Our People

Academic team - Professors

Professor Simon Collinson

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement and Director of City-REDI and WMREDI

Find out more about Simon

Simon is Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (DPVC) leading on Regional Engagement at the University of Birmingham, and Director of the City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) and at Birmingham Business School, where he was Dean 2012-2016. He is also the Director of the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WMREDI) which launched in February 2020. He has held various roles, including: Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, member of the ESRC Council and the GBS Chamber of Commerce Council.

In his DPVC role, Simon leads on regional and civic engagement at the University, including its contribution in a ‘place-based’ industrial strategy. His research and consulting focuses on multinational firms, productivity, innovation, competitiveness and regional economic growth. As well as publishing in leading journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, Organisation Studies and Business History his research has featured in the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC Radio 4, and the New Statesman. 

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John Goddard OBE

Professor of Universities and Cities

Find out more about John 

John Goddard is Professor of Universities and Cities at City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) and the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WMREDI) at the University of Birmingham. John is also the Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University where he was founding director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and subsequently Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for civic engagement.

John is an international expert on the role of universities in city and regional development and co-author of two major publication on The University and the City and The Civic University. He has acted as an advisor to the OECD, the European Commission, city and regional governments and individual universities across the UK and overseas. Most recently he has been Vice Chair of the UK Civic University Commission.

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Anne Green

Professor of Regional Economic Development

Find out more about Anne

Anne Green joined the University of Birmingham as Professor of Regional Economic Development in June 2017. Her research interests span employment, non-employment, regional and local labour market issues, skills strategies, urban and rural development, migration and commuting, associated policy issues and evaluation.

She has published in high profile journals and has written numerous reports for UK Government Departments and agencies. Anne is experienced in disseminating the results of her research to academic, policy and practitioner audiences.

View Anne's full profile

Anne Green

Rebecca Riley

Associate Professor for Enterprise, Engagement and Impact 

Find out more about Rebecca

Rebecca joined City-REDI as Administrative Director in September 2015, leading on the strategic direction of the Institute especially in relation to consultancy work and partnership development.

She is currently an Associate Professor for Enterprise, Engagement and Impact at the University of Birmingham.

She brings with her experience in the private consultancy sector providing the Idox Information Service to clients across the higher education, local government and national policy sectors. Prior to this she was Head of Research at the Northwest Regional Development Agency and led a regional economic observatory, providing the evidence base for regional, local and policy specific strategies and programmes.

She has managed over 200 projects across all local government policy areas, designing, advising, commissioning, collaborating and delivering research services. Her focus has been on regional and local economic intelligence and analysis services, forecasting and skills. 

She recently completed a secondment at the West Midlands Combined Authority as the Head of Research and Office for Data Analytics. 

View Rebecca's Full Profile

 

Rebecca Riley

Academic team - Researchers

Dr Chloe Billing

 Research Fellow

Chloe is currently on maternity leave.

Find out more about Chloe

Chloe joined the City-REDI team in November 2016 as a Research Fellow, working on the Urban Living Birmingham Project. She is responsible for undertaking a detailed review of end-user and open innovation to explore its application to urban services. This is based on the understanding that service reform in many fast growth and highly innovative private sector firms is driven by the application of new approaches to innovation.

Chloe has recently completed her PhD in Economic Geography at the University of Birmingham, which explored the competiveness, organisation and governance of the UK satellite industry. She also has experience with teaching within the Geography department and Birmingham Business School. 

Chloe is currently on maternity leave.

View Chloe's full profile

Chloe Billing

Dr Magda Cepeda Zorrilla

Research Fellow

Find out more about Magda

Magda joined the City-REDI team as a Researcher in February 2019. She has a background in Sustainability and Transport and holds a PhD in Transport from the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Her main lines of research are related to the study of the factors that influence individuals’ travel choices and particularly focusing on the strategies to make travel choices more sustainable. In particular, she has experience using qualitative and quantitative methods such as questionnaire surveys, interviews and focus groups and multivariate statistical analysis techniques. She has previously worked as Research Assistant for the University of Leeds contributing to the analysis of the role of positive incentives to change travel behaviour and encourage the use of more active travel choices. Some of the topics she has recently studied are the psychosocial aspects of modal choice and the use of social marketing techniques to segment the population and tailor transport interventions. Her current line of research is related to the economic impact of transport infrastructure and skills profile and public transport access.

Magda is currently on maternity leave.

