Who we are

The City REDI team
Academic Team

Professor Simon Collinson

Professor Simon Collinson

Simon is Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (DPVC) leading on Regional Engagement at the University of Birmingham, and Director of the City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) and at Birmingham Business School, where he was Dean 2012-2016. He is also the Director of the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM REDI) which launched in February 2020. He has held various roles, including Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, member of the ESRC Council and the GBS Chamber of Commerce Council.

In his DPVC role, Simon leads on regional and civic engagement at the University, including its contribution in a ‘place-based’ industrial strategy. His research and consulting focuses on multinational firms, productivity, innovation, competitiveness and regional economic growth. As well as publishing in leading journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, Organisation Studies and Business History his research has featured in the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC Radio 4, and the New Statesman.

View Simon’s full profile.


Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés

Raquel Ortega-ArgilésCurrently, Raquel Ortega-Argilés holds the Chair in Regional Economic Development at the Department of Strategy and International Business and the City-REDI research institute at Birmingham Business School, The University of Birmingham, UK.

Her current research work focuses on Productivity, Innovation, Regional development, SMEs, entrepreneurship and industrial dynamics and on regional and European Policy.


View Raquel’s full profile.


Professor Anne Green

Anne Green joined the University of Birmingham as Professor of Regional Economic Development in June 2017. Her research interests span employment, non-employment, regional and local labour market issues, skills strategies, urban and rural development, migration and commuting, associated policy issues and evaluation.

She has published in high profile journals and has written numerous reports for UK Government Departments and agencies. Anne is experienced in disseminating the results of her research to academic, policy and practitioner audiences.


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Professor John Goddard

John Goddard is Professor of Universities and Cities at City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI) and the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM REDI) at the University of Birmingham. John is also the Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University where he was founding director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for civic engagement.

John is an international expert on the role of universities in city and regional development and co-author of two major publication on The University and the City and The Civic University. He has acted as an advisor to the OECD, the European Commission, city and regional governments and individual universities across the UK and overseas. Most recently he has been Vice-Chair of the UK Civic University Commission.

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Dr Chloe Billing

Chloe joined the City-REDI team in November 2016 as a Research Fellow, working on the Urban Living Birmingham Project. She is responsible for undertaking a detailed review of end-user and open innovation to explore its application to urban services. This is based on the understanding that service reform in many fast growth and highly innovative private sector firms is driven by the application of new approaches to innovation.

Chloe has recently completed her PhD in Economic Geography at the University of Birmingham, which explored the competitiveness organisation and governance of the UK satellite industry. She also has experience in teaching within the Geography department and Birmingham Business School.

View Chloe’s LinkedIn profile.


Dr Charlotte Hoole

Charlotte returned to City-REDI as a Research Fellow in October 2019 to work as a Co-Investigator on the project ‘Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs’ (LIPSIT), funded by the ESRC. After completing her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning in March 2018, Charlotte won an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie broadly within urban and regional studies, with a specific focus on sub-national policy and governance structures. Her most recent work in this area has focused on the geopolitics involved in region-building and the role of spatial imaginaries in promoting new growth models.

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Dr Andre Carrascal Incera

Andre joined the City-REDI team as a Research Fellow in Economic Modelling in July 2018. He holds a PhD in Economics and his main lines of research are related to multisectoral modelling and impact analysis from a regional perspective. In particular, he has experience on working with economy-wide models such as Input-Output, Social Accounting Matrices and Computable General Equilibrium Models. Some of the topics he has recently studied are the impact of tourism in the generation and distribution of income, the main determinants of youth unemployment in Europe and its micro and macroeconomic consequences, as well as exploring the links between the economy, the environment and the availability of natural resources. He has previously held a postdoctoral position at the University of Santiago de Compostela and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Illinois and in the University of Groningen.

View Andre’s Twitter profile.


Dr Magda Cepeda Zorrilla

Magda joined the City-REDI team as a Researcher in February 2019. She has a background in Sustainability and Transport and holds a PhD in Transport from the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Her main lines of research are related to the study of the factors that influence individuals’ travel choices and particularly focusing on the strategies to make travel choices more sustainable. In particular, she has experience using qualitative and quantitative methods such as questionnaire surveys, interviews and focus groups and multivariate statistical analysis techniques. She has previously worked as Research Assistant for the University of Leeds contributing to the analysis of the role of positive incentives to change travel behaviour and encourage the use of more active travel choices. Some of the topics she has recently studied are the psychosocial aspects of modal choice and the use of social marketing techniques to segment the population and tailor transport interventions. Her current line of research is related to the economic impact of transport infrastructure and skills profile and public transport access.


