The Midlands Engine Economic Observatory

Within the Midlands Engine Vision for Growth our partners committed to create an economic observatory to help us focus our efforts and resources across our strategic programme of activities.

The partnership will focus on delivering economic analysis and build on our knowledge of opportunities, both now and into the future, developing a comprehensive view of what the Midlands could look like in 2030 and what we need to do to get there.

The Midlands Engine Executive and Operating Boards have tasked the observatory to deliver two flagship pieces of analysis to ensure we can effectively raise productivity in the Midlands:

  • An Independent Economic Review
  • A region-based sector assessment of the potential impact of Brexit

The Midlands Engine Economic Observatory will also support the work of our strategic programme groups including trade and investment, skills, innovation and enterprise and shaping places, providing a strong evidence base for submissions to government.

Visit the Midlands Engine Observatory

The Partnership

The Midlands Economic Observatory is a partnership led by City-REDI at the University of Birmingham.

The observatory is a pan regional centre, ensuring balance across the region, with the University of Birmingham representing the network of Midlands Innovation Universities and Nottingham Trent University representing the Midlands Enterprise Universities

We are supported by the Black Country Consortium, SQW and Cambridge Econometrics to create a strong platform of collaboration combining academic rigour and cutting edge research.

The approach establishes a long term infrastructure which, as well as delivering high quality economic research, will create a proactive partnership increasing access to funding for research, evaluation and policy development in the future. 

The Midlands region is already home to a variety of economic observatory bodies and economic intelligence units. The Midlands Engine observatory, through its partnership approach, will build on these strengths, and complement rather than duplicate current research.

Independent Economic Review

The Midlands Engine Observatory has delivered the first Independent Economic Review (IER) ever undertaken for our region. Completed in February 2020, the IER is the result of a year-long, detailed analysis of the whole Midlands economy, delivered by leading economists and academics, together with in-depth insight from over 50 of our region’s businesses.

The IER is a powerful resource for Government, policymakers, investors and wider stakeholders as we work together to address the challenges and progress the Midlands Engine’s important growth agenda.

The IER and its underpinning evidence base is supplemented by many stand-alone pieces of research, including:

  • An economic profile for each of the nine Midlands Engine Local Enterprise Partnership areas
  • Economic growth scenarios for the Midlands
  • An analysis of public sector funding across the Midlands
  • An overview of the forecast impact of Brexit on the Midlands
  • Qualitative study from interviews with Midlands Engine based businesses, on economic growth barriers and opportunities
  • A study on the rationale for pan-Midlands interventions
  • The economic context has changed considerably in the short time since the completion of this work. The Observatory is working with partners to provide an addendum to this report (expected autumn 2020) to reflect this.

View and download the reports. 

COVID-19 Economic Impact Monitoring

Academic Insights

The Role of University STEM Assets in Improving Local Firm Performance and Local Economic Growth
Dr Chloe Billing, Dr Pei-Yu Yuan, Dr Carolin Ioramashvili, Dr Juliane Schwarz, Dr Magda Cepeda Zorrilla, and Professor Simon Collinson, February 2023

Economic Inactivity and Employment: the over 50s
Professor Anne Green, February 2023

An Early Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022
Dr Matthew Lyons, January 2023

The Role of the University in Enhancing Creative Clusters
Dr James Davies, January 2023

The Importance of Examining Labour Market Flows
Rebecca Riley, January 2023

The Birmingham Economic Review 2022
Kelvin Humphreys, January 2023

Homelessness in the West Midlands Prediction Tool
Maryna Ramcharan, January 2023

R&D Workforce and Skills
Dr Kostas Kollydas, January 2023

Job Flexibility: Opportunities for the Midlands Engine
Abigail Taylor, March 2022

A ‘Just Transition’ towards ‘Green jobs’
Alice Pugh, March 2022

Infrastructure: Connecting Places
Ben Britain, March 2022

Regional patterns of Graduate mobility
Kostas Kollydas, March 2022

The Economic Impact of Brexit and Covid-19 on the Midlands Automotive Sector
Raquel Ortega-Argiles, March 2022

Regional R&D and Innovation
Simon Collinson, March 2022

Funder/client: Midlands Engine
Timescale: Ongoing


Rebecca RileyProject lead: Rebecca Riley
Tel: 0121 414 4366