Ways to reduce social inequality in the West Midlands and boost productivity will be researched thanks to an £800,000 research project, led by Warwick Business School with WMG at the University of Warwick, and City-REDI at the University of Birmingham.
WMG and Warwick Business School from the University of Warwick and City-REDI at the University of Birmingham will examine the factors that constrain firm-level innovation and productivity across the region, with a particular focus on the role of skills shortages, the importance of supply chains and impacts of foreign direct investment.
They will also work in collaboration with regional stakeholders, including the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Midlands Engine, five Local Enterprise Partnerships and private sector firms including Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin. More widely, the project will connect with the CBI - building on their recent productivity work- the Chambers of Commerce, TUC and Unite.
As well as contributing to the local industrial strategy the research team will examine trade-offs between policies and practices which target improvements in productivity against other development goals.
In particular, understanding how productivity improvements and related policies can contribute to inclusive growth which reduces inequalities within and across regions, or heighten such inequalities is a central aim of the research.
“This is an exciting project that will look to feed into the region’s industrial strategy. The West Midlands is known as the manufacturing hub of the UK, but it needs to build on this reputation, attracting more investment and more jobs to the area, particularly with the threat of BRexit looming.
This project has three stands: researching regional Differences, skills and inclusive growth, plus investigating investment decisions, foreign investment and trade; and finally evaluating analytics enabled supply chains and operational productivity.”
Professor Janet Godsell of WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“For over 25 years it has been recognised that supply chains compete and not individual companies, but the focus has remained on company productivity. This project provides an opportunity to create a step change in productivity, by working with end-to-end supply chains supporting the regions automotive and infrastructure sectors, to improve end-to-end supply chain productivity.”
Director of City-REDI and project lead for Birmingham, Professor Simon Collinson, said:
“I am very pleased to be working with our partners at Warwick University on a project that is so critical to the future economic well-being of the region. The UK lags behind other countries in terms of average productivity and the West Midlands lags behind the UK average. But we cannot focus on productivity in isolation of other challenges. By contributing to a reduction in social inequality, alongside promoting economic growth, we are continuing the legacy of the University of Birmingham as a long-standing anchor institution in the Birmingham city-region.”
Professor Anne Green from City-REDI said “The foci of the research at City-REDI on skills and inclusive growth issues is in line with key concerns with regional policy makers.”
For more information or interviews, please contact: Hasan Salim Patel, Communications Manager (Arts, Law and Social Sciences) on +44 (0) 121 415 8134 or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
Alice Scott, Media Relations Manager – Science, University Of Warwick Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
NOTES TO EDITORS
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WMG is a world leading research and education group transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes.
As an international role model for successful partnerships between academia and the private and public sectors, WMG develops advancements nationally and globally, in applied science, technology and engineering, to deliver real impact to economic growth, society and the environment.
WMG‘s education programmes focus on lifelong learning of the brightest talent, from the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, undergraduate and postgraduate, through to professional programmes.
An academic department of the University of Warwick, and a centre for the HVM Catapult, WMG was founded by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing and improve competitiveness through innovation and skills development.
Warwick Business School is the largest department of the University of Warwick with its Full-time MBA ranked number one in the UK by The Economist and its Distance Learning MBA ranked the best in the world by the Financial Times. WBS is triple-accredited by the leading global business education associations and was the first in the UK to attain this accreditation. Offering the full portfolio of business education courses, from undergraduate through to MBAs, DBAs and Executive Diplomas, and with a strong Doctoral Programme, WBS is the complete business school. Its Dean, Professor Andy Lockett, has a worldwide reputation in the fields of strategy and entrepreneurship, with leading technology executives voting him one of the world’s top 100 professors in the field, while he was also identified as one of the top 50 Technology Innovation Management scholars in the world.
Based at the University of Birmingham, City REDI is a research institute focused on developing an academic understanding of major city regions across the globe to develop practical policy which better informs and influences regional and national economic growth policies.
About The University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.