Dr Abigail Taylor

Dr Abigail Taylor

Business School
Research Fellow, City-REDI

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
Edgbaston Park Road
B15 2TY

Throughout Abigail’s studies and career, the key thread has been understanding the role of place in social and economic inequalities. Abigail’s research often involves a cross-national focus. She specialises in qualitative research having considerable expertise in semi-structured interviews, case studies, thematic analysis and NVIVO. She has particular experience in conducting research with both policy makers and disadvantaged individuals.

Abigail is passionate about leading and contributing to research and policy analysis that informs and influences regional and national growth policies. She has contributed significantly to engagement and impact through secondments to the Industrial Strategy Council and the Smart Specialisation Hub.

Abigail has an excellent track record of working with stakeholders to produce high quality outputs. Abigail has utilised her leadership and project management skills to deliver projects with the Industrial Strategy Council, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the Youth Futures Foundation, Birmingham City Council and the Midlands Engine.

Abigail has excellent French language skills demonstrated by how she has conducted interviews and literature reviews in French, as part of CIPFA, ISC and the WMREDI Universities, Skills and Strategies projects. This characterises Abigail’s ability to conduct cross-comparative research at local, regional, national and international levels.

Abigail has published a range of high-quality publications. These include a large number of policy reports, briefings, blogs, journal articles and two book chapters. Abigail has hosted and participated in webinars and podcasts discussing research findings.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2885-5452


  • PhD, University of Sheffield (jointly between departments of Geography and French), 2016
  • MA French Studies Research Track, University of Sheffield (Distinction), 2010
  • BA Hons French Studies, University of Sheffield (First Class), 2009
  • Better Business Cases (Practitioner), APMG, 2022
  • Better Business Cases (Foundation), APMG, 2021
  • Prince 2 Foundation and Practitioner. Passed. Axelos. 2019.


This video accompanies a blog and magazine article for REDI updates, an annual magazine for City-REDI/WMREDI.

Abigail has recently completed an 18-month 50% secondment to the Industrial Strategy Council where she investigated the process of developing Local Industrial Strategies and international examples of regions which have successfully levelled up. During her secondment, she contributed to/led three reports examining skills investment in the UK and a comparison of UK system and international skills systems, the process of developing Local Industrial Strategies and international evidence on effective place-based interventions. Abigail has recently completed an 18-month 50% secondment. More details on key outputs including webinar launches with Andy Haldane and Dame Kate Barker for the reports are available.

Other previous projects include:

  • Managing delivery of a project in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) where we produced three reports examining different aspects of regional inequalities. We conducted policy analysis and interviews with policymakers, academics and third sector workers in four global city-regions that have made progress in reducing regional inequalities. We produced case studies of six infrastructure projects across the globe to showcase how alternative systems and approaches can deliver key outcomes to help address regional inequalities. We detailed possible metrics that can be, or are, used to justify, monitor and evaluate the delivery of strategies aimed at addressing regional inequalities. The findings form part of a forthcoming journal article exploring how challenges in left behind places can be addressed.
  • conducting a ‘what works’ review of employment support programmes for the West Midlands Combined Authority to support the development of the Employment Support Framework within the WMCA,
  • evaluating the Connected Communities Employment Support programme for the West Midlands Combined Authority,
  • managing the City Vision project mapping organisation strategies and citizen engagement for Birmingham City Council,
  • writing profiles of LEPs within the Midlands Engine and conducting evidence synthesis to understand factors driving productivity performance, synergies and future opportunities across the Midlands as part of Midlands Engine Independent Economic Review.
  • working with the Smart Specialisation Hub to map the value of funding from various public and private sector programmes at LEP level and analyse the challenges and strengths in LEPs’ experiences of applying for external funding. 


Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Abigail worked as a Teaching Associate at Aston University.


In this episode of the City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham podcast, we look at work and skills in the West Midlands. Dr Abigail Taylor discusses the subject with Dr Fiona Aldridge, Head of Insight - Economic Delivery, Skills and Communities, WMCA
WM REDI has been tasked with providing an up to date monitor of the current COVID-19 economic impacts to help regional partners to shape responses and interventions to ensure the region continues to thrive.

Research interests

Abigail’s current research interests lie in regional and local labour markets, skills, institutions, employment support policy and place. Sub interests include future skills mismatches, lifelong learning, funding flows and governance structures.

