On completion of his PhD in Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) and urban regeneration policy at Birkbeck College, London University, Robert was appointed as a Researcher at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) in 1994. After initially dividing his time between SME research and lecturing in political and economic geography, since 1996 Robert has focused on research at CEEDR. In 2001 he established a legal recruitment agency and in 2006 a holiday lettings company in the Algarve, Portugal, whilst holding a part-time Principal Researcher post with CEEDR. In 2009 he returned to full–time work with CEEDR, whilst retaining his business Directorships.
Robert is currently a full-time Senior Research Fellow at CEEDR. His most recent research has focused on the financing of SMEs and MSBs (small and mid sized businesses), Robert's recent research has including several projects for BIS on business access to finance, notably managing an Interim Evaluation of BIS Equity Schemes (2013-14), an Early Assessment of the Angel Co-investment Fund (2013-14), an Investigation into the Motivations Behind the Listing Decisions of UK Companies (2013) and an Early Assessment of the UK Innovation Investment Fund (UKIIF, 2012). Other relevant recent research for BIS has included investigating Mid-Cap bank finance issues (2011), an Early Assessment of the Impact of BIS Equity Fund Initiatives (2010). Robert has also recently reported, in collaboration with SQW (2013) to the Greater London Authority on London's finance gaps for SMEs, proposing a need for further venture capital and on the future of equity and growth finance in Northern Ireland for DETI.
Other key projects Robert has played a significant role in include: investigating the barriers to take up of business assistance for BIS; access to bank finance for Scottish SMEs for the Scottish Government; an assessment of the government's equity finance initiatives for SMEs with growth potential (for BIS); a vocational training needs assessment for the Falkland Islands Government; examining bank finance for Ethnic Minority Businesses (EMBs) for the British Bankers Association; assessing the impacts of the Deprived Urban Post Office Fund in England for the DTI; exploring capacity building approaches for the Third Sector for CapacityBuilders.