Which? has launched a new fund offering grants for research projects aiming to make a difference for under-represented groups of consumers.
As the UK’s consumer champion, Which? has worked for more than 60 years to make life simpler, fairer and safer for all consumers. Which?’s policy teams strive to uncover consumer harm and identify solutions.
Over the decades, Which? has proved time and again that robust and rigorous research can provide the foundation for positive change.
From securing the first ever government-enforced recall on over half a million Whirlpool fire-risk tumble dryers, to using its legal super-complaint powers to push for the introduction of a code for banks to reimburse victims of authorised push payment fraud, leading to the return of millions of pounds, Which?’s research and campaigns have improved the lives of millions of people.
However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that consumer harm can take many forms, and can be difficult to spot, particularly in digital markets or when the harm affects specific consumer groups.
For example, as algorithmic systems become more sophisticated it is more challenging to identify when they cause harm.
In addition, certain groups of consumers – for example, low-income households, women, people living with disabilities or health conditions, or members of diverse ethnic communities – might be exposed to different or more harms than other groups.
The new Which? Fund offers grants to support research projects aiming to improve understanding of the specific consumer harms these communities experience or to develop evidence-based solutions to these issues.
Which? is inviting UK-registered charities and universities to apply for funding for research projects across Which?’s four impact areas: money, consumer rights and protections, digital life and scams.
These projects should build on what is already known, bringing new evidence and identifying novel solutions to help us achieve real change. They should also be targeted at audiences with the power to make a difference and communicated in a compelling way.
Which? is particularly keen to support organisations using innovative methodologies to uncover consumer harm.
Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said:
“Which? exists to make life simpler, fairer and safer for all consumers, but it is increasingly clear that consumer detriment can take many forms and be difficult to uncover – particularly due to digitalisation or when it affects certain groups of diverse or disadvantaged consumers.
“That’s why we are launching our Which? Fund to support organisations that share our determination to ensure we understand the challenges faced by all consumers and work to bring about the change needed to improve their lives.”