Current projects

At City-REDI, Abigail works on a variety of applied research projects related to skills, institutions and place. Most recently this includes:

  1. leading a WMREDI project examining universities’ broader contribution to skills initiatives, local and regional economic strategies. This project seeks to investigate how local skills ecosystems operate in different places, both within the UK and internationally. It includes a specific focus on the relationship between universities and other types of tertiary education institutions. Key aims include to identify what makes a strong local skills system and use this information to make comparisons with the skills system of England, outlining lessons which city-regions in England can learn from. 

    The project involves comparison of skills ecosystems in Cardiff (Wales), Chicago (USA), Leipzig (Germany) and Lille (France). The team are conducting semi-structured interviews with universities, regional/ local authorities, business orgs, 3rd sector, employers in each place as well as policy analysis.
  1. Managing research for the Youth Futures Foundation to identify, describe and map funding flows for young people’s employment and skills from national to local areas. The project is designed to provide evidence for, inform and where applicable, include evidence from two other projects commissioned by YFF as part of the YFF Connected Futures Fund (CFF) - a £16 million fund to support young people to get good jobs through pioneering local partnerships. The fund will be targeted at the following seven localities in England with some of the highest NEET rates and deprivation indicators: Burnley, Hastings, D2N2, Hull, Lewisham, Blackpool and Brent.

    The project involves conducting a desk review of existing studies and data pertaining to the flow of national, sub-national, local and international sources of funding to local areas for young people’s employment and skills in England. In addition, the team are seeking to provide more detailed understanding of the nature of funding flows in operation and the challenges and strengths of existing structures and systems through conducting deep dive case studies of funding in selected areas receiving funding from the Connected Futures Fund. This will involve conducting semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in the selected case study area to investigate a) sources of funding, b) aims and priorities of funding, c) funding decision-making, d) the role of young people, outputs and outcomes, e) links between funding and outcomes, f) funding to address challenges for marginalised young people, g) evaluation, h) future funding prospects, and i) funding levers.
  1. Extending previous research conducted in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) into how inter-regional and intra-regional inequalities have been addressed internationally by shedding light on the transferability of the lessons identified internationally to the English context. This is a key gap in much international case-study research. We will seek to address this gap by examining the relevance of some key reasons for success identified internationally in four city-regions and towns in England. We aim to create fora for dialogue to support policy exchange across places and central, local and regional government to enable learning from the international case study research.

Other activities

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • City-REDI Early Career Researcher Representative on Birmingham Business School (BBS) Early Career Researcher Committee.
  • Active member of the Social Policy Association Employment Core-Group.


Taylor, A. (2022). How can challenges in left behind places be addressed? Learning from Greater Lille, Nantes, the Ruhr region, San Antonio and Estonia. Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning, 6(1), pp.55-70.

Green, A., Hughes, C., Sissons, P. and Taylor, A. (2022). Localising employment policy: opportunities and challenges. In: Jolly, A., Cefalo, R. and Pomati, M. eds Social Policy Review 34. Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2022. Bristol: The Policy Press pp.24-47.

Taylor, A., Green, A., Gloster, R., and Bramley, G. (2022). Physical to virtual: challenges & opportunities for a neighbourhood-based employment support initiative. Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Taylor, A. and Green, A. (2021). How well equipped are national surveys to capture new approaches to training. Journal of Education and Work 34, 5/6, pp. 676-690.

Taylor, A., Green, A., Matsu, J., O’Farrell, L., Read, H., Coe, G., Brittain, B. and Bramley, G. (2022). Investing in regional equality: lessons from four cities. London: CIPFA https://www.cipfa.org/cipfa-thinks/insight/addressing-regional-inequalities

Taylor, A., Sampson, S. and Romaniuk, A. (2021). What does it take to “level-up” places? Evidence from international experience. Industrial Strategy Council. https://industrialstrategycouncil.org/what-does-it-take-level-places

Hoole, A., Taylor, A., Read, A. and Green, A. (2021). Covid-19 recovery planning, partnership working and the role of universities in city-regions. Birmingham: WMREDI https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/college-social-sciences/business/research/wm-redi/wm-redi-project-docs/project-6b-at/covid-19-recovery-planning-partnership-working-and-role-of-universities-report-final.pdf

Taylor, A., Green, A. and Hassan, S. Priorities for up-skilling and re-skilling: what role can and should universities play? Birmingham: WMREDI. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/college-social-sciences/business/research/wm-redi/wm-redi-project-docs/theme-1/virtual-internships/what-are-the-priorities-for-upskilling-and-reskilling-report-10.05.2021-v4.pdf

View all publications in research portal