The IPE Pensions Scholarship Fund has made two awards this year for research into retirement provision.

The first is a €5,000 grant to Elizabeth Harnett (pictured below), a PhD candidate at Oxford University, while the second is to Ellen Dingemans for €2,000 to assist with her post-doctoral research at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW) and the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG-RUG).

The focus of Harnett’s PhD studies is on increasing the understanding of the information and communication channels pension funds find useful and important in translating climate-change science into actionable knowledge.

Harnett said it was not clear that simply providing more information on climate change would impact pension fund managers’ decisions and behaviour. 

“An analysis will be included of the role of the major pension funds’ consultants in influencing the knowledge and practices of pension funds with regards to climate change and stranded assets risks,” she added. 

The IPE Scholarship of €5,000 will enable Harnett to reduce the amount of paid work required to fund her research, providing increased opportunity for fieldwork and networking opportunities within the pension fund industry.

“This will maximise the benefit of my research and allow me to complete my doctorate on time,” she said. 

Dingemans’s research for her post-doctorate project focuses on working retirees in the UK and the Netherlands.

Elizabeth Harnett

Elizabeth Harnett

She will investigate the key drivers of post-retirement employment in both countries and to what extent the decision on this ‘bridge’ employment is experienced differently by subgroups in society – along the lines of gender or education, for example, or health differences.

The €2,000 grant from the IPE Scholarship Fund enabled her to travel and collaborate directly for a period with colleagues at University of Manchester (UoM) on this project.

She said her visit would greatly enhance her scientific network and help to further establish a research agenda for her post-doc period. 

The expected output of the UoM collaboration is an article in an international peer-reviewed journal, a scientific presentation in one of the MICRA seminars of UoM and a Netspar discussion paper, she said.

Congratulating Harnett and Dingemans, the IPE Pensions Scholarship Fund’s board said it was very pleased to be supporting research projects with such positive potential outcomes.

Fennell Betson, chair of the fund and founding editor of IPE magazine, said: “We look forward to their findings with great interest.”

The fund’s board comprises Chris Verhaegen, former chair of the Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group at EIOPA; Peter Melchior, former executive director and actuary at PKA Pension Fund in Denmark; and Peter Borgdorff, executive director at Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn in the Netherlands.

The fund’s Academic Adviser is Debbie Harrison, visiting professor at the Pensions Institute, Cass Business School in London.

These are the fifth and sixth awards made by the fund to candidates involved in pension fund and retirement income research.

The fund is open to other proposals for supporting those undertaking studies and research into these areas at European universities and academic and research bodies.

IPE established the Scholarship Fund in 2011 on a non-profit basis, with contributions being received from IPE and others in the pensions community.

For further details, please email Fennell Betson or visit the website