Supporting small firms across the Liverpool City Region
Since 2010, the University of Liverpool Management School has conducted a series of successful European funded (European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)) business support programmes – each underpinned by research from within the School. Originally led by Professor Ossie Jones, over 100 owner-managers of small firms based in the Liverpool City Region participated in the initial LEAD programme. Growth Catalyst, the successor programme, led by Dr Benito Giordano, has so far engaged over 175 firms since 2014, with ERDF funding continuing until 2021. These programmes have contributed to improved leadership practices amongst the participants which, in turn, have impacted positively upon organisational processes and enhanced the overall economic performance of the small firms. Overall, between 2014 and 2018, Growth Catalyst firms increased average turnover by over 20%, created 110 jobs and contributed over £5.25m of GVA to the LCR economy.
Informing urban development policy through planning research
How do we build urban resilience to climate change or make provision for affordable housing? How can we fund infrastructure and urban renewal in a period of straitened public finances? The Urban Planning Unit within the Department of Geography and Planning works in any location worldwide, translating their knowledge and expertise on the economics of planning into policy-ready solutions. This involves providing relevant, cutting-edge research and consultancy services to governments, business and other stakeholders. Examples of policy-relevant projects delivered by the Urban Planning Unit include ‘An Agenda for Liverpool’ (2017), an in-depth study of the economy of the Liverpool City Region, led by Dr John Sturzaker, which was warmly endorsed by the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region. Also in 2017, Dr John Sturzaker’s team produced an important study of the Albert Dock’s role in the Liverpool City Region, recommending brave measures to maximise its opportunities.
Future-proofing Liverpool City Region’s energy supply from climate change
The ARCoES (Adaptation and Resilience of Coastal Energy Supply) project led by Professor Andy Plater at Liverpool’s Department of Geography and Planning looked to frame the challenges facing coastal energy production in the UK. By applying numerical models to complex coastal processes and predicting the future effects of climate change on shorelines, the project developed a Decision Support Tool (DST) that visualises flooding vulnerability from sea level rise and storms, and erosion level projections. This sophisticated model enables the best possible, economically viable management of particular energy assets. However, the potential applications of the DST are broad-ranging and – having been released under an open source licence – can readily be applied anywhere in the world to help shoreline communities and businesses prepare for extreme environmental changes. Expertise developed through the ARCoES project has led to Professor Plater contributing to Liverpool City Region’s future energy strategy, focusing on the long-term design and development of renewable and climate-change resilient, multi-source energy supply.