View Magda's full profile

 

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Dr James Davies

Research Fellow

Find out more about James

James Davies joined City-REDI in November 2021 as a Research Fellow. His work is focused on the regional impacts of creative clusters, with particular interest given to the interactions between the clusters themselves, and higher education institutions both in and around them. The project aims to use the creative clusters in the West Midlands and Cardiff City Region as a basis for comparison. His research interests centre around the Creative and Cultural Industries, including creative industry employment and recruitment, organisational change and fragmentation, negotiation of industrial boundaries and processes of recruitment.

James completed his PhD in labour market entry in the UK TV industry at Cardiff University in 2021. His research, funded by an ESRC scholarship, explores the patterns of recruitment and labour market entry through the accounts of young and recent freelance workers in UK TV. James has an MSc, also from Cardiff University, in which he explored the viability of crowdfunding business models for artists in the music industry, from the perspective of those who contributed. Additionally, James taught undergraduate tutorials in Cardiff Business School on the institution’s Business and Management course.

View James' LinkedIn Profile

 


Dr Sara Hassan

Research Fellow

Sara is currently on maternity leave. 

Find out more about Sara

Sara Hassan is a Research Fellow at City-REDI with a strong multidisciplinary background: a Doctorate in Urban Transport Planning, a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Landscape and a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering. Her research and teaching interests include a focus on urban and transport planning by developing innovative policy evaluation models and policy reform issues, policy analysis and how it impacts poor and marginalised communities, community development and urban planning. She also researches in the area of local economic development, migration and commuting. Her recent projects include £3.45 million ERDF funded project USE-IT! Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together looking at Urban Poverty in Birmingham. She has broad experience in teaching, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including courses on urban and regional planning, urban regeneration, urban design and transport planning. 

 

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Dr Charlotte Hoole

Research Fellow

Find out more about Charlotte

Charlotte returned to City-REDI as a Research Fellow in October 2019 to work as a Co-Investigator on the project ‘Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs’ (LIPSIT), funded by the ESRC. After completing her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning in March 2018, Charlotte won an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie broadly within urban and regional studies, with a specific focus on sub-national policy and governance structures. Her most recent work in this area has focused on the geopolitics involved in region-building and the role of spatial imaginaries in promoting new growth models. 

Charlotte is currently on maternity leave. 

View Charlotte's full profile

 

Charlotte Hoole

Dr Carolin Ioramashvili

Research Fellow

Carolin is currently on maternity leave.

Find out more about Carolin

Carolin joined City-REDI in August 2021 as a Research Fellow. She is currently contributing to the “Regional innovation systems” WMREDI research theme. Her research interests include regional economics, labour economics and innovation studies.

Carolin completed her PhD in economic geography at the London School of Economics. Her research, which was funded by an ESRC scholarship, explores drivers of income inequality between regions of the UK. During her PhD she worked as a research assistant at the LSE and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She also taught undergraduate classes in the department of geography and environment at the LSE. Previously, she worked as a consultant in London, where she gained experience in policy evaluation for local and national government departments.

 

Carolin Ioramashvili

Dr Konstantinos Kollydas

Research Fellow

Find out more about Kostas

Kostas is a Research Fellow who joined City-REDI in May 2021. He is an applied economist, and his research fields lie broadly in labour economics and economics of education. He is currently involved in the “Skills and labour market” WMREDI research theme.

Kostas has completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Bath. His thesis explored discrepancies in performance and progression in the UK universities between students from different ethnic backgrounds and investigated ethnic pay inequalities amongst graduates in the British labour market. During his PhD years, he was also engaged in a Local Skills Analysis research project to inform the development of an economic policy strategy in regional labour markets. He also has experience in teaching Econometrics at the undergraduate level. Kostas has previously held positions in the private sector, working for eight years in market research and management consultancy firms in Greece. 

 


Huanjia Ma

Research Fellow

Find out more about Huanjia

Huanjia joined the City-REDI team in February 2022 as a Research Fellow. He is currently involved in Socio-Economic Impact Model for the UK (SEIM-UK model). He also contributes to projects on regional economic development and inclusive growth.

Huanjia has recently completed PhD in Economics from the University of Birmingham. He is an applied economist specialising in panel data and causal inference. His PhD thesis studies household and firm behaviours in China by applying various quantitative tools. His broad research interest lies in the field of financial economics, regional economics and political economics.

View Huanjia's LinkedIn Profile 

 

Huanjia Ma

Dr Matt Lyons

Research Fellow

Find out more about Matt

Matt Lyons joined the City-REDI team in May 2021 as a Research Fellow. He is responsible for developing the team’s regional economic modelling capabilities whilst supporting projects across WMREDI. Additionally, he will contribute to research in the creative industries. 

