Levelling Up

This page showcases City-REDI / WMREDI's research on Levelling Up.  

The UK is one of the most centralised and regionally unequal countries in the developed world.

The UK government aims to spread opportunity, improve productivity and capacity to create wealth and reduce inequalities within and between regions. 

A Levelling Up white paper was released on 2nd February 2022 setting out how the government plans to achieve this. 


Levelling Up

Our research encompasses different themes crucial to understanding and analysing levelling up policy and monitoring progress with regard to implementation. It includes skills and labour markets, firms and industrial demography, regional innovation systems, local and regional economic development, regional society and communities, and governance and institutional arrangements.

It offers insights for levelling up policy from a local, regional, national and international perspective.

An international perspective is provided through recent research with the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) identifying lessons for levelling up from the experiences of four international city-regions trying to address regional inequalities: Fukuoka (Japan), Leipzig (Germany), Cleveland (USA) and Nantes (France). Based on policy analysis and interviews conducted with policymakers, academics and third sector workers in the four city-regions that have progress in reducing regional inequalities, the findings aim to assess what "levelling up" looks like in a broad context, while providing evidence-based guidance to support future policy design and implementation. The final project report identifies lessons for addressing regional inequalities from across the case study places. 

Research Team

Simon Collinson, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Engagement Director of the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM REDI) and City-REDI. 

John Goddard, Professor of University and Cities, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Anne Green, Professor of Regional Economic Development, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Dr Charlotte Hoole, Research Fellow, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Dr Abigail Taylor, Research Fellow, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Ben Brittain, Policy and Data Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

George Bramley, Senior Policy and Data Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Alice Pugh, Policy and Data Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Hannes Read, Policy and Data Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Rebecca Riley, Administrative Director, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Josh Swan, Policy and Data Analyst, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

Publications and Reports

Work with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy

Investing in infrastructure – enabling fairer growth
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and City-REDI / WMREDI, March 2022. (Scroll down the CIPFA page to view)

Investing in regional equality – lessons from four cities
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and City-REDI / WMREDI, February 2022.

Investing in regional equality – lessons from four cities: Metrics and a framework for designing effective policies
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and City-REDI / WMREDI, February 2022. 

Levelling Up. What is it and can it work? 

Levelling Up. What is it and can it work?
Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up (CEILUP) at the University of West London. Contribution from Dr Abigail Taylor called "How can the UK learn from international experience to level up? Drawing on research from the Industrial Strategy Council", January 2022. 


This research aims to identify institutional and organisational arrangements at the regional level that tend to lead to the 'good' management of policy trade-offs associated with increasing productivity, and to make recommendations to policymakers based on this. Visit our project page

LIPSIT Delivering Levelling-Up Report
LIPSIT project, September 2021. 

Achieving Levelling-Up: The Structures and Processes Needed
LIPSIT project, 2020 

Industrial Strategy Council

Supported by Professor Anne Green, Dr Abigail Taylor contributed to three projects examining skills investment in the UK and how the UK system compares to international skills systems, the process of developing Local Industrial Strategies and international evidence on effective place-based interventions. View our project page

What does it take to “level up” places?
Dr Abigail Taylor, Skye Sampson and Anna Romaniuk, January 2021.

Devolution and Governance Structures in the UK: Lessons from Evidence
Regan A., Quinn M., Romaniuk A., Sampson S., Stratton T., Brittain B. and Taylor A, 2021

Midlands Engine Observatory

Providing the latest data and research for our region. View our project page

Mapping the architecture of economic development policy and strategy across the Midlands Engine pan-region
Nottingham Trent University, IREP, GREEN, A., ROSSITER, W. , TAYLOR, A., HOOLE, C., RILEY, R., KARAGOUNIS, K. and PUGH, A., 2021

Geographical scales and functions: the case of the Midlands Engine
Report prepared for the Midlands Engine Independent Economic Review by Green A. and Rossiter W, 2019

West Midlands Economic Impact Monitor

The West Midlands Economic Impact Monitor brings together data and intelligence from the WMREDI partnership into one single source which can be shared and utilised in planning and responding to the challenge of the virus. It discusses emerging issues relating to Levelling Up and summarises key data and intelligence.



