What we do

Based at the University of Birmingham, City REDI is a research institute focussed on developing an academic understanding of major city regions across the globe to develop practical policy which better informs and influences regional and national economic growth policies.

Most of the world’s population lives in city-regions and more than 80% of global GDP is generated in cities. Cities also consume close to 2/3 of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The growth of city-regions can be sustainable and beneficial to all if we can increase productivity and enable innovation to combat the challenges of transport and energy infrastructures, affordable housing and basic services.

City-REDI was established by the University with over £4 million of investment to support regional economic growth policy and practice through engaged and relevant research. Our core objective is to help accelerate economic growth in the West Midlands city-region. We develop forecasts and impact studies to map alternative approaches to improving the region’s economic prospects. But we are equally concerned with ensuring that growth is inclusive. That government policies and corporate practices improve the life chances of all in the region, as well as lift the competitiveness and performance of our regional economy. Reducing inter-regional inequality across the UK and intra-regional inequalities in the West Midlands is a central goal.

Our team is made up of academics and consultancy services staff as a hybrid approach bringing academic rigour to consultancy delivery. Four world leading professors with expertise in international business, local economic development, innovation and investment, skills supply and labour markets and with a cross team focus on a smart specialisation approach to city region growth. Embedded within a Triple A rated Business School and Russell Group university.

City REDI’s area of expertise includes:

  • Systemic economic modelling
  • Policy development and evaluation
  • Spatial planning
  • Public sector leadership
  • CSR & Social Enterprise
  • BME Enterprise
  • Inward Investment
  • High Value Manufacturing
  • Supply Chain Analysis

City REDI works globally but we are proud to support the development of the West Midlands.  The City-REDI proposal has been developed in consultation with a number of regional and national organisations including:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce


Why is this important?

Regional economies across the UK currently face significant uncertainty as new business models and technologies continue to transform the conditions of production and the global distribution of economic activity. Simultaneously, an increasing focus on the regional devolution of resources and decision making is creating significant opportunities for city-regions to take greater control of their economic growth. These two trends have given rise to the emergence of a strong city-region research agenda, focused on understanding the on-going transformation of city-regions as they respond to external and internal drivers of change. Until recently that development has been supported by economic, spatial or social research which was dominated by disciplinary based studies rather than an inter-disciplinary perspective, and no one as yet has developed an integrated research or policy approach to regional economies. However, we recognise that the ‘problems’ facing city-regional economies are complex, multi-dimensional, multi-scalar and multi-disciplinary.

City-REDI is meeting this need by building a distinctive international research platform through the development of a Birmingham approach to understanding and facilitating growth in city-regions. This new systemic approach to identifying and conceptualising the inter-dependencies within and between regional economies is providing new opportunities for understanding, conceptualising, modelling and comparing economic activity and business trends at the city-region level.

The systemic approach seeks to move beyond disciplinary or thematic focused research by developing an overarching conceptual framework for understanding the functioning and on-going evolution of regional economies.


What are we offering?

The Institute is:

  • At the forefront of academic debate on local and regional economic growth, as evidenced by high-quality research outputs;
  • Utilising a systemic and interdisciplinary ‘Birmingham approach’ to understanding and facilitating economic development in city regions;
  • Attracting new, leading faculty in related fields to the University of Birmingham and providing a boost to the regions research capacity in areas such as data analytics and economic forecasting;
  • Developing international research partnerships to facilitate international comparative analysis and maximise economies of scale and scope for research funding and outputs;
  • Translating high level academic research into practical and useful policy recommendations for practitioners, alongside longer-term intelligence and research papers.