7th September 2017 - 8th September 2017

Bookings now open

The Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference – organised by NCVO, the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) – is the leading opportunity in the UK for academics, new and early-career researchers, policy makers and practitioners to come together to share and discuss research.

Click here to book your place.


We are living through turbulent times. The past year has seen significant social and political upheaval, within the UK and internationally. This comes at a time when the voluntary sector and wider civil society were already dealing with a complex series of challenges, such as public sector austerity, rising inequality, and an apparent diminishing of political support for their independence. This context inevitably presents both opportunities and challenges for the sector.

In such uncertain times high quality research and analysis are needed more than ever to help address some key topical issues facing the voluntary sector and volunteering, and their contributions to public life.

For example:

  • how is the sector, and civil society more generally, affected by and responding to ongoing austerity and public service reform?
  • how can it meet the challenges of increasing inequality and multiple disadvantage?
  • how can it assert itself as an independent advocate of society’s most vulnerable groups?
  • what is the role of volunteering and social action, and how is this changing?
  • what are the implications of Brexit and the rise of populist politics for its work, and how is the sector and civil society responding?

This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for academics, policy makers and practitioners from the UK and further afield to come together to share and discuss research that addresses these questions and the broader issues facing the sector.


The conference aims to:

  • contribute to evidence and theory-building in the field
  • develop emerging research ideas
  • inform and be informed by the work of practitioners
  • inform and influence policy.

New researchers

The New Researchers Sessions (NRS) run alongside the main conference and are specifically tailored to those who are new to research or new to the voluntary sector. Visit our New Rearchers Sessions page for further details.