ESRC Productivity Insights Network launched

18 January 2018

ESRC Productivity Insights Network

Cardiff University academics are playing key roles in the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) new Productivity Insights Network.

The new network, launched this month, will ‘assess the state of productivity research in the UK; improving our understanding of the factors affecting our productivity and informing the development of new strategies and research.’

Sheffield University is leading the project which includes participation from nine universities. Professor Andrew Henley, of Cardiff Business School and Professor Rob Huggins, from the School of Geography and Planning, are the two co-investigators representing Cardiff University in the network.

Professor Huggins will co-lead on a research theme concerned with technology, innovation and competitiveness while Professor Henley, alongside Professor Rick Delbridge, of Cardiff Business School, will work with the project leaders – Professors Philip McCann and Tim Vorley of Sheffield University – to provide a more integrated understanding of the productivity challenge.

As well as providing leadership and being a forum for collaboration, the network will:

  • Pull together interdisciplinary research groups and other networks in academia, policy-making and business
  • Promote the use of innovative methods
  • Develop a series of small-scale studies
  • Complement (and collaborate with) existing research agendas, whether or not they are ESRC-funded
  • Contribute to policy development
  • Run small scale competitions to allocate funding to academics outside of the network to undertake relevant projects.

Professor Henley said: “I am delighted that Cardiff University is part of the consortium chosen to deliver this hugely important new research programme concerning one of the most difficult challenges facing business in the UK and its wider public value implications.

“One of the reasons why this consortium was successful is that it proposes to adopt a highly localised approach, reflecting the fact that the drivers of productivity and business growth may be very different in Wales, and in other areas of the UK, to those in London and the south east of England.”

Professor Huggins said: “The picture of productivity, in terms of how much wealth is generated from business, varies greatly from region to region. It is hoped our research will give governments and key policy stakeholders important insights into why this could be the case, as well as informing where they should be focusing their resources, so they can help businesses to compete on the national and international stage.

“By analysing individual regions such as Wales, we will be investigating strategies that will ensure the UK economy as a whole thrives for generations to come.”