He is an economic geographer with a specialism in regional economic development. Matt’s PhD describes the extent to which the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal can address the economic development problems of South East Wales through a focus on the creative economy. Matt is due to complete his PhD at Cardiff University in 2021. He holds an MSc in Social Science Research Methods from Cardiff University and a BSc in Economics from the University of Plymouth. He has consulted on research projects across various areas, from healthcare inequalities to monetary systems reform.


Dr Fengjie Pan

Productivity Research Fellow

Find out more about Fengjie

Fengjie joined the City-REDI team in 2019, working on the Productivity and Prosperity: Inclusive Growth for the West Midlands project. She is responsible for identifying local factors that underlie and explain regional differences in productivity, with a focus on mismatches between the supply of and demand for specific skills. This is based on prior research which identifies lags in productivity performance at the national and regional levels and the significance of internal skills gaps and external skills shortages. Fengjie has recently completed her PhD in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, which explored the knowledge sharing and co-creation in service innovation based on the Knowledge-Intensive Business Services.  She also has experience with technology commercialisation and teaching within Alliance Manchester Business School. 

 

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Annum Rafique

Research Fellow

  • Email: a.rafique@bham.ac.uk

Find out more about Annum

Annum joined City-REDI in March 2022 as a Research Fellow. She is currently contributing to Theme 3. Annum identifies herself as an environmental economist, and her research interests lie in regional economics, environmental efficiency and sustainability. Her recent work focuses on energy efficiency in residential households, where she is working towards reducing the environmental impact due to energy consumption in residential households. She is also working towards assessing energy demand and introducing policy scenarios to increase the uptake of low-carbon technologies to reduce household energy emissions, consumption, and costs. Annum completed her PhD in Economics from Cardiff University, which Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE) funded. Her research focused on dairy farms’ technical and environmental efficiency, and she used benchmarking techniques to identify best practices to improve productivity.

Previously, she worked as a Research Officer at Bangor University, Wales. As part of her previous roles, Annum has had experience in graduate teaching, conducting webinars, workshops and audits.

View Annum's LinkedIn Profile

 

Annum Rafique

Dr Juliane Schwarz

Research Fellow

Find out more about Juliane

Juliane is a Research Fellow who joined City-REDI in October 2018. Her expertise lies in evaluation and impact studies. She predominantly supports a Leverhulme funded project to evaluate the causal impact of Tech Accelerators on Startups. Trained as a social scientist, her contribution covers the qualitative aspect of the research project. She is responsible for the data collections (in-depth interviews), coding and analysis (NVivo) and contributes to the dissemination of the results.

Juliane holds a PhD in Linguistics from Lancaster University and has more than 15 years experiences in managing and conducting research projects. She has contributed to and organised impact evaluation studies for the ESRC, the NHS and NHS Scotland and several private sector organisations. In her previous positions at Aston University and UCAS, she was engaged in research on good practice in education and evaluating the impact of different education policies. She managed a research project on knowledge sharing and management at WBS and several research projects on quality assurance at BCU.

 

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Dr Abigail Taylor

Research Fellow

Find out more about Abigail

Abigail joined City-REDI in October 2018 as a Policy and Data Analyst before becoming a Research Fellow in February 2020. Abigail completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield supervised by the Departments of Geography and French. Her thesis examined the experiences of out-of-work partnered parents in France and the UK contrasting experiences at the micro-two level under two differing national and local contexts to contribute to understandings of how policy affects individual lives and how it can be made more effective. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Abigail worked as a Teaching Associate at Aston University.

Abigail works on a variety of projects at City-REDI. This has included: conducting a Literature Review of Employment Support programmes for the West Midlands Combined Authority, evaluating the Connected Communities Employment Support programme for the West Midlands Combined Authority, and working with the Smart Specialisation Hub to map the value of funding from various public and private sector programmes at LEP level and analyse the challenges and strengths in LEPs’ experiences of applying for external funding. Most recently, Abigail has supported the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory by producing profiles of Midlands Engine LEPs.

Abigail is currently undertaking a 0.5 secondment to the Industrial Strategy Council providing research on three projects examining skills challenges facing the UK and how they might be addressed as well as how the UK system compares to international skills systems, the process of developing Local Industrial Strategies and international evidence on effective place-based interventions. She is particularly interested in employment support policy; regional and local labour markets and skills; and funding strategies. Her research often involves a cross-national focus.

