Centre for Innovation Policy Research
We co-create knowledge through collaborative research on innovation which contributes to place-based policy development across Wales and the world.
We conduct policy-relevant research on creativity, innovation and the economy alongside collaborators from organisations across the public, private and third sectors in the UK and internationally.
Our research has a particular focus on the spatial and place-based nature of innovation. We promote sustainability and responsible innovation when identifying and developing policy-relevant research findings.
- conducting high-quality research
- producing research outputs
- generating research income
- promoting knowledge exchange and collaboration on innovation policy
- building networks to encourage policy-relevant research on innovation
- informing policy development in Wales, the UK and internationally
The Innovation Advisory Council for Wales (IACW) was invited by the Welsh Government, in late 2020, to begin a process of reviewing the innovation landscape in Wales and informing plans to develop a refreshed innovation policy for Wales.
IACW commissioned the Centre for Innovation Policy Research at Cardiff University to investigate the current state of innovation in Wales and consider the key issues in developing future policy. This report, which was submitted on 31 March 2021, represents a starting point to debates to be held over the next few months.
The CIPR team of Rick Delbridge, Dylan Henderson and Kevin Morgan held discussions with over 50 stakeholders across the innovation ecosystem and also undertook a review of secondary data. In the report, they provide an overview of the current state of innovation in Wales, review the support available for research and innovation, consider what will be needed to prepare for the future and offer recommendations to help shape the future Welsh innovation landscape.
Carmarthenshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) commissioned CIPR to undertake work to inform the development of their innovation strategy for the region. CCC has been one of the most pro-active in Wales in addressing the twin threats of Brexit and Covid. It established an independent Business Advisory Group to help the authority to design and monitor a post-Covid economic recovery strategy in 2021 and it has been a pioneer in winning successive awards under the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund. And it was successful with 12 of its 13 bids to the UK-managed Community Renewal Fund. The commissioning of this report is arguably another sign of the council’s pro-active approach to local innovation and development.
The CIPR team was led by Kevin Morgan and included Dylan Henderson and Rick Delbridge. The aims of the commission were both general and particular. The general aim was to identify proposals to support the recovery and restructuring of Carmarthenshire’s economy through innovation. The particular aims were to explore the contribution of certain key sectors, specifically: the role of the country council and the wider public sector, especially with respect to the use of public sector spending power to support innovation; and to focus in particular on the Foundational Economy; Health and Wellbeing; Digital innovation; and the impact of Climate Change and the prospects of a Green Recovery by harnessing the potential of the Circular Economy. The project involved desk-based analysis of key documents and consultations with 50 stakeholders. In collaboratively drafting the final report with the CCC, the CIPR team developed a strategy to promote and support innovation in Carmarthenshire. This strategy was launched at an event in May 2023.
- Henderson, D. , Morgan, K. and Delbridge, R. 2023. Putting missions in their place: micro missions and the role of universities in delivering challenge-led innovation. Regional Studies (10.1080/00343404.2023.2176840)
- Crawley, A. , Delbridge, R. and Munday, M. 2020. Selling the region: The problems of a multi-agency approach in promoting regional economies. Regional Science Policy and Practice 12 (3), pp.397-412. (10.1111/rsp3.12268)
- Morgan, K. and Webb, B. 2020. Googling the city: in search of the public interest on Toronto's 'Smart' waterfront. Urban Planning 5 (1), pp.84-95. (10.17645/up.v5i1.2520)
- Coenen, L. and Morgan, K. 2020. Evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift / Norwegian Journal of Geography 74 (1), pp.13-24. (10.1080/00291951.2019.1692065)
- Soroka, A. et al. 2020. Measuring regional business resilience. Regional Studies 54 (6), pp.838-850. (10.1080/00343404.2019.1652893)
- Marques, P. et al., 2019. Spaces of novelty: can universities play a catalytic role in less developed regions?. Science and Public Policy 46 (5), pp.763-771. (10.1093/scipol/scz028)
- Waite, D. and Morgan, K. 2019. City deals in the polycentric state: The space and politics of Metrophilia in the UK. European Urban and Regional Studies 26 (4), pp.382-399. (10.1177/0969776418798678)
