Our Research

For over half a century, the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) has been the UK’s leading centre for transdisciplinary research on sub-national, urban and local governance.

Building on our rich history of research addressing the institutional and political life of local government and public management, our research now reaches beyond these traditional structures and actors to address governance, democracy, leadership, participation, policy-making and service delivery at and across multiple scales and issues.

Our vibrant international research community of early-career and established researchers help to address a range of important global challenges through work on sustainable mobility, institutional design and digitisation. Our engaged scholarship is theoretically-driven, and demonstrates a commitment to methodological pluralism, with particular strengths in qualitative, collaborative and participative approaches.

Our research is published extensively in the leading journals in the field, including Urban Studies, Political Studies, Public Administration Review, Governance, Policy Sciences, Policy & Politics, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Environment and Planning C, and Evidence & Policy. Our researchers have also published a series of influential and highly-cited research monographs and edited collections on topics including institutionalism, policy ideas and design, and sustainability transitions. INLOGOV is also the home to the leading interdisciplinary journal, Local Government Studies.

INLOGOV’s research has been supported by funders including: the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Urban Europe, and the British Academy.

INLOGOV also play a vital role in a range of cross-University initiatives, such as the Public Service Academy, Birmingham Leadership Institute, and the Institute for Global Innovation.

Find out more about our latest research by browsing our academic and doctoral researcher profiles.

Research themes and questions

INLOGOV’s research spans four key themes: 

  • Governance, institutional design and leadership
  • Co-production, democratic and social innovation, and inclusion  
  • Policy-making, implementation and service delivery
  • Smart, sustainable and creative approaches to policy challenges 

We seek to ask and address critical questions such as:

  • How can we design more inclusive and democratic governance?
  • How can we ensure that smart technology serves us rather than be serviced by us?
  • How can we understand the policy-making and leadership roles of those involved in delivering public services?

Commissioned research and evaluation

INLOGOV provides advice and support to local authorities and other related organisations based upon our extensive research and understanding of the practical challenges faced by officers, members and professionals in the field of local governance and public management. We work with organisations to apply our research understanding, helping clients search out new and innovative solutions to complex problems and issues.

We are regularly invited to present our research-led thinking at national and regional events bringing innovative, unbiased and independent perspectives on the key issues faced by local authorities.

To find out more, or to have an informal discussion on how we may be able to help contact Sarah Smith, 0121 414 8390 (s.e.smith.2@bham.ac.uk).