FEATURE4 July 2022

Rhys Hillan – Research Hero

Features People

The Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Rhys Hillan has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2022.

Rhys Hillan, Zappi


Rhys joined Zappi in 2021 and now leads their expert content initiative. Prior to joining Zappi, Rhys obtained a masters degree in educational research from the University of Cambridge, where he developed his skills as a researcher.
He sits on the MRS’s Sustainability Council, where he has written guides on establishing sustainability groups in international market research associations, as well as Net Zero strategy guides for MRS members. In 2022 he founded the Young Person’s Sustainability Collective to act as the &more sustainability group. 

Rhys was nominated for “his dedication and proven ability to make things happen as an example to other young researchers”.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?
Finding a balance between the ideal and the possible. There is so much sustainability work I and many others would love to do, but balancing company, employee and investor priorities makes it a difficult compromise to make. It’s such a pressing issue but there are many factors to consider, so striking the right balance is a difficult challenge.

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?
I don’t want to say something sustainability related – I’m against the idea of seeing it as just a trend because we need to integrate it into our businesses long term. I’m curious to see how Web3 will influence the research industry. Zappi has already conducted usage and attitudes surveys and innovation testing in this space and the results are incredibly interesting. I wonder what possibilities the Metaverse will offer product testing, for example, or how companies within the Bitcoin or non-fungible token industry could efficiently test their products in such a volatile market. I’m engaged from a researcher perspective, so it’s a fascinating space to keep an eye on from a distance.

Who inspires you as a researcher?
The entire research team at Zappi. I’m fortunate to work within a team that perfectly blends empathy and intelligence – they’re a pleasure to work with and they’re incredible at their jobs. I’ve learnt so much in the last 18 months from them and I’m excited to learn more.

View the full list of Research Heroes for 2022