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Research on car buyers’ habits wins top prize

(Left to right) Dr Gianpiero Torrisi, Professor Gioia Pescetto, Dr Philip Brabazon, Lyn Lansbury, Professor Ashraf Labib, Dr Maebh Harding, and Dr Matt Garrod at the ninth annual Portsmouth Business School research conference

(Left to right) Dr Gianpiero Torrisi, Professor Gioia Pescetto, Dr Philip Brabazon, student Lynn Lansbury, Professor Ashraf Labib, Dr Maebh Harding, and Dr Matt Garrod at the ninth annual Portsmouth Business School research conference

The first study to reveal customers are prepared to wait in order to have a new car which is special has won the prize for the best research paper at Portsmouth Business School’s annual research conference.

Dr Philip Brabazon, senior lecturer in Operations and Systems Management, won the Neil Rackham Best Paper prize for best overall research paper published in 2012. He was awarded £5,000.

His research revealed for the first time that a phenomenon known as the ‘long tail’, which is when a customer is prepared to wait rather than compromise on a new purchase, affects expensive items as much as it does cheaper items like books and CDs.

His research revealed customers were happy to wait when they ordered a new car in order for it to have the exact – and rare – specification they wanted.

Dr Brabazon said: “I was really surprised to win and hadn’t even realised my paper was eligible for the prize. It’s great because you work really hard on research, you dig around, you just get so involved in it. And then to have people read it and say ‘actually, this is really interesting’ is a great feeling.”

The research is titled ‘Investigating a long tail in retail vehicle sales’ and was published in the journal Omega.

Five other researchers were also awarded prizes recognising the high quality of their work.

Ashraf Labib, Professor of Operations and Asset Management, and Dr Martin Read, head of postgraduate taught programmes, shared the £5,000 dissemination prize with senior law lecturer Dr Maebh Harding.

Professor Labib and Dr Read’s research revealed that some of the world’s greatest disasters could have been avoided if those behind them had experienced more failure. It received the highest amount of media coverage of all research published by staff in the faculty in 2012.

Professor Labib said: “The prize came as a nice surprise for me and Martin. I have signed a contract with a book publisher to write a book on the subject of learning from failure and was planning to use a lot of the material from this paper. This prize will encourage me to put more effort in the writing process in order to get it done in time.”

Dr Harding turned her journal article ‘The curious incident of the Marriage Act (no 2) 1537 and the Irish statute book’ about the marriage laws of King Henry VIII into an 11-minute stand-up comedy routine which she performed in London at the Bright Club in 2012. That performance has since been up-loaded to Youtube:

She said: “Winning the dissemination prize means a great deal to me and is further acknowledgment of the dynamic research environment that is emerging in the School of Law.”

Dr Gianpiero Torrisi, an economist, and Dr Matt Garrod, lecturer in law, shared the £5,000 prize for best early career researchers for research published in 2012.

Dr Torrisi’s research was on income inequality, decentralisation and regional development in Western Europe.

He said: “This prize is both a reward for my effort and stimulus for further research. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their support and for the things I had the chance to learn from them, and I dedicate this prize to the young Italian researchers like me who are doing their best performing research abroad while the domestic environment is penalising and with narrow space for merit.”

Dr Garrod’s research was on the development of jurisdiction over war crimes and provides original arguments which he hopes will inform the United Nations General Assembly debate on universal jurisdiction.

Dr Garrod said: “Given the number of high calibre early career researchers, receiving the Neil Rackham Early Career Researcher Prize is a great honour. The prize provides important recognition for producing high quality and rigorous research and it will inspire me to work even harder. It is also a great achievement for the School of Law and indicates that the school’s research environment continues to grow in the right direction.”

Professor Gioia Pescetto, Dean of Portsmouth Business School, said: “High quality research underpins everything we do – it informs our teaching, which means our students are at the forefront of knowledge when they graduate, and it helps advance knowledge in business, for business.”

She also thanked all staff present for playing their part in raising the quality of research carried out, Professor Tara Dean, director of research at the University, for leading the research strategy, and Professor Andy Thorpe, associate dean responsible for research in the faculty, for his passion for research.

Two students were also presented with prizes for presenting the best quality research at a recent conference organised by the University’s Graduate School.

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