 

Abigail Taylor

Dr Paul Vallance

Research Fellow

Find out more about Paul

Paul Vallance is a Research Fellow on the EUniWell (European University for Well-being) project. He is based in the City Region Economic and Development Institute (City-REDI) in Birmingham Business School. Paul is an experienced researcher with a track record of interdisciplinary academic and policy-focused work. His core area of expertise is urban and regional development. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham in September 2021, Paul held positions in Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and the Regional Studies Association (FeRSA).

 

Paul Vallance

Dr Pei-Yu Yuan

Research Fellow

Find out more about Pei-Yu

Pei-Yu joined City-REDI in May 2021 as a Research Fellow. Pei-Yu completed her PhD at the University of Southampton supervised by the Southampton Business School. Her thesis explores the persistence in innovation behaviour of firms among product, process, organisational and marketing innovation and the complementarity and the substitutability among the four types of innovation. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Pei-Yu worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.

Pei-Yu currently works on two projects at City-REDI. The first project is to conduct a systematic literature review to assess the impact of STEM assets in the West Midlands on the ‘innovation capability’ of local firms and to a provide better explanation of ‘how’ and ‘in what way’ STEM assets generate impact. The second project aims to understand the interactions between government, industry and university by analysing the funded projects of Innovate UK. 

 


Professional Services team


Reen Blake-Carr

Data and Policy Analyst

Find out more about Reen

Reen joined City-REDI in July 2022, as an intern Data and Policy Analyst, after a successful and enjoyable internship, Reen was offered a permanent role as a Data and Policy Analyst within City-REDI. Reen completed his undergraduate degree in BSc Psychology and Criminology at the University of Salford in 2019. He then went on to complete a post-graduate Masters in MSc Computing.

Reen previously worked within the DataLab whilst on his internship. Where he has been building City-REDI’s database, as well as constructing interactive data visualisation dashboards based on economic performance indicators.

View Reen's LinkedIn Profile

 

Reen Blake-Carr

George Bramley

Senior Analyst

Find out more about George

George joined City-REDI as a Senior Analyst in March 2018. George has significant experience in designing, managing and conducting research, evaluations and systematic reviews within government, the private sector and academia. His interests include public service redesign, skills, enterprise and innovation, school improvement and health technology assessment. George’s previous roles include Head of Evaluation at the Small Business Service where he was closely involved in business support simplification, the UK Enterprise Strategy and was the UK Delegate to the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship; Research Director at National Foundation for Educational Research undertaking studies on skills, school improvement, enterprise education and citizenship. Since joining the University of Birmingham, George has been involved in health service redesign and the appraisal of new health technologies including the development of the Medtech Early Technical Assessment tool for NICE Scientific Advice. He has been a member of UK Evaluation Society Council since 2010.

View George's full profile

 

George Bramley

Elizabeth Goodyear

Programme Manager

Find out more about Elizabeth

Elizabeth has worked at the University of Birmingham for 13 years, joining WMREDI as Programme Manager in May 2021.  Her previous roles have included ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Project Manager, REF Support Officer and acting as PA to various members of the Strategic Planning Office Senior Management Team.  Her role will work alongside the Business Development Director to support the whole project delivery, from bid development, contracting, project set up and on-going financial record management.  

View Elizabeth's LinkedIn profile

 


Kelvin Humphreys

Policy and Data Analyst

Find out more about Kelvin

Kelvin joined City-REDI as a Policy and Data Analyst in February 2021.

Before joining City-REDI, Kelvin worked in the planning team of a leading real estate consultancy following the completion of an MSc in Spatial Planning at University College London in 2019.  Kelvin also has over a decade of experience working as an Associate Chartered Management Accountant within the UK and USA manufacturing sectors, where he was responsible for data analysis, financial modelling and performance reporting.

Kelvin interests include strategic planning and development, the regional economy, place-based innovation, and housing.

View Kelvin's LinkedIn profile

 


Sarah Jeffery

Centre Manager

Find out more about Sarah

Sarah joined the City-REDI team in June 2016 as Centre Manager. Upon graduating from the University of Birmingham (BA Hons French Studies) she worked in Retail Management and HR with Boots before returning to the University as a PA in the Department of Economics. She has since moved onto various roles within the University developing a firm knowledge and understanding of the University and the Higher Education sector.

Her role as City-REDI Centre Manager (Projects and Administration) sees her work alongside Stuart to manage the day-to-day activities of the Centre, including staff co-ordination, project and event management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities. 