For further information please contact: 

Anne Green, Professor of Regional Economic Development, City-REDI/ WMREDI


Addressing Regional Inequalities
City-REDI Blog, Abigail Taylor, January 2022

Haldane Dog; The Complexity of Government and the Lack of Spatial Awareness
City-REDI blog, Rebecca Riley, 11 August 2022

Fewer Firms are Created in UK Regions Outside London and the South-East

City-REDI Blog, Huanjia Ma and Simon Collinson, 31 March 2022

Other Countries Have Made Progress in Levelling Up – Here’s How the UK’s Plan Compares

City-REDI Blog, Abigail Taylor, 17 February 2022

Levelling Up: Four Problems With Boris Johnson’s Flagship Project
City-REDI Blog, Simon Collinson, 15 February 2022

The Levelling Up White Paper is Here – Some Challenges and Key Points to Welcome
City-REDI Blog, Anne Green, Abigail Taylor, Simon Collinson, 10 February 2022

University R&D and Innovation Are Essential to Government Ambitions for Levelling Up
City-REDI blog, Simon Collinson, 8 February 2022

New Report: What Is Levelling Up and Can It Work?
City-REDI Blog, Abigail Taylor, 3 February 2022

Levelling Up: Lessons From Four Global City-Regions
City-REDI Blog, Abigail Taylor, 1 February 2022

Levelling Up Through Innovation
City-REDI blog, Simon Collinson, 9 December 2021

Combining Growth and Levelling Up in UK Regions: How Universities and the Social Sciences Can Help
City-REDI blog, Simon Collinson, 10 November 2021

Four propositions for the Much-Anticipated Levelling Up White Paper
City-REDI Blog, Anne Green, Rebecca Riley, Will Rosier, 2 July 2021

International Evidence on Levelling Up
City-REDI Blog, Abigail Taylor, 11 February 2022

Does the Computer say yes to Levelling Up? Will ChatGPT Replace the Policy Wonk?
City-REDI Blog, Rebecca Riley, 15 December 2022

Levelling Up: An Analysis of the Distribution of Funding in Round Two
City-REDI Blog, Alice Pugh, 3 February 2023

Levelling Up: An Analysis of the Distribution of Funding in Round One
City-REDI Blog, Alice Pugh, 6 February 2023

“I Blame the Green Book”- Why has Guidance Become the Scape Goat of Public Funding Decisions like Levelling Up?
City-REDI Blog, Rebecca Riley, 20 February 2023

Levelling Up So Far: Has Funding Gone to Areas Most in Need?
City-REDI Blog, Alice Pugh, 21 February 2023

The Devil and the Detail: The Two Things Hiding Behind the UK Levelling Up Fund
City-REDI Blog, Hannes Read, 22 February 2023

Press Coverage

R&D investment in left-behind regions is not a levelling-up panacea, Simon Collinson, April 2022

Liam O’Farrell was featured in the Japanese Local Government Centre newsletter in relation to a recent City-REDI / CIPFA report on Levelling Up. 

Levelling up lessons: how to make regional development work
Global Government Forum, March 2022

Invest in infrastructure to stimulate regional growth, says new report
Infrastructure Intelligence, March 2022

How the UK can learn from European neighbours to drive levelling up through infrastructure
New Civil Engineer, March 2022

The UK makes a start — but only a start — at levelling up
The Financial Times, February 2022


Investing in regional equality – lessons from four cities
What does it take to "level up" places? - Dame Kate Barker
What does it take to "level up" places? - Gavin Wallis
What does it take to "level up" places? - Professor Meelis Kitsing
What does it take to "level up" places? - Dr Thomas Perrin
What does it take to "level up" places? - Professor Philip McCann

WMREDI is funded by Research England and the WMREDI partnership

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