Having worked cooperatively on various projects in recent years, the leading market research associations in the US, UK, and Australia have formalised their close ties with a partnership agreement that will bring increased information, access, and influence to members of the respective organisations.

MRS, the UK professional body for research, insight and analytics; The Research Society, formerly the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS); and US-based Insights Association now jointly announce the pact and its scope.

The objectives of the collaboration are to enable IA, MRS and The Research Society to mutually benefit from each other's products and services where appropriate; to share expertise, resources and product and service development costs efficiently and effectively; to discuss new initiatives and identify new avenues for cooperation; and ultimately to add value to each organisation member.

Collaboration activities will include:

  • Annual research projects, which will be similar across all three markets, with local variations to reflect any specific domestic nuances. This is based upon the success of the Mental Well-being Research study initially developed by MRS for the UK market and subsequently adopted by the IA for the US and The Research Society in Australia.
  • Sharing legal knowledge and compliance guidance, particularly relating to Covid-19, GDPR and domestic privacy developments, to enable members of all three associations to access and share each other's guidance and regulatory documents.
  • Reciprocal discounted member rates for products and services from each association.

Other potential areas for cooperation include events and use/adoption of MRS’s Inclusion Programme, which sets out corporate inclusion and diversity targets; an annual Inclusion survey, and a LGBTQ+ network, which hosts several events each year.

Also, IA, MRS and The Research Society will seek to develop a Specification Protocol for organisations certifying to the ISO 20252:2019 standard for market, opinion and social research. The aim is to develop a Specification Protocol using the experts of each of the three associations, which will be for the direct benefit of ISO 20252:2019 certified companies linked to the three associations (including CIRQ, IA's separate certification body).

Melanie Courtright, CEO of the Insights Association comments: “I have long admired the work done by MRS and The Research Society. Each of our associations have the ultimate knowledge and network within our respective countries and welcome the opportunity to share this expertise and access more broadly. Our missions are similar, and we work extremely well together. We have already discussed several potential projects and I’m excited for the coordinated efforts in the months ahead.”

Jane Frost CBE, chief executive of MRS, said: “As the world’s three largest national research associations, together we encompass a huge concentration of expertise and knowledge. The research and insight we share will be based on decades of experience working with Governments and as regulators and, as such, will have clear practical applications.

“Specifically, we hope that MRS' CEO pledge, which includes five commitments for increasing diversity and safety in the workplace, will now have a global reach. In turn, we’ll be looking to learn from the other two associations’ approaches to recent events, including the Insights Association’s work on the Black Lives Matter protests. Many of our members have branches across all three countries, and I’m certain there can only be benefits from this greater collaboration.”

Elissa Molloy, chief executive of The Research Society, said: “The Research Society is thrilled to formalise our partnership with the Insights Association and the MRS. As the insights and research industry pivots to deal with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, global collaboration is more important than ever; it is the right time to be taking this next step to consolidate our relationship. We are looking forward to rolling out the new initiatives for our members and partners."

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