Message from Mary Fee, Secretary of LETSlink UK

In summer 2017 I went to Greece to join Thomas Greco‘s summer school about the money system. He is an author of several books on monetary reform, and has worked out how an alternative form of currency creation could operate in the business world. His earlier books are: Beyond Money: See: Tom’s News and Views: His latest book, “The End of Money and the Future of Civilization” can be ordered from Chelsea Green Publishing,, or your local bookshop. Tom’s Archive Website is: Contact Tom at: Thomas H. Greco, Jr PO Box 42663, Tucson, AZ 85733, Mobile phone (USA): 520-820-0575 Skype/Twitter name: tomazgreco.

At the Summer School I met old friends Matthew Slater and Professor Jem Bendell from the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability in Cumbria, who are involved in training a new generation of innovators in the social currency movement, and afterwards, I joined their Money & Society MOOC. Here are links to the background notes of their presentations: IFLAS MOOC 1IFLAS MOOC 2IFLAS MOOC 3IFLAS MOOC 4.

In December 2017, as an alumni of this course I was sent details of a fully funded full time PhD on local currencies in stunning Cumbria, supervised by MOOC coauthor Prof Jem Bendell, the closing date of which is midnight 14th January 2018 – see details here:

The Lake District Pound (LD£) initiative is the context within which the research project will be carried out. This is an innovation in local currency that builds on the prior work and positive outcomes of other complementary currency initiatives in the UK and globally.

The LD£ will operate alongside sovereign Sterling currency with a more direct purpose to support the local rural economy. This initiative will utilise a range of innovative methods to adapt and extend the idea of a ‘currency with a purpose’ to a rural context with a unique demographic including for the first time a National Park. A core aim of the initiative is to shift visitor spending from using large external businesses (e.g. online retailers and travel companies, remote delivery services, etc.) towards local companies and communities. The anticipated impact is to retain more wealth in the region to fund social and environmental projects and through the local focus and supply chains deliver measureable environmental benefits.

The LD£ initiative has a number of short and long-term aims, which will be greatly enabled through this research project. The aim of the research project is to provide a foundation and framework for measuring the success of the local currency initiative and from that measure, to identify optimum practice and future direction to improve such local currency initiatives.

No prior research data exists from any local currency project to describe or quantify the benefits of local currency schemes on the local economy. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has some data on the benefits of local purchasing via the Multiplier Effect, but has no substantive data from any initiative. In the US, the AMIBA has some impressive quantified data on local spending impact, but this relates to a different culture of use and is not related to local spending impact of a local currency initiative. Most significantly for the LD£ initiative, no data exists to measure the impact of local spending in a rural context or where communities are adversely impacted through a substantial tourist influx.

Desired outcomes of the research project include, but are not limited to: • A framework definition for measuring local economic impact from local spending • Gathering of quantified data defining benefits to local economy through spending locally • Direction for how to improve money supply, particularly in supply-chains, to make the most impact and greatest difference to local economy • Quantified data on ecological benefits due to local purchasing • Recommendations for future local currency initiatives.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with The Lakes Currency Project Ltd, a small and dynamic team with a passion for the environment and the local community. Based in the stunning Lake District National Park, UK you will help to shape and deliver this research project in partnership between the University of Cumbria and The Lakes Currency Project Ltd.

The Business:  The Lakes Currency Project Ltd is the organisation behind the introduction and support of the ‘Lake District Pound’. It is incorporated as a private entity following the guidelines of a Community Interest Company to drive the LD£ initiative as a commercially sustainable project. The generation of revenue from the initiative will be directed in joint partnership with the Lake District Foundation to support vital sustainability projects in and around the National Park, and the Cumbria Community Foundation to support critical projects to help the poorer local communities. Their long-term aim is to develop an element of autonomy and economic resilience within the Lake District and surrounding communities in response to the continually increasing impact of global tourism that often serves to impoverish rural areas.

The initiative has a number of mutually reinforcing objectives: • to support local independent business by increasing customer numbers through the marketing of the currency  • to create awareness of how a community benefits when people ‘buy local’ • to create a memorable experience for visitors to the Lake District National Park through engagement with the currency and associated activities • to enhance the sense of identity of the Lake District and surrounding area • to generate a profit to be invested back into the Lake District and surrounding area in support of environmental and social needs.  See further details on:

Benefits: This is a fully funded home/EU PhD supported by the ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria project led by the University of Cumbria. The University is committed to providing excellence in academic practice together with a supportive and stimulating environment in which to conduct your studies.
Full-time PhD – annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 p.a. for 3 years • Tuition fees are paid for by the industry sponsor (Home/EU fee) • Become part of a cohort of student researchers working on industry-led projects in eco-innovation.

Application process: – To apply please visit the website for details of the entry requirements which must be met and to access the application form. Under the Research Proposal section of the form please summarise your approach to the proposed project outlined in this advert under the following headings: General Overview of Area, Identification of the Relevant Literature, Key Research Questions, Methodology, Timescale/Research Planning • Please include a covering letter telling us why you want to study for a PhD, what interests you about this project and highlight the skills and experience you will bring. • For any queries relating to admissions please contact Research Student Admissions
If you wish to find out more about the project in the first instance please contact: Ken Royall, Chief Executive, The Lakes Currency Project Ltd. or Dr David Murphy, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria

Closing date: midnight 14 January 2018: Interviews are conducted 8 February 2018 in Ambleside, Cumbria. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation on their approach to the research proposal (arrangements could be made to do this by video conference).


Comments are closed.