Exploring the role and effectiveness of ERDF in promoting economic development across the EU
I am interested exploring the role and effectiveness of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in promoting economic development across the EU. There are various strands to this work.
First, I have a real in interest in the role of ERDF in regions with specific geographical features (islands, mountains and sparsely populated regions) having led an 18 month Study for DG Regio of the European Commission, which was completed in 2011. This research is ongoing because territorial specificity and ERDF continues to be a policy issue at the European level. For example, I was involved in a recent study (December 2015) for the Regional Development Committee of the European Parliament which explored specifically the role of ERDF in mountainous regions.
Second, I am interested in the role of ERDF in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. I have carried out work exploring the ways in which the shift in governance in England from the regional to the local level, with the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), has helped (or not) to tackle social inclusion in the Liverpool city-region. In particular, the research examines how ERDF-funded business support projects have helped (or not) to encourage entrepreneurship and business support in the most deprived areas of the city-region.
Exploring the emergence of an innovation ecosystem in the Liverpool city-region
In recent years, promoting innovation, R&D and technology transfer has become an important public policy objective at all levels of government in Europe. The assumption is that innovation can provide the foundations for new businesses, new jobs and potentially new industries, which should contribute towards enhanced employment opportunities and productivity growth. Notably, whilst all localities can theoretically engage in ‘win–win’ scenarios in which “knowledge” is transferred to improve innovation and ultimately economic development, the reality is far from straightforward. For city-regions that are relatively weaker economically, such as the Liverpool city-region (LCR), it is not easy to emulate the ‘success’ of ‘exemplar’ cases such as Silicon Valley in the US and Cambridge in the UK.
According to the LCR Innovation Plan, 2014-2020, the city-region can be a driver of national economic growth and innovation because it does have a number of key innovation assets including the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter; Sci-Tech Daresbury as well as strengths in life sciences, and healthcare; advanced manufacturing; logistics, marine and maritime; and digital and creative industries. Whilst a total of 83,000 people are employed in knowledge intensive industries in the LCR, with further concentrations of high and medium technology jobs, the LCR’s average GVA per capita is only 75 per cent of the UK average. In short, this means that the city region has a very significant £8.2bn output gap, which is not trivial to overturn. It is precisely in this context that innovation and the knowledge economy have a key role to play in contributing to reducing the LCR’s output gap with the rest of the UK.
Focusing on the emergent innovation ecosystem in the Liverpool city-region (LCR), the aim of this research is to explore the extent to which the LCR is developing a durable and robust framework for innovation that will cultivate (or not) future economic competitiveness.
Research Group Membership
New business creation and economic development: a comparative analysis of the role of brokers in linking entrepreneurs to regional innovation systems
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC)
August 2012 - August 2014
Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design
LEVERHULME TRUST (UK)
October 2016 - September 2026
Public policy, innovation ecosystems and local economic development: exploring Industry-Academia collaboration in the Liverpool city-region
UNILEVER PLC (UK)
October 2014 - September 2017