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.

You can view the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory website here

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 main purpose of the Independent Economic Review is to generate evidence and insight that will help raise the productivity of the Midlands and in the process narrow the performance gap with the rest of the country.

It will need to reflect the Midlands’ distinctive competitive strengths and opportunities nationally and internationally and the region’s contribution towards wider national policy imperatives including the Industrial Strategy. 

The Independent Economic Review will:

  • Deliver a robust, intelligent and insightful evidence base across the Midlands Engine geography
  • Provide a credible and convincing pan Midlands economic narrative to support the development of a suite of investment priorities designed to raise the Midlands’ productivity performance
  • Complement, build-on and add value to the extensive evidence base already available
  • Be forward-looking and outward-facing with challenges such as Brexit on the horizon 

The review will report in September 2019. 

Return to the theme page

Funder/client: Midlands Engine
Timescale: Ongoing


Rebecca RileyProject lead: Rebecca Riley
Tel: 0121 414 4366