Until recently there was no agency within the UK focusing specifically on volunteering research and its connection to policy and practice. Volunteering sometimes appeared on the curricula of the various organisational-focused voluntary sector courses. But it was very much a minority subject and minimal attempt was made to relate what little academic study there was to the practical needs of policy makers and practitioners.
The Institute for Volunteering Established to Fill the Research Gap
It was thus most timely that in 1997 The Institute for Volunteering Research was established to fill this gap. The Institute was created by Dr. Justin Davis Smith, who was then Director of Research at the National Centre for Volunteering. Much good research had already been done by the National Centre, but it was felt that a separate agency was required to extend the range of knowledge about volunteering and to integrate practically focused research with academic insights.