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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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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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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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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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 competiveness, organisation and governance of the UK satellite industry. She also has experience with teaching within the Geography department and Birmingham Business School.







Amir Qamar

Amir joined City-REDI as a Research Associate in October 2016 and is currently looking to better understand the relationship between the regional economy and specific firms. This research includes investigating multiplier effects within certain supply chains, the employment footprint of MNEs, R&D initiatives, and productivity levels.

Amir has a background in Economics and International Business, but his more recent work has focused on Operations Management and Supply Chain Management as his PhD research investigated the performance and contextual trade-offs between lean and agile organisations within the automotive industry in the West Midlands. Amir has experience of teaching a wide range of modules in the domains of business strategy and operations.








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 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 co-ordination, 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


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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George Bramley

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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Dr Zhaoya Gong

Dr Zhaoya Gong is a quantitative human geographer and Geographic Information Scientist. His research interests center on two interwoven themes, namely leveraging computational and data sciences to advance geographic information science, and dynamic processes of urbanisation and complex modalities of spatial structures generated at various scales, as articulated by interactions of land use and transportation/mobility systems, with respect to the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of resulting urban settlements.






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Dr Emmanouil Tranos

Dr Emmanouil Tranos is an economic geographer focusing primarily on the spatiality of the digital economy. He is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham and has published on issues related with the geography of the internet infrastructure, the economic impacts that this digital infrastructure can generate on cities and regions and the position of cities within spatial, complex networks. His research in this area led to a monograph on “The Geography of the Internet: cities, regions and Internet infrastructure”. Emmanouil has also a strong interest and expertise on the use of new sources of big data, such as data from mobile phone operators, as a means to improve our understanding of the complexities of cities and urban systems. Currently, he is doing research on (i) the role of online social media as a medium for knowledge transfer and (ii) the evolution of the digital economy in the UK by utilising the wealth of archived web data.






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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