 

Sarah Jeffery

Ellie MacDonald

Digital Marketing Apprentice

Email: e.macdonald@bham.ac.uk

Find out more about Ellie

Ellie joined the CITY-REDI team in January 2022 as a digital marketing and communications assistant apprentice. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism at The University of Salford, she decided that gaining experience in the marketing sector was her next step. To the role, she brings enthusiasm, experience in video making, tv production, and radio production. Whilst gaining her degree, she learned how to put out a TV news program from a mobile phone, this is something she is most proud of. For her dissertation, she created a two-part radio piece about domestic violence, sourcing, editing, and scripting it from scratch by myself.

Her role will accompany Stuart in the day-to-day running of social media, general marketing, and communications while studying one day a week.

 View Ellie's Linkedin Profile here.

 


Stuart Mitchell

Centre Manager

Email: s.mitchell@bham.ac.uk

For any enquiries about the Centre, please contact Stuart. 

Find out more about Stuart

Stuart joined the City-REDI team in March 2017 as Centre Manager. After graduating from SOAS with an MA in African History, Stuart worked for Unltd, a charity that provides support for social entrepreneurs. He then went travelling around the world for a year before returning to the UK and working for Linking London, a partnership organisation of colleges and higher education institutions in London working in collaboration to maximise its contribution to targeted widening participation, student engagement and success, social mobility and improvements in social justice through education. In 2011, Stuart became the Linking London Office Manager, a wide role encompassing all aspects of Linking London’s work, and helped to grow the partnership to 41 members.

His role as City-REDI Centre Manager (Events and Communications) sees him work alongside Sarah to manage the day-to-day activities of the Centre, including stakeholder communication and centre promotion, staff co-ordination, event organisation, project management and supporting knowledge exchange activities.

 

Stuart Mitchell

Matthew Patterson

Acting Centre Manager

For any enquiries about the Centre, please contact Matt. 

Find out more about Matt

Matt started at City-REDI in August 2019 as an Administration Assistant, and was appointed acting Centre Manager in February 2021.

Following his graduation in Classical Civilisation in 1997 from St Mary’s University College in London, he worked in a number of retail environments, including undertaking Management Training with the John Lewis Partnership.

Between 2004 and 2014 he worked as a Health and Safety Consultant in the Construction Industry, before leaving to take up the role of Centre Manager for the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, situated in Moseley.

Covering for Sarah Jeffery whilst she is on maternity leave, he has taken on her main duties including staff co-ordination, project and event management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities. 

 

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Alice Pugh

Policy and Data Analyst

Find out more about Alice

Alice joined City-REDI in February 2021 as a Policy and Data Analyst. She completed her undergraduate degree in BA Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2019. As part of her undergraduate degree, Alice completed a sandwich year with the Department for Work and Pensions as an Economic Data Analyst, working with big data, creating dashboards and conducting evaluations.  She then went on to complete her postgraduate degree in MA Criminology at the University of Manchester. 

Alice previously worked for City-REDI as a Research Associate on the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory project. She gathered data and reviewed Local Enterprise Partnership Strategies to develop a series of LEP profiles published in March 2020. 

Alice’s areas of interest include Economics, business case strategy support, sustainable economic development, resilience, public policy, inequality, socio-economic crime, drug policy and criminalisation and data visualisation. 

View Alice's LinkedIn profile

 


Maryna Ramcharan

Senior Policy and Data Analyst

Find out more about Maryna

Maryna joined City REDI as a Senior Policy and Data Analyst in May 2022. She will continue working on the set of projects as in her previous role as a Data Analyst at the WMCA in a partnership with WMREDI. Additionally, she will contribute to research on the skills, employment and labour market economy.

Maryna has a PhD in Economic Sciences and a degree in Enterprise Management. After working as a university lecturer in Ukraine she moved to the UK and has worked as a data analyst in the WMCA on a wide range of projects. Her main areas of interest are statistical analysis, data visualisations and applying quantitative research techniques to analyse economics and complex systems with a focus on income inequality, gender disparities, inclusive growth and labour market participation.

View Maryna's LinkedIn Profile

 

Maryna Profile Picture

Hannes Read

Policy and Data Analyst

Find out more about Hannes

Hannes joined City-REDI as a Policy and Data Analyst in February 2021. He has experience working on economic development research projects in local government and with business improvement districts.

Hannes has recently worked at Lancaster City Council actively engaging with the economic recovery and resilience in the response to Covid-19. He has also worked closely on the council’s Community Wealth Building Strategy for sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity.

He has an MA in Local and Regional Development from Newcastle University, where he developed his research interests around inclusive economic development, policy, and place.

View Hannes' LinkedIn Profile