Researching the Volunteer Reserve: The Future Reserves Research Programme

We are delighted to announce the publication of a series of eight Briefings presenting the key findings and recommendations from the Future Reserves Research Programme.

The research programme, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Ministry of Defence was launched in 2014, to help identify and understand the range of issues affecting Regular and Reserve personnel as the Armed Forces move towards an integrated ‘whole force’ structure under the Future Reserves 2020 programme of reforms.

The programme comprised four projects, led by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Exeter, Lancaster and Newcastle. Researchers used qualitative methods to investigate in depth the experiences of Reservists, their families and their employers, as well as other stakeholders. Reserves participated in either an interview or focus group discussion: these were drawn mostly from the Army Reserve, but two of the four projects were tri-service.  A survey is also being conducted – this is due to complete over the summer.

The first set of four Briefings summarise the key findings from each of the four projects making up the programme:

Project Briefing 1 Negotiating civilian and military lives: How Reservists manage their military service, families and civilian work

Project Briefing 2Keeping Enough in Reserve: The employment of hybrid citizen-soldiers and the Future Reserves 2020 programme

Project Briefing 3The Role of Army Reservists: An analysis of their experiences, and the attitudes of civilian employers, regulars and significant others

Project Briefing 4Sustaining Future Reserves 2020: Assessing organisational commitment in the Reserves

The second set of four Briefings brings together findings from across the programme, by key themes:

Themed Briefing 1Reservist motivations to serve

Themed Briefing 2Negotiating civilian and military lives: Families, relationships and Reserve Service

Themed Briefing 3Supporting employer and employee engagement in the Reserves

Themed Briefing 4The Reserves and wider civil-military relationships

The key findings and recommendations were presented by members of the research team at an event held in London on 27 June 2018 – Reserves Day. The event was chaired by Lieutenant General Robin Brims, Chair of Future Reserves 2020 External Scrutiny Group and member of the Future Reserves Research Programme Advisory Group.

The research team would like to thank all Reservists, their family members, employers and other key stakeholders who participated in the research, as well as colleagues at MOD who supported the research and all the members of the Programme and Advisory Boards.

Further academic publications will follow the publication of the Briefings series.

For more information see or follow @futurereserves