- Prokop, D. , Huggins, R. and Bristow, G. 2019. The survival of academic spinoff companies: An empircal study of key determinants. International Small Business Journal 37 (5), pp.502-535. (10.1177/0266242619833540)
- Morgan, K. and Marques, P. 2019. The public animateur: Mission-led innovation and the 'smart state' in Europe. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 12 (23), pp.179-193. (10.1093/cjres/rsz002)
- Webber, D. J. , Healy, A. and Bristow, G. 2018. Regional growth paths and resilience: A European analysis. Economic Geography 94 (4), pp.355-375. (10.1080/00130095.2017.1419057)
- Bristow, G. and Healy, A. 2018. Innovation and regional economic resilience: an exploratory analysis. Annals of Regional Science 60 , pp.265-284. (10.1007/s00168-017-0841-6)
- Morgan, K. , Munday, M. and Roberts, A. 2017. Local economic development opportunities from NHS spending: evidence from Wales. Urban Studies 54 (13), pp.3138-3156. (10.1177/0042098016658248)
- Morgan, K. 2017. Nurturing novelty: Regional innovation policy in the age of smart specialisation. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 35 (4), pp.569-583. (10.1177/0263774X16645106)
- Sensier, M. , Bristow, G. and Healy, A. 2016. Measuring regional economic resilience across Europe: operationalising a complex concept. Spatial Economic Analysis 11 (2), pp.128-151. (10.1080/17421772.2016.1129435)
- Morgan, K. J. 2016. Collective entrepreneurship: the Basque model of innovation. European Planning Studies 24 (8), pp.1544-1560. (10.1080/09654313.2016.1151483)
- Bristow, G. and Healy, A. 2015. Crisis response, choice and resilience: insights from complexity thinking. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 8 (2), pp.241-256. (10.1093/cjres/rsv002)
- Delbridge, R. and Edwards, T. J. 2013. Inhabiting institutions: Critical realist refinements to understanding institutional complexity and change. Organization Studies 34 (7), pp.927-947. (10.1177/0170840613483805)
- Mariotti, F. and Delbridge, R. 2012. Overcoming network overload and redundancy in interorganizational networks: the roles of potential and latent ties. Organization Science 23 (2), pp.511-528. (10.1287/orsc.1100.0634)
- Kasabov, E. and Delbridge, R. 2008. Innovation, embeddedness and policy: evidence from life sciences in three UK regions. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 20 (2), pp.185-200. (10.1080/09537320801931671)
- Edwards, T. J. , Delbridge, R. and Munday, M. C. R. 2007. A critical assessment of the evaluation of EU Interventions for Innovation in the SME sector in Wales. Urban Studies 44 (12), pp.2429-2448. (10.1080/00420980701540960)
- Edwards, T. J. , Delbridge, R. and Munday, M. C. R. 2005. Understanding innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises: a process manifest. Technovation 25 (10), pp.1119-1127. (10.1016/j.technovation.2004.04.005)
Innovation for All - The challenge of free school meals in Wales
One of the most ambitious policies that emerged from the Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru was the commitment to deliver Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) to all primary school children in Wales. Although this is a highly laudable new policy commitment, it is also a very challenging policy goal when local authorities are already struggling to maintain existing services amidst the twin pressures of tight budgets and the rapidly escalating costs of food and fuel.
This Innovation for All seminar, facilitated by Professor Kevin Morgan, addressed the various dimensions of the UFSM challenge, focusing in particular on the three most common problems:
- the infrastructure (kitchens and dining rooms) to accommodate the increased numbers of children
- the staffing issue of extra hands or additional hours for existing catering staff
- the procurement of nutritious food
Kevin Morgan is an advocate for food sustainability and has contributed to the latest Welsh Government report on embedding sustainability into food procurement: Buying Food Fit for the Future.
Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund
CIPR is partnering with the Cardiff Capital Region to develop and deliver a Challenge Fund. The purpose of the CCR Challenge Fund programme is to create commercial opportunities for companies, who are invited to propose solutions to major societal challenges identified through a competitive process by public bodies. The £10m Challenge Fund programme will run over three and a half years and includes £2m provision for research, management and operational activities that will be undertaken by CIPR in partnership with the CCR.
The Challenge Fund programme offers an opportunity for CU researchers to shape and develop a challenge fund initiative, undertaking primary research that informs the development of new policy and practice in the operation and delivery of the fund, while inputting to the practical application of research that contributes to public services innovation. This builds on the previous work of CIPR’s co-convenors and anticipates future opportunities as challenge funds are increasingly part of policy approaches to economic development and innovation.
