Dr Iain Cairns


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship


Personal statement

Iain is a Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde’s Business School, in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship. His research is primarily focused on democratic businesses (e.g. cooperative and community enterprises) and the financial arrangements to support their establishment and development.

Iain has a PhD in Management from Glasgow Caledonian University, which focused on community organisations and how they might own and manage assets to drive community development. Prior to PhD study, during his MRes in Human Geography at the University of Glasgow, Iain focused on financial geography and conducted research into the potential of alternative currencies to advance community organisations.Iain has also published work on investment, banking and industrial strategy with the Common Weal think tank. His work on a Scottish National Investment Bank has been particularly impactful. His 2013 position paper on a Scottish National Investment Bank has been recognised by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) as the first major work on the subject.

Subsequently, Iain worked in partnership with Common Weal, Friends of the Earth and NEF to develop the idea, a campaign which culminated in the adoption of the SNIB policy by the Scottish Government.

More recently, Iain has worked on a number of United Kingdom Energy Research Council (UKERC) projects. The ‘Financing Community Energy: lessons learned and innovations for the future’ project, was undertaken jointly by the University of Manchester, University of Strathclyde and Imperial College London. In this project Iain led the data collection and analysis of community energy case studies. He also worked on the 'Whole Person Whole Place Energy Solutions’ project with colleagues from the universities of Sussex and Leeds. This project produced a better understanding of how social relationships of community and place shape the prospects for energy efficiency retrofit. 

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Under one roof : the social relations and relational work of energy retrofit for the occupants of multi-owned properties
Cairns Iain, Hannon M, Owen A, Bookbinder R, Brisbois M-C, Brown D, Davis M, Middlemiss L, Mininni GM, Combe M
Energy Policy Vol 190 (2024)
Community Participation for Community Benefits From Natural Capital Projects : A Review for the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland Programme
Hannon Matthew, Gowens Rebecca, Roberts Jennifer J, Major Laura, Cairns Iain
Collective entrepreneurship in low-income communities : the importance of collective ownership, collective processes and collective goods
Cairns Iain, Southern Alan, Whittam Geoff
International Small Business Journal Vol 42, pp. 335-364 (2024)
Developing a relational approach to energy demand : a methodological and conceptual guide
Middlemiss Lucie, Davis Mark, Brown Donal, Bookbinder Ruth, Cairns Iain, Mininni Giulia M, Brisbois Marie Claire, Hannon Matthew, Owen Anne, Hall Stephen
Energy Research and Social Science Vol 110 (2024)
Bridging disconnections : narratives of collective social entrepreneurs on the energy poverty network
Manjon Maria-Jose, Merino Amparo, Cairns Iain
Journal of Social Entrepreneurship (2024)
Who applies for energy grants?
Owen Anne, Middlemiss Lucie, Brown Donal, Davis Mark, Hall Stephen, Bookbinder Ruth, Brisbois Marie Claire, Cairns Iain, Hannon Matthew, Mininni Giulia
Energy Research and Social Science Vol 101 (2023)

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I bring interdisciplinary knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach to my teaching work. I have degrees in politics and history, human geography and management and I have taught English, modern studies, history, sociology, psychology, anthropology and social entrepreneurship.

At the Hunter centre for Entrepreneurship I teach a range of subjects focused on new venture creation, strategy and growth. My classes emphasise the collective processes behind entrepreneurship, the importance of the value created by enterprise being captured for the benefit of society and the importance of firms acting with environmental sustainability goals at their core.  

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ESRC IAA 2023 / R220785-103
Cairns, Iain (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2028

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Dr Iain Cairns
Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

Email: iain.cairns@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3620