Who we are

The City REDI team

Academic Team

Professor Simon Collinson

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement and Director of City-REDI
Simon Collinson has recently taken up the role of Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement at the University of Birmingham. He is also Director of City-REDI, the City-Region Economic Development Institute and a Professor of International Business and Innovation at Birmingham Business School where he was the Dean from 2012-2016. Simon is Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (C-ABS), which represents over 120 UK business schools. He is also a Member of the UK ESRC Council, a member of the Council of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).

Professor Simon Collinson

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Professor John Bryson
John Bryson is Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography at the University of Birmingham. He is an internationally recognised scholar who has made significant contributions to understanding and explaining the complex ways in which economic activities are organized through space and in place. Recently, he has made major contributions to understanding the functional economic geographies of city regions by exploring the dynamics of economic activities located in large and small towns.

He has published seven books and over 120 journal articles, research reports, and books chapters and he is also editor of the book series on Services, Economy and Innovation published by Edward Elgar. He is Vice-President of RESER, the leading international research association on services and expertise-driven economies, Director of the Aston Reinvestment Trust, the UK’s leading Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), and is Independent Chair of the Worcestershire Partnership Climate Change Task Group. He has also advised the Finnish Presidency of the EU (2006).

John Bryson

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Dr Catherine Harris
Catherine Harris is a Senior Research Fellow within the Birmingham Business School. She currently works for City-REDI.Her PhD investigated the experiences of Polish migrant entrepreneurs in the West Midlands region of the UK and is the first large-scale study of its kind. Her key areas of interest include enterprise, ethnic entrepreneurship and EU labour migration.

Methodologically, Catherine’s interest is in qualitative and ethnographic research. Catherine’s research has attracted interest internationally and has been disseminated in both the print and broadcast media.

Catherine Harris

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Dr Max Nathan
Max is Senior Birmingham Fellow (Regional Economic Development) at Birmingham Business School, and is a Deputy Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth.

He is an economic geographer with a background in public policy. His research focuses on urban economic development, in particular the economics of immigration and diversity; innovation systems and tech clusters; and public policy for cities, especially policy design and evaluation.

Max has over 15 years’ public policy experience in think tanks, consultancy and government, including at DCLG as an ESRC-DCLG Senior Policy Adviser. Max also co-founded the Centre for Cities, where he ran the research programme for the Centre’s first three years.

Max Nathan

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Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés
Currently, 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 Productivity, Innovation, Regional development, SMEs, entrepreneurship and industrial dynamics and on regional and European Policy.

Raquel Ortega-Argilés

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Professional Services team

Rebecca Riley
Rebecca 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.

Rebecca Riley

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Sarah Jeffery
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 sees her manage the day-to-day activities of the Centre, including stakeholder communication, staff co-ordination, event organisation, project management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities.

Sarah Jeffery

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


Charlotte Hoole
Charlotte joined City-REDI as one of our new Policy and Data Analysts in October 2016, responsible for developing new ideas and carrying out research that adds to the overall output of the Institute. She is currently in the final stages of completing her PhD in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. Her research explores place-based leadership and governance in the context of devolved power structures, fiscal austerity and city-regions with a methodological focus that centres on qualitative techniques. Charlotte has experience in both teaching and academic research, as well as experience of working within a public policy setting.

Charlotte Hoole


Tasos Kitsos
Tasos joined City-REDI as one of our new Policy and Data Analysts in October 2016. He will contribute to applications for research projects, undertake research and assist the dissemination of the Institute’s output to inform policy making. He is currently in the final stages of completing his PhD in Economics at Plymouth University. His research investigates the differential response of UK Local Authority Districts to the 2008 crisis and the determinants behind the varying levels of economic resilience. He has previously held positions in the private and public sector including research assistant and Associate Lecturer positions in various universities.

Tasos Kitsos



Professor Geoffrey J.D. Hewings
We are also pleased to working with Professor Geoffrey J.D. Hewings who is Director of REAL; the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.

He has received Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson awards and was Executive Director of the Regional Science Association International which recognized him with an award for Service to Regional Science.

Geoffrey Hewings

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Richard Kenny
Richard Kenny is a Senior Research Fellow – Associate, within CityREDI, Business School, University of Birmingham. He is seconded from Birmingham City Council where for the last decade he has been Head of Strategic Development, working across the business functions of corporate strategy, business change, the economy directorate and the local strategic partnership. He has overseen strategy and delivery at national, regional and local levels across two major cities – Manchester and Birmingham, a regional assembly in Yorkshire and the Humber, health, economic development and policing in London. He is a member of the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE); the Regional Studies Association; and the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities, University of Warwick. Richard is also a Senior Fellow for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.

Richard works closely with the Centre for Geographical Economic Research, University of Cambridge and is currently a member of its Advisory Panel for Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Evolutions having previously sat on the Steering Group for Recession, Resilience and Recovery. Richard has a chapter on ‘Modelling Public Outcomes’ in A Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy (2015), published by Edward Elgar Publishing.

Richard Kenny

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Allan Mayo
After a recent retirement from a senior position at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Allan joins the University as an Honorary Professor and brings his extensive knowledge of Whitehall, local government and the European Commission and member states.

His area of expertise aligns closely with CityREDI, including understanding cities and urban transformation, understanding urban economies and environments, and policy aspects of Smart Cities, including the development of the Government’s strategy in this area, which was published in October 2013, and BSI’s strategy for developing a suite of smart city standards. He has been a member of Birmingham City Council’s Smart City Group and was instrumental in the development of the Greenwich Smart City Strategy, which was published recently.

Allan Mayo