Everton Football Club and Liverpool Hope University have announced plans for an official research partnership – the first of its type between a Premier League club and a university.


The five-year collaboration will see Liverpool Hope work with Everton to provide high quality academic resources to support the club’s research requirements.


Projects will range from review and assessment of the social projects delivered by the club’s Charity, Everton in the Community, to fanbase development and areas relating to commercial growth.


The first formal project will see the University researchers working with Everton in the Community staff to quantify and provide detailed evidence of the social impact the club’s Charity makes within the City of Liverpool.


The findings from this research will provide insight which will enable improvements by focusing resource in areas that achieve the greatest social impact.


The University’s research and analysis will support the club to further develop its knowledge in corporate and performance spheres, technology development and governance all of which will be beneficial in taking future strategies forward.


In addition to the research element of the partnership, both the University and the club will benefit from knowledge exchange through guest lecturers, placements and volunteering opportunities.


The collaboration follows on from the recent award by the University of an Honorary Visiting Professorship in Leadership in Sport Serving Humanity to Professor Barrett-Baxendale.


Professor Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Executive Chair of Everton in the Community and Director at Everton Football Club, said of the partnership: “Everton in the Community and Everton Football Club have grown considerably over the past decade into larger, more professional organisations with greater resources.  


“In order to achieve our ambition, we have a requirement for a dedicated research facility that can work across our organisation to benchmark, test ideas and help us take new initiatives forward.


“Having access to the expertise of Post-Doctoral researchers will give us an advantage in a number of areas, not least in our ability to optimise the life-changing and life-saving work in our local communities.”


Professor Pillay, Vice Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, added:  “The benefit of being in a long-term research relationship means our focus can be on the quality of the work and the impact made by our research.


“It is a great opportunity for the University and for Everton – but what excites me the most is the impact this partnership could have on our city, and potentially other cities, once the model is proven.


“At Hope we have many international links and we understand the reach and global profile of Everton Football Club. This makes the opportunity even more exciting.


“Through our initial work with Professor Barrett-Baxendale we have been able to see the impact that Everton in the Community has made in our society.


“We are excited that both through her role as an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University, and our organisation’s collaboration, we will be able to make further significant progress in this hugely important area.” 


To support the partnership, an Everton Chair in Social Responsibility will be appointed at the University. Professor Keaton, who developed the concept between the club and the University, will become an Ambassador for Everton in the Community, with Professor Pillay joining the Charity as a Patron alongside, among others, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ken Robinson.