The Academic Research Programme develops and supports responsible investment research. 
Its core purpose is to support practical evidence and insights from research to: inform, raise awareness and challenge established thinking and practice in RI among investment practitioners, and to develop an active community of interest that is innovative, rigorous and cross-disciplinary. Change can be encouraged and influenced - in processes, behavioural, cultural, or systemic issues with evidence, insights and recommendations generated by research. 

The PRI works to achieve these aims by providing grant funding, by showcasing research findings and through the activities of The Academic Network, which is a vibrant and flourishing international community of close to 4,000 academics and investment practitioners on ESG and investment.


Odoo CMS - a big picture

The PRI is proud to collaborate with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis for the tenth Academic Network Conference. We are delighted to announce the conference will again be part of PRI in Person, the largest global conference on responsible investment, and will be held on 11 September at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Aligning with key themes at PRI in Person, we invite submissions of papers that focus on the following topics (with issues provided as examples below):

  • Working to achieve a sustainable financial system 
  • The role of responsible investment in meeting today’s investment challenges 
  • ESG integration  
  • ESG engagement 

We encourage both theoretical and empirical contributions from diverse business, finance, and social science disciplines. Selected papers and the PRI Award for Outstanding Research, for the best qualitative, quantitative and student papers, will be presented at the Academic Network Conference.

Find out more about the criteria and how to apply.

Application deadline: 2 April 2018


The Academic Network will be offering a suite of partnership packages with its annual conference taking place on the 11th September in San Francisco.  Each partnership offers organisations the opportunity to showcase commitment and associate themselves with expertise and research in responsible investment whilst gaining exposure to peers and thought leaders through branding, hosting networking engagements, supporting prizes and bursaries.  For more details, please contact the Partnerships team at

Download the brochure



Engagement strategies

  • Coordinated Engagement* (Presentation)
  • Engagement Work for Responsible Investment: A Behind-The-Scenes View of Responsible Investment Engagement Processes*
  • Governing Responsible Business Conduct through Financial Markets? The Case of French Socially Responsible Investing* (Presentation)

* Paper not available


why AND HOW might investors respond to economic inequality?

The widening economic inequality gap is one of the most pressing challenges we face, but what can investors do practically to address this? 

This discussion paper by the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Harvard Kennedy School accompanies an international roundtable series in Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US that will be held over June 2016 to April 2017. It outlines: 

  • impact on economic growth
  • inequality as a lens for investment analysis
  • efforts to mitigate inequality
  • financialization
  • the role of investors in policy discussions 

When the roundtables conclude, research will be commissioned to support and guide investors.

How to get involved

Please contact Katherine Ng, Head of Academic Research if you would like to attend a roundtable or for further information.


The PRI commissioned two projects from its Call for Research on the factors for success in corporate engagement. The findings will presented at PRI in Person, Berlin 2017.

We anticipate the results will help signatories to review and implement their engagement strategies more effectively.

The projects are:

Inclusive capitalism: The impact of global shareholder engagements

  • Professor Elroy Dimson, Judge Business School, Cambridge University, London Business School; Chair of Strategy Council, Norwegian GPFG; Director of FTSE International
  • Assistant Professor Oğuzhan Karakaş, Boston College
  • Associate Professor Xi Li, London School of Economics and Temple University

How institutional investors' collective engagement on ESG issues create value for investors and corporations: A configurational analysis

  • Professor Jean-Pascal Gond, Cass Business School, City University
  • Dr Rieneke Slager, Nottingham University
  • Dr Michael Viehs, Engagement Professional, Hermes EOS
  • Dr Niamh O'Sullivan, Nottingham University
  • Mikael Homanen, PhD student, Cass Business School
  • Szilvia Mosony, PhD student, Cass Business School


RI Quarterly extracts the essentials and distils key findings from research in a clear and concise manner for investment professionals. Topical articles are released regularly that are accessible online and on mobile. They are brought together at the end of every three-month period into magazine format giving you the choice of how you would like to stay up to date with news, insights and opinions from thought leaders.

POST Cop 21  Investing  in a low carbon world

Volume 11

We focus on the investor voice in this edition by looking at the ExxonMobile climate vote and the outlook for climate disclosure, we question whether proxy access has reached a tipping point in the U.S, and executive remuneration through the impact of Say on Pay legislation. We also cover board diversity in terms of men and women’s routes to the board and what has changed since the Davies Review. Finally, we’re delighted to highlight the new members of the PRI’s Academic Network Advisory Committee who discuss the key challenges in responsible investment. 