The Sustainable Production and Supply of Food Challenge
Our current Food Challenge builds upon CIPR's work in food-related areas, and Professor Kevin Morgan is featured in our video introducing the challenge.
Innovation of Future Public Services (Infuse)
Infuse is an innovation and research programme designed to build skills and capacity for public services across the Cardiff Capital Region.
Funded by Wales European Funding Office European Social Fund, Infuse is a collaboration between Cardiff University, Y Lab, Nesta, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Office and the ten local authorities that make up the region.
The programme will be built around opportunities to tackle real-life questions, driven by the biggest challenges faced by the region.
Innovation for All
Challenge-oriented innovation and a mission approach to innovation and economic development are emerging as important areas in innovation policy but practical experience of these remains limited.
CIPR has been awarded funding to launch a series of Innovation for All workshops to build capacity and capability of challenge-orientated innovation in the Cardiff Capital Region and to raise awareness of how much public service/charities/third sector can benefit from this approach.
CIPR and the School of Engineering are partnering with the University of Nottingham on a new project to investigate the potential of ammonia to fuel and decarbonise the long-haul shipping industry, and to boost the UK’s powertrain sector.
The £5.5m EPSRC-funded MariNH3 project aims to develop new and disruptive engine technology that will one day cut pollution emitted by today’s diesel-powered marine vessels.
The five-year MariNH3 programme will explore retrofit engine technology solutions that can address issues around engine efficiency, with minimised end energy use and reduced pollution.
As a group, the MariNH3 consortium firmly believe a mix of technologies will be required for the most effective decarbonisation of marine as there is no “silver bullet” fuel or technology to get to Net Zero. However, green ammonia is set to play a key role in marine’s decarbonisation efforts.
Professor of Organizational Analysis
- +44 (0)29 2087 6644
Head of the School of Geography and Planning
- +44 (0)29 2087 5388
Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies, Professor of Marketing and Innovation
- +44 (0) 29 2087 6886
Research Associate, Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund
- +44 (0)29 2251 1869
Pro-Dean for Research, Impact and Innovation
Professor of Organisation and Innovation Analysis
- +44 (0)29 2087 6385
Professor of Finance and Investment, Deputy Head of Section for Research, Impact and Innovation
- +44 (0)29 2251 0880
Lecturer in Management, Employment and Organisation
- +44 (0)29 2087 6736
Professor in Logistics and Operations Management
- +44 (0)29 2087 6081
Lecturer in Innovation and Organisation
- +44 (0)29 2087 6928
Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Series Workshop 1- 18 March 2021 Session 1 - Professor Andrew Johnston Session 2 - Dr Daniel Prokop Session 3 - Professor Michael Fritsch and team
Session 4 - Dr Katharina Scheidgen and Ms Michaela Hruskova
Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Series Workshop 2 - 25 March 2021 Session 1 - Dr Rhiannon Pugh Session 2 - Dr Ben Spigel Session 3 - Professor Shiri Breznitz Session 4 - Professor Robert Huggins Professor Piers Thompson
The future of skills in the fourth industrial revolution (Virtual Summer School 2022)
It is widely believed that digital disruption is transforming all aspects of the economy and society. This disruption is seen to be driven by advances across interdisciplinary fields leading to technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, additive manufacturing, synthetic biology, smart materials, etc.
This session explores different interpretations of the fourth industrial revolution and the role of digital technologies in (re)shaping the future of work, education, and labour markets. Professor Brown presents a theory of ‘job scarcity’ rather than ‘labour scarcity’, which does not signal the end of work, but the need for a fundamental reassessment of current public policy.
Innovation in procurement and supply chain management (Virtual Summer School 2022)
‘Innovation is the new quality’ – it seems that innovation is mentioned in almost every strategy document or values statement. If you are a procurement professional or a supplier, what does innovation mean to you?
During this session, Jane and Oishee outline some of the enablers and barriers to drive more innovation in Wales.
In an interview with Business News Wales, Professor Rick Delbridge discussed the reinvigorated focus on innovation both in Wales and as part of the UK’s Research and Development initiatives.
As an input to these debates, the Centre for Innovation Policy Research recently undertook a review of current innovation policy in Wales. This revealed an appetite for a more ambitious and inclusive innovation agenda. What do these developments imply for Wales and how is Cardiff University responding to these?