Dr Diana Gutiérrez Posada

Diana became a member of City-REDI in January 2019. She is a quantitative researcher specialized in Regional Economic Analysis using Spatial Econometric techniques. Her research has explored territorial inequalities in various demo-economic aspects like population and industrial concentration, wage differentials, or income and poverty levels. In her PhD dissertation, she studied the differences in population and employment concentration at the local level for Spain, taking into account the interplay between areas across the urban system. She also looked into the territorial dynamics related to the ageing process and the wage gap between the tiers of the urban hierarchy. Additionally, she has participated in studies about the relationship between the industrial structure and the growth of youth unemployment in European regions, and about the location of second-homes in Spanish municipalities.


Dr Sara Hassan

Sara Hassan is a Research Fellow at City REDI with a strong multidisciplinary background: a Doctorate in Urban Transport Planning, a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Landscape and a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering. Her research and teaching interests include a focus on urban and transport planning by developing innovative policy evaluation models and policy reform issues, policy analysis and how it impacts poor and marginalised communities, community development and urban planning. She also researches in the area of local economic development, migration and commuting. Her recent projects include £3.45 million ERDF funded project USE-IT! Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together looking at Urban Poverty in Birmingham. She has broad experience in teaching, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including courses on urban and regional planning, urban regeneration, urban design and transport planning.

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Dr Charlotte Hoole

Charlotte HooleCharlotte returned to City-REDI as a Research Fellow in October 2019 to work as a Co-Investigator on the project ‘Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs’ (LIPSIT), funded by the ESRC. After completing her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning in March 2018, Charlotte won an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie broadly within urban and regional studies, with a specific focus on sub-national policy and governance structures. Her most recent work in this area has focused on the geopolitics involved in region-building and the role of spatial imaginaries in promoting new growth models.

View Charlotte’s full profile.


Dr Tasos Kitsos

Tasos Kitsos

Tasos is a Research Fellow in City-REDI. He holds a PhD in Economics and his research interests span from regional resilience to entrepreneurship and regional development as well as fiscal devolution and the spatial distribution of government grants. Besides academic research, Tasos has helped to produce City-REDI publications such as the West Midlands Databook and the Birmingham Economic Review as well as the production of policy briefings. He has previously held positions in the private and public sector including research assistant and Associate Lecturer positions in various universities.

View Tasos’s LinkedIn profile.


Dr Fengjie Pan

Fengjie joined the City-REDI team in 2019 as a Productivity Research Fellow, working on the Productivity and Prosperity: Inclusive Growth for the West Midlands project. She is responsible for identifying local factors that underlie and explain regional differences in productivity, with a focus on mismatches between the supply of and demand for specific skills. This is based on prior research which identifies lags in productivity performance at the national and regional levels and the significance of internal skills gaps and external skills shortages. Fengjie has recently completed her PhD in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, which explored the knowledge sharing and co-creation in service innovation based on the Knowledge-Intensive Business Services. She also has experience with technology commercialisation and teaching within Alliance Manchester Business School.


Dr Juliane Schwarz

Juliane is a Research Fellow who joined City-REDI in October 2018. Her expertise lies in evaluation and impact studies. She predominantly supports a Leverhulme funded project to evaluate the causal impact of Tech Accelerators on Startups. Trained as a social scientist, her contribution covers the qualitative aspect of the research project. She is responsible for the data collections (in-depth interviews), coding and analysis (NVivo) and contributes to the dissemination of the results.

Juliane holds a PhD in Linguistics from Lancaster University and has more than 15 years experiences in managing and conducting research projects. She has contributed to and organised impact evaluation studies for the ESRC, the NHS and NHS Scotland and several private sector organisations. In her previous positions at Aston University and UCAS, she was engaged in research on good practice in education and evaluating the impact of different education policies. She managed a research project on knowledge sharing and management at WBS and several research projects on quality assurance at BCU.

View Juliane’s LinkedIn profile.


Dr Abigail Taylor

Abigail joined City-REDI in October 2018 as a Policy and Data Analyst before becoming a Research Fellow in February 2020. Abigail completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield supervised by the Departments of Geography and French. Her thesis examined the experiences of out-of-work partnered parents in France and the UK contrasting experiences at the micro-two level under two differing national and local contexts to contribute to understandings of how policy affects individual lives and how it can be made more effective. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Abigail worked as a Teaching Associate at Aston University.

Abigail works on a variety of projects at City-REDI. This has included: conducting a Literature Review of Employment Support programmes for the West Midlands Combined Authority, evaluating the Connected Communities Employment Support programme for the West Midlands Combined Authority, and 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. Most recently, Abigail has supported the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory by producing profiles of Midlands Engine LEPs.

Abigail is currently undertaking a 0.5 secondment to the Industrial Strategy Council in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy delivering research into employer and employee perceptions of skills and the value of training as well as producing case studies analysing different international skills systems to generate policy learning relevant to the UK. She is particularly interested in international comparisons of employment support policy; regional and local labour markets and skills, and funding strategies.

