Staff profile

Professor Carley Foster

Professor of Services Marketing, Head of the Centre for Business Improvement

Carley Foster delivering a lecture


Business, Marketing


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Innovation and Research

Research centre

Centre for Business Improvement




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Professor of Services Marketing, Head of the Centre for Business Improvement and the University's REF lead for Business and Management Studies. My research, teaching and consultancy focuses on services marketing, particularly in terms of how organisations and customers engage with one another in a retail setting.

As Head of the Centre for Business Improvement, I am responsible for leading applied research in the College which relates to four research strands - Experiential & Services Marketing, Organisational Behaviour, HRM and Leadership, Accounting, Accountability and Ethics and Sustainable Business and Clean Growth.

I am an elected committee member for the British Academy of Management Marketing and Retail Special Interest Group and a Board Member of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District in Derby and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire.

Teaching responsibilities

I have successfully supervised and continue to supervise doctoral research students (PhDs and Professional Doctorates) in the areas of marketing and retail. I have 16 doctoral completions and am a Director of Studies for doctoral students at the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and previously, Grenoble School of Management.

I have also chaired vivas and examined internal and external doctorates. Prior to my role at Derby, I was the Programme Director for the DBA at Nottingham Trent University, one of the longest-running DBA courses in the UK. I lead and deliver the Designing Research Projects module for the DBA in Derby Business School and run training sessions, such as how to publish, for all Derby PhD students.

I have been an external examiner for Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Surrey and the University of Lincoln. I am currently an external examiner for Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Professional interests

Prior to my academic career, I was an assistant buyer at Boots. I gained my PhD in 2003 which explored staff and customer diversity issues in retailing. I have then had a number of academic roles, including ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Senior Lecturer, Reader in Retail Management and Programme Director for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) at Nottingham Trent University.

Research interests

My work has a number of research strands:

As an experienced doctoral supervisor and course leader, I am also conducting teaching-related research concerned with the management of professional doctorates and PGR student experiences, particularly in relation to the DBA. 

I review for various journals and conferences, these include: Journal of Marketing Management, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, European Journal of Marketing, Qualitative Market Research, EURAM, BAM, and EAERCD. I am a Guest Editor for the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management Special Issue linked to the annual British Academy of Management conference.

Membership of professional bodies

I am an elected committee member (Secretary) for the Marketing and Retail Special Interest Group at the British Academy of Management and have been an Academic Panel Member for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (Midlands).  I am a committee member for CERR (Colloquium on European Research in Retailing) and a Board Member of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District in Derby and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire.


Recent conferences

My research has been presented at a number of conferences including the British Academy of Management, the Academy of Marketing, EIRASS, ISBE, EAERCD and Gender, Work and Organization. A full list of my conference papers can be found on UDORA.

Selected conference papers include:

Experience in industry

I have worked and continue to work with a number of large and small organisations in a research and consultancy capacity. This includes B&Q, WHSmith, Tesco, Boots, Virgin Trains as well as independent retailers, shopping centres and SME marketing service providers.

I have also worked on funded research with PKF Cooper Parry, Rolls Royce and the CIPD. I have advised Derby City Council on their successful Future High Streets bid and given talks to practitioner audiences on the future of the high street at, for example, the Peak District Partnership, Destination Chesterfield and the Festival of Business. More recently my work on the place agenda in rural communities has led to engagement with Rural England, BDUK, NICRE and Business Peak District.

I was also the Academic Lead for a management KTP (2020-2022) with the Devonshire Group (Chatsworth House), part-funded by the ESRC, which examined the economic impact of their activities on the region.  

International experience

I have taught on a Certificate in Business Administration for the retailer ECCO in Boston, USA and delivered marketing ethics workshops to postgraduate students at EDHEC, France. I have presented at a number of international conferences and supervised international doctoral students from, for example, China, Canada, Libya, Oman, Ireland, Japan and Zimbabwe.

Additional interests and activities

My externally funded projects include:

In the media

Here my views on pop-up retail recorded with Linney as part of their consumer insight series, Pop-up Podcast.

Recent publications

My research can be found in a range of journals including the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Studies in Higher Education, Journal of Marketing Management, Services Industries JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management and HRMJ. A full list of my publications can be found on UDORA

Selected publications include:

Busy three storey shopping centre decorated with a large Christmas tree

Professor Carley Foster, Head of the Centre for Business Improvement at the University of Derby, discusses the implications for the high street in the run up to Christmas and beyond.

A busy London street

Carley Foster, Professor of Services Marketing at the University of Derby, considers how our high street stores have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and what the retail offer of our town centres could be in a socially-distanced future.