Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Staff Profile

Deborah Forbes



I joined Newcastle University in 2006, I am a Lecturer in Marketing at Newcastle University Business School.

My research interests are focused on the Third Sector in particular the contribution of the volunteer workforce to the delivery of services.

I have over 20 years’ experience working in the Education field at Further and Higher level.

I have lectured widely on business and marketing modules on Management; UG and PG programmes including: Introduction to Marketing; Research Methods; Marketing Communications; Arts & Cultural Marketing and Not-for-profit marketing.

I have also delivered marketing workshops to the Third Sector

I continue my professional development through attending CIM events and as an active volunteer.


Research Interests

Over the course of my career I have been actively engaged in research and development projects. My research is set in the Third Sector and focuses on the boundary spanning role of volunteers and their contribution to society.

This research has several foci

a)     What is a volunteer – their motivations; development and management

b)    Where do people volunteer sectorally eg in cultural organizations.

c)     Key issues in the sector - currently includes the role of the Corporate volunteer and the transfer of public services in the UK to volunteer delivery

This has led to the production of academic publications including journal articles and conference papers.

The Third Sector is a dynamic and fast changing domain and much of my work is applied and involves engagement with the various stakeholders involved. As a result in addition to academic outputs, impact is generated through evaluation reports, workshops, invited presentations and expert advice.

Keywords:  Third Sector; Volunteering; Corporate Volunteering (ESV); Public Sector Service provision

Current Projects

Transfer of Public services to Volunteer Delivery.

2013/14 - in collaboration with Geoff Nichols , University of Sheffield and funded by Newcastle SDI.

The first stage of the research involved a scoping exercise to identify how this transfer of delivery has being managed. The initial findings have been presented at conferences and workshops. Case studies have been published on the CIMPSA web site.


2014 - ongoing - The research has broadened to involve additional academics from Northumbria University and non-academic partners. The intention is to examine transfer of leisure services including sport and culture to identify best practice and to develop tool kits. Dissemination will be through publication; workshops and conference .

Corporate Volunteering

Scoping exercise on delivery of CV in North East England. Identification of stakeholders involved, and in particular the role of the broker in the delivery of volunteer opportunities.

Comparison of New Zealand and UK University Employee Volunteering policies

Future work 

  • Collaboration with NUBS collegues on the delivery of Corporate Volunteering

Research Roles

Member of the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE), Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University www.ncl.ac.uk/kite

Associate Member of CRE (Centre for Rural Economy), SAFRD, Newcastle University

Postgraduate Supervision -Extensive experience of supervising Masters Dissertations on MBA and Master in International/ Marketing

I have also served as member of PhD supervisory teams at Northumbria and Teesside Universities.


Journals - Marketing Intelligence & Planning; Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; Arts Marketing: An international Journal; Non profit Management & Leadership

Books – Marketing -  Baines, P & Fill, C OUP  


HEIF3 – 2006 - 8 – Investigate ESV / CV in Universities

SDI – 2014 - Transfer of Public services to Volunteer Delivery

Newcastle University - various internal research development

Practitioner Relevance

Deliver workshops to volunteer groups

Active Volunteer in cultural environment – Darlington for Culture  http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/



My teaching activity draws on my marketing background; my CPD activities and research interests

I am an enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturer. I have experience of teaching student groups of various sizes. This includes large lectures of 500 to small seminar groups.

I take an action learning approach to teaching, seeking to engage students through their own knowledge and experiences. 

Undergraduate Teaching

Current - Module Leader on MKT1002/26/28 Introduction to Marketing; MKT 3095 Cultural & heritage Marketing; MKT3096 Dissertation Supervision.

Previous – Buyer Behaviour; Marketing Communications; Not for Profit Marketing; Research methods;

Postgraduate Teaching 

Current - Guest lecturer Marketing Introduction on MA Museum Studies

Previous - Marketing Principles; Not for Profit Marketing; Business Research Methods;

Executive Education

A range of bespoke marketing training sessions and workshops for public and third sector organisations