View Abigail’s LinkedIn profile


Professional Services team

Rebecca Riley

Rebecca RileyRebecca has joined City-REDI as the new Administrative Director and will be leading on the strategic direction of the Institute especially in relation to consultancy work and partnership development. She brings with her experience in the private consultancy sector providing the Idox Information Service to clients across the higher education, local government and national policy sectors. Prior to that she was Head of Research at the Northwest Regional Development Agency and led a regional economic observatory, providing the evidence base for regional, local and policy specific strategies and programmes.

She has managed over 200 projects across all local government policy areas, designing, advising, commissioning, collaborating and delivering research services. Her focus has been on regional and local economic intelligence and analysis services, forecasting and skills.

View Rebecca’s LinkedIn profile.


George Bramley

George joined City-REDI as a Senior Analyst in March 2018. George has significant experience in designing, managing and conducting research, evaluations and systematic reviews within government, the private sector and academia. His interests include public service redesign, skills, enterprise and innovation, school improvement and health technology assessment. George’s previous roles include Head of Evaluation at the Small Business Service where he was closely involved in business support simplification, the UK Enterprise Strategy and was the UK Delegate to the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship; Research Director at National Foundation for Educational Research undertaking studies on skills, school improvement, enterprise education and citizenship. Since joining the University of Birmingham, George has been involved in health service redesign and the appraisal of new health technologies including the development of the Medtech Early Technical Assessment tool for NICE Scientific Advice. He has been a member of UK Evaluation Society Council since 2010.

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Ben Brittain

Ben Brittain joined City-REDI in July 2019 as a Policy and Data Analyst. He has experience developing policy strategies and interventions in the built environment, sustainable energy and sustainability. With previous experience working in mental health across research and policy forums, he has additional experience of using research to enhance interventions to yield greater service outcomes. He did his undergraduate at Aston University in Psychology and his MSc in Global Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham. Ben has a keen interest in urban planning, the built environment, connecting communities with new developments, as well as utilising transport connectivity to accelerate growth.

View Ben’s Twitter profile.


Josh Swan

Josh joined the City REDI team as a Policy and Data Analyst in July 2019. He previously studied at the University of Birmingham completing his undergraduate in BA Political Economy in 2015. After working as a software specialist for Advanced Computer Software, Josh moved into Data Analysis in the Public Health Sector before joining City REDI in full circle back at the University of Birmingham.

Josh’s areas of interest include Business, Entrepreneurship, urban development, sustainable economic development, economic diversification and quantitative research methods.

View Josh’s LinkedIn profile.



Sarah Jeffrey

Sarah joined the City-REDI team in June 2016 as Centre Manager. Upon graduating from the University of Birmingham (BA Hons French Studies) she worked in Retail Management and HR with Boots before returning to the University as a PA in the Department of Economics. She has since moved onto various roles within the University developing a firm knowledge and understanding of the University and the Higher Education sector.

Her role as City-REDI Centre Manager (Projects and Administration) sees her work alongside Stuart to manage the day-to-day activities of the Centre, including staff coordination, project and event management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities.

For any queries regarding City-REDI please contact Sarah: +44 (0)121 414 9673 or email s.jeffery@bham.ac.uk.


Stuart Mitchell

Stuart joined the City-REDI team in March 2017 as Centre Manager, providing maternity cover for Sarah Jeffery. After graduating from SOAS with an MA in African History, Stuart worked for Unltd, a charity that provides support for social entrepreneurs. He then went travelling around the world for a year before returning to the UK and working for Linking London, a partnership organisation of colleges and higher education institutions in London working in collaboration to maximise its contribution to targeted widening participation, student engagement and success, social mobility and improvements in social justice through education. In 2011, Stuart became the Linking London Office Manager, a wide role encompassing all aspects of Linking London’s work, and helped to grow the partnership to 41 members.

His role as City-REDI Centre Manager sees him manage the day-to-day activities of the Centre, including stakeholder communication, staff coordination, event organisation, project management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities.

For any queries regarding City-REDI please contact Stuart: +44 (0)121 414 9673 or email s.mitchell@bham.ac.uk.


Matthew Patterson

Matt started at City-REDI in August 2019 as an Administration Assistant.

Following his graduation in Classical Civilisation in 1997 from St Mary’s University College in London, he worked in a number of retail environments, including undertaking Management Training with the John Lewis Partnership.

Between 2004 and 2014 he worked as a Health and Safety Consultant in the Construction Industry, before leaving to take up the role of Centre Manager for the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, situated in Moseley.

His main duties are to provide administrative assistance to the team in general, and to Stuart and Sarah (the Centre Managers) specifically, in organising and assisting with the day-to-day and ongoing activities of the department.