Competitiveness and Economic Growth

A significant forum of scholarly and practitioner based research has developed in recent years that has sought to both theorise and empirically measure the competitiveness of places, in particular at the sub-national regional level. In particular, regional competitiveness models are most usually implicitly constructed in the lineage of endogenous growth frameworks, whereby deliberate investments in factors such as human capital and knowledge are considered to be key drivers of growth differentials.

Through a range of projects and initiatives researchers within the Centre have provided a lead in furthering the regional competitiveness and economic growth agenda. For instance, they led the formulation of the UK Competitiveness Index, which was the first tool to provide a composite measure of the competitiveness of the UK’s regions, cities and localities.

Following on from this, researchers at the Centre expanded their research principally through the development of models to examine regional competitiveness from an international perspective. The results of this project were formulated as the World Knowledge Competitiveness Index, with the underlying model designed as an integrated and overall benchmark of the knowledge capacity, capability and sustainability regions across the globe, and the extent to which this knowledge is translated into economic value, and transferred into the wealth of the citizens of these regions (further information on this can be found at

The Centre’s research has permeated economic development policymaking in the UK and overseas, establishing 'regional competitiveness' as a new theoretical lens through which to consider the uneven economic development of places. Economic development policymaking has become increasingly devolved from the national level to policymakers at the regional, city and local level. This has required such policymakers to establish new strategies, modes of assessment, and marketing plans to facilitate and promote economic development. The Centre’s research has helped to transform the perception, activities and strategies of policymakers through the provision of new concepts, methods and metrics for assessing regional competitiveness, and has helped equip them with the tools required to establish robust evidence-based policymaking within a knowledge economy.

For information on this research stream please contact Professor Robert Huggins.