Stephen Connolly

Founding Director of DC Research
BA (Hons) Business Studies and PhD Economics, 1992-99 


From evaluating museums to the impact of Lottery programmes across the UK – research is what GCU graduate and founding Director of DC Research Stephen Connolly knows best.  

“After I left school, I worked in high street banking for five years in the late 1980s and early 1990s before deciding that I wanted to go to university,” said Stephen Connolly.

Since then, Stephen has co-founded his own research company DC Research.

“The desire to work in research was certainly stimulated by my time studying at GCU, whilst establishing and running my own company was probably a dim and distant thought in the back of my mind, and not something I seriously considered until later.  Once I did so, aspects of what I was taught during my business studies degree certainly supported and helped my approach to running my own business.”

Completing his first degree sparked an interest for further study, and an interest in research in particular.   Stephen returned to GCU where he gained a PhD – and he has now spent 25 years working in both academic and private sector research and consultancy.

Having worked in research roles for various other organisations and companies, he and his co-founder wanted to do things their own way – in terms of both the quality of the research they delivered and the overall approach to running the business.

“Starting a new business at the peak of an economic recession didn’t dampen our enthusiasm and eleven years later I believe our hard work has paid off given where we are now and what we have achieved.”

His company, DC Research works in the economics, heritage and culture fields of research, and carries out work for national government departments, public bodies, independent trusts, regional agencies, and local authorities throughout the UK.

“My qualifications from GCU, as well as the wider life experience and skills from my time there, have been core to what I have achieved.”

His advice to current students and graduates is to “be prepared and to work hard if you want to achieve all that you can from your time at university and your early career.  Don’t be afraid to change your mind and change your career path if you think you have made the wrong choice.   Remember, there is no replacement for hard work – no matter how talented or clever you are.”

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