Vital Topics: The UK’s regional productivity disparities and the “levelling up” agenda – what’s the role of research and development?

4th October 2021, 6:24 pm

Richard Jones, Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at the University of Manchester, will discuss how research and development links with productivity at a regional level in this Vital Topics event.

  • Date: 7th october
  • Time: 17:30 – 19:00
  • Location: Online / in person at Alliance MBS
  • Register HERE

The UK has a profound problem of regional disparities in productivity performance, with second tier cities that underperform compared to expectations based on their size, and deindustrialised towns and urban areas that have failed to find productive new economic roles. The distribution of research and development investment in the UK – especially in the public sector – is also highly skewed to the prosperous Greater South East.
richard jones

At this Vital Topics event, Richard A.L. Jones, Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy, University of Manchester will discuss the evidence – and the uncertainties – relating to the link between R&D and productivity at a subnational level, and outline the institutional landscape that has led to the UK’s current, highly unbalanced, regional distribution of R&D. He will consider some of the uses and pitfalls of using innovation policy as an instrument of regional economic development.
He will go on to reflect on recent policy development in the UK, as the current Government’s “levelling up” slogan is turned into concrete policy. We have seen the idea of “place” become a new theme in the Innovation Strategy, and a transition from an “Industrial Strategy” driven by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to a HM Treasury driven “Plan for Growth”. We now await the imminent arrival of a Levelling Up White Paper, driven by a joint No 10/ Cabinet Office unit.

Finally, Richard will consider how best devolved nations, regions and cities in the UK should respond to this agenda, and discuss the role of GM’s new initiative, Innovation Greater Manchester.

This event will be facilitated by Dr Elvira Uyarra, Reader in Innovation Policy and Strategy at Alliance Manchester Business School.

Sponsored by DWF and Capita, Vital Topics is Alliance MBS’ series of prestigious business lectures, bringing powerful ideas and original thinking to audiences from the Manchester city-region and beyond.

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