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About IVAR



Our highly experienced team is committed to strengthening the sector.

As a team, we believe in the value of people and organisations working for social change. We see the difference they make every day – particularly those that are smaller and rooted in the heart of their communities. It is important for them (especially those that can’t afford research) to have access to insights and ideas that can help them make informed, confident decisions.


Our independent research enables us to provide evidence, insights and learning that are both trusted and relevant. We are collaborative in all that we do, working closely with people at all levels, across sectors, to understand, investigate and grapple with the challenges and opportunities they face.

We are a team of dedicated professionals, made up of core staff and research associates who come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge in their specialist areas. We have a long standing and effective model where we think carefully about the best fit for each project and choose a combination of staff and research associates accordingly.


How to find us

The Foundry
17 Oval Way
SE11 5RR

020 3752 5531

If you’d like any more information about us, our approach or how we can help you, please do not hesitate to send us an email or give us a call.



The Tudor Trust awarded a grant to Ben Cairns and Professor Margaret Harris to set up The Centre for Voluntary Action Research (CVAR) at Aston Business School. The founding aim of CVAR was to ‘support the development and sustainability of voluntary and community organisations’.



CVAR became ACVAR (the Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research) based within the Aston Business School.



Following a successful six-year incubation period within Aston Business School, the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) was established as a new, independent charitable institute receiving core funding from the Tudor Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Lankelly Chase Foundation. IVAR was located within and affiliated to Birkbeck College, University of London.



Making a difference was published which presented case studies of ten projects from IVAR’s first ten years.



The Evaluation Roundtable (a network of foundation evaluation leaders in the UK) was established in partnership with The Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI) in the US.



IVAR moved to its present office near Waterloo, but remains affiliated to Birkbeck College. In late 2015, IVAR celebrated its 15th anniversary and began a major development of its communications work in order to disseminate more widely the knowledge and learning it has gathered during that time.



IVAR currently receives core funding from the Tudor Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Pears Foundation. IVAR’s aim remains to work to understand, support and strengthen voluntary sector organisations and management by using action research.


Learn more about IVAR