POST Cop 21  Investing  in a low carbon world

Volume 10

We look into COP22 and two research initiatives: how and why investors might respond to economic inequality and also the interplay of salience, materiality and financial performance for human rights. We bring together academic papers that explore the impact of ESG issues on returns, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for fintech.

POST Cop 21  Investing  in a low carbon world

Volume 9

Calling on investors to heed the new climate change calculus of the Paris Agreement, articles discuss the location and nature of stranded assets, if it is possible to hedge climate change risks via asset allocation decisions and the use of decarbonised indexes, the role of investment consultants in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and what policy framework is needed to shift asset allocations towards sustainable energy infrastructure.

Highlights from PRI In Person 2015

Volume 8

The Academic Network Conference was integrated with PRI in Person for the first time in 2015, with a full stream dedicated to academic research. This issue presents the three winning papers, exploring the political influence on investment preferences in the US, ESG data and materiality and the illusion of returns from sin stocks.

Unleashing performance through reporting and disclosure

Volume 7

Reporting and disclosure are often seen as lengthy and burdensome, but done well they bring transparency, thus breeding trust and creating value. Is it possible to unleash better performance through better reporting and disclosure?

Focus on the PRI impact

Volume 6

Nearly 10 years on from its inception, it is important to assess the impact of the PRI on responsible investment practices. To what extent is the vision to mobilise asset owners being achieved, and how effective is the PRI at enabling investors to act collectively?

Highlights from the PRI Academic Network Conference 2014

Volume 5

The best of the 2014 Academic Network conference, including winning papers from the PRI-Sustainalytics prize for Excellence in Responsible Investment Research. Topics include: ESG integration; shareholder engagement; short-termism and structural market failure; social finance and transparency and reporting.

Focus on Climate

Volume 4

Our changing climate is one of the greatest threats to society, business and long-term profitability. How can companies better report on greenhouse gas emissions and how do investors respond to information on climate change when it is made available?

‘Long termism’ in financial markets

Volume 3

The PRI’s mission is to create a sustainable global financial system. Is its belief that this is necessary for creating long-term value correct, and does the short-termism that led to the financial crisis still exist?

Fiduciary Duty

Volume 2

Fiduciary duty is easy to define but translating what it means for investment practice can be highly subjective. Interpretations have varied throughout time and across regions, so what might inform definitions of this crucial investment concept in future?

ESG issue in bank loan pricing and decision making

Volume 1

Banks occupy a privileged position in the finance world, gaining access to financial information about their borrowers that public debt or equity holders do not have, and imposing terms and conditions as they see fit. So what impact do factors such as board structure, shareholder rights and corporate social responsibility have on loan pricing, and what does this tell us?


The Academic Network is the team’s engagement arm, connecting investors, policy makers and academics to direct research and share resources.

The PRI is proud to collaborate with the following organisations:

Odoo - Sample 1 for three columns

FSI-PRI Scholarship for Best Research on Responsible Investment

Odoo - Sample 2 for three columns

FIR-PRI Awards – Finance and Sustainability

Odoo - Sample 3 for three columns

Business Schools for Impact


The 2015 Academic Workshop, sponsored by Sycomore AM, brought together more than 70 investors and academics to discuss the top responses to the PRI’s call for papers.


Immature or impossible: Making environmental, social and corporate governance issues calculable for investors?

A. Young-Ferris (University of Sydney), J. Roberts


The ‘price of sin’ aversion: Ivory tower illusion or real investable alpha?

H. Adamsson (Henley Business School), A. Hoepner


Red versus Blue: Do Political Dimensions influence the Investment Preferences of State Pension Funds?

L. Schopohl (Henley Business School), A. Hoepner



CFO gender and bank loan pricing: A cross-cultural perspective

Clarissa Hauptmann


Sustainable Responsible Investment in Southern African Private Equity: Practitioner perceptions and practices

Xolisa Dhlamini


The integration of ESG criteria into investment processes considering investors’ preferences

Elena Escrig Olmedo


The importance of sustainability and transparency labels in investment decisions between conventional and sustainable mutual funds

Bernhard Zwergel


SRI research: Four competing agendas

Jean Pascal Gond


Corporate responses to external metrics: a dynamic perspective on decoupling

Rieneke Slager


Valeria Piani

Nathan Fabian

Director, Policy and Research

See more on the PRI Executive team

Katherine Ng

Katherine Ng, Head of Academic Network

Katherine joined the PRI in June 2014. She is responsible for work bridging the gap between investors and academics.

Previously, she managed the research and insights programme at global accountancy body ACCA, developing, commissioning and communicating impactful and engaging research to stakeholders around the world. She was previously an academic researcher working on European Commission funded projects on science and society.

Katherine holds an MA in International Relations and is a qualified programme manager (MSP).