Professor John Bryson

Professor John Bryson

The Department of Strategy and International Business
Chair in Enterprise and Economic Geography

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

John's research is motivated by a desire to understand and explain the complex ways in which production is organized through space and in place and via a variety of forms of enterprise.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in working with PhD students working on topics that engage with understanding the complex interrelationships between business, or organisations, in place and across space. This includes organisational and individual behaviour.

Research Students since 2001

  • 2008 - Rachel Mulhall, Title – to be confirmed, ESRC
  • 2008 - Valeria Round, Title – to be confirmed, School Scholarship
  • 2008 - Aksel Ersoy, The Effects of Geographical Theories on Promoting Local Economic Development in Turkey,  The Turkish Ministry of National Education
  • 2006 - Sandra Begley, Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Firm Survival: Innovation and the Dynamics of  Temporary Coalitions (School Scholarship)
  • 2005 - Stephen Williams, ‘ICT, Business and Professional Services, and Sustainable Communities’, ESRC/ODPM
  • 2004 - Lindsey Appleyard, Overcoming financial exclusion: Community Development Finance Institutions and the balancing of financial and social objectives (ESRC CASE award with The Aston Reinvestment Trust)
  • 2004 - Olga Arsenova, New Firm Creation and Business Incubation in the West Midlands (ORS, School Scholarship)
  • 2004 - Sunita Dewitt, Geographies of Asian ‘Alternative’ Economic Spaces in the West Midland: understanding enterprise creation, embeddedness and access to finance and advice (ESRC)
  • 2004 - Ahoefa Chantal Hales, Female Entrepreneurship in Senegal, (Self)
  • 2001-2005 - Martin Buttle, Geographies of Ethical Investment (School Studentship)


John R. Bryson (BA (Hons) TCD, PhD Leic., FAcSS, FRGS, FHEA, FeRSA) has held research and teaching posts at the Universities of St Andrews, Cambridge, Wales and most recently at the University of Birmingham where he is Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography. He was Director of the Service and Enterprise Research Unit (SERU) and founder of City-REDI.

An economic geographer whose research focusses on understanding people and organisations in place and space and the ways in which place-based adaptation occurs including understanding barriers and enablers to adaptation. He has made significant contributions to understanding and explaining the complex ways in which production is organized through space and in place and via a variety of forms of enterprise.

Much of his research has focussed on developing an integrated approach to understanding city-regions. This includes research on property development and investment, financialization, infrastructure, knowledge-intensive services, manufacturing adaptation and innovation, alternative forms of innovation including end-user innovation, urban sustainability and resilience, air quality and environmental pollution, productivity, internationalisation, service offshoring and manufacturing reshoring, and innovation systems. One of his cross-cutting research interests including understanding rapid adaptation during times of disruptive and radical change. This includes citizen-led end-user innovation and the development of alternative solutions in response to private and public sector failure. This includes research on responsible citizenship and the role that responsible citizens can play in overcoming local infrastructure failure. It also includes a focus on resilience and the management of resilience.



Other activities

Head of society, economy and environment research group


Recent publications


Bryson, JR & Andres, L 2020, 'COVID-19 and Rapid Adoption and Improvisation of Online Teaching: Curating Resources for Extensive versus Intensive Online Learning Experiences', Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 10.1080/03098265.2020.1807478

Andres, L, Bryson, JR, Stevens, SD, Bakare, H, du Toit, K & Melgaço , L 2020, 'Calling for responsible inclusive planning and healthy cities in Africa', Town Planning Review, vol. 0, pp. 1-7.

Bryson, J & Vanchan, V 2020, 'Covid-19 and Alternative Conceptualisations of Value and Risk in GPN Research', Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie.

Bryson, J, Andres, L & Davies, A 2020, 'Covid-19, virtual church services and a new temporary geography of home', Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, vol. 111, no. 3, pp. 360-372.

Green, A, Sevinc, D, Bryson, J, Collinson, S, Riley, B & Adderley, S 2020, 'Ensuring skills are available in the right locations: are we there yet? A regional analysis of qualification gaps', Regional Studies.

Gardner, E & Bryson, J 2020, 'The dark side of the industrialisation of accountancy: innovation, commoditization, colonization and competitiveness', Industry and Innovation.

Ersoy, A, Bryson, J & Van Burren, E 2020, 'Unlocking values through infrastructure interdependencies', Infrastructure Asset Management, vol. 7, no. 2, 1800029, pp. 134-143.

Billing, C & Bryson, J 2019, 'Heritage and satellite manufacturing: firm-level competitiveness and the management of risk in global production networks', Economic Geography, vol. 95, no. 5, pp. 423-441.

Salder, J & Bryson, J 2019, 'Placing entrepreneurship and firming small town economies: manufacturing firms, adaptive embeddedness, survival and linked enterprise structures', Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, vol. 31, no. 9-10, pp. 806-825.

Andres, L, Bakare, H, Bryson, J, Khaemba, W, Melgaco Silva Marques, L & Mwaniki, G 2019, 'Planning, temporary urbanism and citizen-led alternative-substitute place-making in the Global South', Regional Studies.

Bryson, J, Mulhall, R, Song, M, Loo, B, Dawson, RJ & Rogers, C 2018, 'Alternative-substitute business models and the Provision of Local Infrastructure: Alterity as a Solution to Financialization and Public-Sector Failure ', Geoforum, vol. 95, pp. 25 - 34.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Bryson, J, Vanchan, V & Zhou, S 2020, Reshoring and Rightshoring versus Offshoring and the Reduction of Risk in Global Supply Chains and Production Networks. in C Berry, J Froud & T Barker (eds), The Political Economy of Industrial Strategy in the UK . Agenda Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Bryson, J 2018, Artificial intelligence and the transformation of production and work: towards inclusive prosperity? in C Berry (ed.), What we really mean when we talk about Industrial Strategy. Future Economies, London, pp. 36-39. <>

Book/Film/Article review

Bryson, J 2019, 'Interplaces: An Economic Geography of the Inter-urban and International Economies, Nicholas A. Phelps, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 357 pp. 2017, £55.00 (hardback), (ISBN: 9780199668229); £44.00 (e-Book), (ISBN: 0199668221).', Eurasian Geography and Economics.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Bryson, J & Gardner, E 2019, Business Services. in A Kobayashi (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. vol. 1, Elsevier, pp. 397.

View all publications in research portal


Entrepreneurship and enterprise; local and regional economic development; manufacturing; labour market and skills; service economy; business and professional services; design; competitiveness, financial services including community development finance institutions (CDFIs); knowledge economy; small and medium sized firms

Media experience

John is an experienced media commentator on a range of issues relatong to the regional and national economic situation.

Related media experts

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office


John Bryson is an expert on city-regions including economic activity, competitiveness of firms, innovation ecosystems and finance and funding of local infrastructure:

  • Integrated or systematic approaches to understanding city-regions including air quality.
  • Place and the competitiveness of manufacturing and service firms.
  • Finance and funding of local infrastructure including property development and investment 

Policy experience

John Bryson regularly provides analysis to city-regions throughout the UK and Europe and has advised Whitehall departments and the European Commission. He also writes a regular series of blogs about matters related to city-regions.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office