking critical societal challenges with innovative solutions. £30,000 of CRoSS funding has been allocated to select innovative ventures, driving our research from academia to real-world impact. 

Read more about commercialisation in the College of Social Sciences 

With support from upcoming commercialisation training workshops and applications to the SHAPE Catalyst opening again in 2024, COSS is empowering a path for impactful innovation.

Case Studies of CroSS Success 

Dr. Tarsem Singh Cooner (Social Policy: College of Social Sciences)  

Tarsem is an Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Work and Social Care. In 2019, Tarsem received ESRC IAA funding to create 360-degree videos apps. These apps were based on published research materials exploring the barriers and enablers to relationship-based social worker child protection work. 

After viewing these apps, a local Children’s Trust approached Tarsem to create a bespoke, co-produced, immersive 360-degree based training package for its social workers. The research-based 360-degree videos contained in this training package provide a wide variety of experiences, allowing a viewer to accompany a researcher and social worker on home visits, understand the day-to-day challenges, and experience the emotions, physical environments, and tone of interactions. Through completing the training programme, trainees are shown the enabling and barrier behaviours they can exhibit which can lead to a successful or unsuccessful child protection home visits.  

The training programme is licenced to the University of Birmingham and the local Children's Trust with headsets available through ClassVR. During the commercialisation process Tarsem has had support from University Enterprise for advice about licencing.  

Through engaging with the Commercialisation Lead, Tarsem has been given the opportunities to promote his project at the university and further afield. Tarsem presented on his work at a CoSS Essentials session in October 2022 and spoke at the 'Commercialisation of Social Science: Midlands Showcase' event in March 2023, with attendees from university's including the University of Warwick and the University of Leicester.  

The University Enterprise Support and Communications teams are now working with Tarsem to engage potential customers. His aims in 2024 are to develop his enterprise and promote the training package to local authorities in order to gain sales.  

Tarsem's experiences of working with public sector organisations is being used to educate other academic and Professional Services staff UK-wide as his case study is being used as part of ASPECT's 'Building on ABC - Phase 3' training programme which will be available to university academics soon. 

Dr. Sarah Brooks-Wilson (Social Policy: College of Social Sciences) 

Sarah is a lecturer in Criminology in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology, and Criminology. 

In 2018, Sarah developed the Shifting Journey cards. The Shifting Journey cards are used by Youth Justice practitioners, who work with young people involved in the criminal justice system. 

Underpinning research revealed that up to 16% of youth justice community sentences do not reach completion. Inspections, policy, and practice suggest absence is a key problem in the criminal justice system, which is up to 50% for some appointments. 

Shifting Journey Cards resemble a deck of cards. Cards focus on travel to appointments, with modes, barriers and feelings towards travel included. Youth Justice Practitioners use the cards to communicate effectively with young people about their timekeeping, attendance, and safe journey planning. Pilot packs of cards were distributed to 50 youth offending teams in England and Wales. Feedback identified they are a demonstratable and effective solution to appointment absence. 

In December 2022, Sarah received support from the Commercialisation Lead to develop an application to the ARC Accelerator. ARC is a six-month programme to help academic researchers build SHAPE ventures. ARC supports academics to develop entrepreneurial skills, conduct market research, and validate the market. University have access to ARC through their membership of ASPECT.


Professional Services