Purpose: The paper aims to introduce this special issue on LEAD, the research management system under which the papers collected in this issue were produced. The paper explains the background that led to the establishment of the system, presents a short history of LEAD, describes how it is managed, and details the various stages of a typical LEAD "cycle". It concludes with a brief description of the papers to follow. Design/methodology/approach: Reflective description. Findings: LEAD is a successful collaborative system for organising "action research" in learning and teaching within a business faculty. The papers in this issue serve to demonstrate the system's outcomes. Research limitations/implications: The paper is essentially descriptive. The described system illustrates one way of organising collaborative research in a university faculty, in this instance focused on research into learning and teaching in a business faculty. Practical implications: LEAD provides a model for managing collaborative university research, one that could be applied in any university faculty and across different research areas. Apart from illustrating the potential of the system, each of the papers collected in this issue is of interest in its own right, as a study of learning and teaching in a particular disciplinary context. Originality/value: The LEAD system is a novel way of organising learning and teaching research in a university context.