Research Ideas and Priorities

See below a list of priorities and ideas for research on co-operatives. Please email us to contribute your own ideas or to identify research gaps that you would like to see filled.

*These ideas are up for grabs to researchers and students. If you want to pick up one of these ideas, let us know so we can offer support and remove the idea from the list.*

2011-12 priorities emerging from national survey and consultations:

In 2011-12, CCA and CCCM collected 50 surveys from researchers, co-op practitioners and research centres. These surveys identified the top priorities for future research (although there was strong support for many other topics as well):

1. New types of emerging co-operatives,
2. Contribution of the co-operative model to the socio-economic development of population groups and
3. Public policies aimed at co-operatives

(Full 2012 report on priorities available here)

Other ideas for research from the 2011-12 survey:

  • Multi-stakeholder co-ops
  • Services in rural areas
  • Developmental aspects of co-operatives
  • Co-operative management
  • Leadership and organizational effectiveness
  • Integrating co-operative ideals into management practices
  • Volunteerism in co-ops
  • Building on innovation
  • Comparing co-operatives with public sector models

Ideas emerging from the 2013 strategic co-op research meetings (both with a focus on domestic research as well as international):


  • Succession planning
  • Local service-delivery
  • Co-operative innovation for regional development
  • Health co-operatives
  • Mergers and federations is relevant to what is happening in the co-op sector right now
  • Educating for co-operation (schools who do co-op education engaging with co-ops)
  • Management and governance

Focus on research on co-ops and international development:

  • Transfer of best practices on raising capital
  • Social innovation drivers
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Management of natural resources by co-ops
  • Co-op governance, member participation
  • Youth engagement, employment (informal-formal)
  • Non-hierarchal models/consensus
  • Education (students, general public, policy makers)
  • Appropriate technology in developing nations (social innovation)
  • Informal to formal economies
  • Food sovereignty
  • Worker co-op development and the role of unions
  • Purchasing policies/procurement
  • Ongoing sustainability of co-ops once started
  • Savings clubs and credit unions
  • Governments creating enabling environments (what does this look like?)
  • Supply chain (co-ops in the value chain)
  • Producer co-ops adding value
  • Gender/participation of women in co-ops/economic empowerment

Join the conversation on our social media pages or in the comment section below.

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2 thoughts on “Research Ideas and Priorities

  1. I want to start a business that takes in organic waste and turns it into liquid and solid gold. I’m currently building my research team to confirm the claims that Bokashi composting can accomplish this with minimal inputs (no significant labour, or water resources) but complete control over potential pollutants. The outputs would include a liquid fertilizer that can also function as a biological drain clearer, a solid organic compost, and potentially an insect derived food for fish.

    I am trying to figure out if a co-operative model would satisfy the need for input suppliers and output end-users. Would a co-op that produces materials to support it’s members businesses be a viable option?

    What resources can I use to study how I would go about seeking this kind of business relationship? If you are a reader and are interesting in working with me, I would be happy to hear from you.

  2. Ideally suppliers of waste could form a cooperative society to ensure consistent supply. I am not sure, whether you should limit the buyers to members only. If you give more detail about the capacity and market area scope, I can express my views in detail. Dr. Vrajlal Sapovadia, Executive Director, SBS, Ahmedabad and Social Economy Scholar, India

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