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 (WMREDI) 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.
Rebecca joined City-REDI as Administrative Director in September 2015, leading on the strategic direction of the Institute, especially in relation to consultancy work and partnership development.
She is currently an Associate Professor for Enterprise, Engagement and Impact at the University of Birmingham.
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 this 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 programs. 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.
She recently completed a secondment at the West Midlands Combined Authority as the Head of Research and Office for Data Analytics.
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.
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 (WMREDI) 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.
Donald Houston specialises in local labour markets, in particular unemployment, economic inactivity, health, migration and commuting. Other research interests include housing, transport and flooding. He has held a number of research grants and projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), charities and local and central government. He was seconded to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2023 and continues an association with ONS.
Donald joined City-REDI in 2023 from the University of Portsmouth, where he was Head of the Department of Geography (2016-19) and Deputy Director of the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (2019-22). Before that, he was Director of the Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre (2013-16) and Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. Donald has served on the ESRC’s Grant Assessment Panel, ESRC’s UK In a Changing Europe Advisory Board and as a reviewer for the Research Council of Norway.
Fumi Kitagawa joined City-REDI in April 2023, as Professor/Chair in Regional Economic Development. She has conducted research related to regional innovation and entrepreneurship policies; higher education policy and regional development.
She has expertise on the role of universities in innovation and entrepreneurial processes, knowledge exchange and third mission, and governance of local and regional development in different national contexts (e.g. UK, Japan, Sweden).
Current/recent research projects include future visioning of place-based inclusive economic growth; entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems – policy scenarios and options; evolution of university entrepreneurial ecosystems; forms of PhD students’ entrepreneurship; evaluation of cluster policy and geography of R&D collaboration. Fumi has published in peer-reviewed journals including Regional Studies, Studies in Higher Education, Technovation, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.
Darja Reuschke’s research concerns change in local labour markets and new forms and locations of work and businesses that are emerging through new technologies, economic restructuring, crisis and social change. One focus of her research has been on self-employment and home-based work and how these forms of working are connected with social context, city regions, housing and neighbourhoods. Her recent study investigated changing homeworking patterns and preferences and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted self-employment and people’s ability to work due to Long Covid.
Darja specialises in longitudinal data and secondary data analysis. She was appointed as a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel for the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative 2018-2022. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2023, she was an Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Southampton and Lecturer in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews.
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.
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 James Davies
James Davies joined City-REDI in November 2021 as a Research Fellow. His work is focused on the regional impacts of creative clusters, with particular interest given to the interactions between the clusters themselves, and higher education institutions both in and around them. The project aims to use the creative clusters in the West Midlands and Cardiff City Region as a basis for comparison. His research interests centre around the Creative and Cultural Industries, including creative industry employment and recruitment, organisational change and fragmentation, negotiation of industrial boundaries and processes of recruitment.
James completed his PhD in labour market entry in the UK TV industry at Cardiff University in 2021. His research, funded by an ESRC scholarship, explores the patterns of recruitment and labour market entry through the accounts of young and recent freelance workers in UK TV. James has an MSc, also from Cardiff University, in which he explored the viability of crowdfunding business models for artists in the music industry, from the perspective of those who contributed. Additionally, James taught undergraduate tutorials in Cardiff Business School on the institution’s Business and Management course.
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.
Dr Charlotte Hoole
Charlotte is a Research Fellow at City-REDI. Charlotte’s research interests lie broadly in the geography and political economy of local and regional development, governance and policy. Previously, Charlotte worked as a Post-doctoral ESRC Fellow in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. She has eight years of experience in academic and consultancy posts, during which she has carried out research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Research England, local government in England, BEIS, Innovate UK, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Bank of England, the European Union and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Charlotte completed her PhD in 2018 at the University of Sheffield, focused on place leadership and governance in a city-regional context.
Dr Kostas Kollydas
Kostas is a Research Fellow who joined City-REDI in May 2021. He is an applied economist, and his research fields lie broadly in labour economics and economics of education. He is currently involved in the “Skills and labour market” WMREDI research theme.
Kostas has completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Bath. His thesis explored discrepancies in performance and progression in the UK universities between students from different ethnic backgrounds and investigated ethnic pay inequalities amongst graduates in the British labour market. During his PhD years, he was also engaged in a Local Skills Analysis research project to inform the development of an economic policy strategy in regional labour markets. He also has experience in teaching Econometrics at the undergraduate level. Kostas has previously held positions in the private sector, working for eight years in market research and management consultancy firms in Greece.
Huanjia joined the City-REDI team in February 2022 as a Research Fellow. He is currently involved in Socio-Economic Impact Model for the UK (SEIM-UK model). He also contributes to projects on regional economic development and inclusive growth. Huanjia has recently completed a PhD in Economics from the University of Birmingham. He is an applied economist specialising in panel data and causal inference. His PhD thesis studied household and firm behaviors in China by applying various quantitative tools. His broad research interest lies in the field of financial economics, regional economics, and political economics.
Dr Matt Lyons
Matt Lyons joined the City-REDI team in May 2021 as a Research Fellow. He is responsible for developing the team’s regional economic modelling capabilities whilst supporting projects across WMREDI. Additionally, he will contribute to research in the creative industries.
He is an economic geographer with a specialism in regional economic development. Matt’s PhD describes the extent to which the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal can address the economic development problems of South East Wales through a focus on the creative economy. Matt is due to complete his PhD at Cardiff University in 2021. He holds an MSc in Social Science Research Methods from Cardiff University and a BSc in Economics from the University of Plymouth. He has consulted on research projects across various areas, from; healthcare inequalities to monetary systems reform.
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.
Annum joined City-REDI in March 2022 as a Research Fellow. She is currently contributing to Theme 3. Annum identifies herself as an environmental economist, and her research interests lie in regional economics, environmental efficiency and sustainability. Her recent work focuses on energy efficiency in residential households, where she is working towards reducing the environmental impact due to energy consumption in residential households. She is also working towards assessing energy demand and introducing policy scenarios to increase the uptake of low-carbon technologies to reduce household energy emissions, consumption, and costs. Annum completed her PhD in Economics from Cardiff University, which Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE) funded. Her research focused on dairy farms’ technical and environmental efficiency, and she used benchmarking techniques to identify best practices to improve productivity.
Previously, she worked as a Research Officer at Bangor University, Wales. As part of her previous roles, Annum has had experience in graduate teaching, conducting webinars, workshops and audits.
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.
Dr Abigail Taylor
She is passionate about leading and contributing to research and evaluation policy analysis that informs and influences regional and national growth policies, being qualified to practitioner level in Better Business Cases. She is skilled in writing for policy audiences including reports on skills investment in the UK, identifying international best practices, in developing Local Industrial Strategies and effective place-based interventions. The key outputs from the reports were discussed in webinar launches with Andy Haldane and Dame Kate Barker. She has also written a range of academic journal articles, book chapters blogs and articles examining current policy issues, including contributing to a report by the Centre for Inequality & Levelling Up (CEILUP).
Abigail’s primary research interests are place-based approaches to regional and local labour markets, skills (including future skills mismatches, lifelong learning and skills ecosystems), funding, institutions and governance structures, employment support policy.
Dr Pei-Yu Yuan
Pei-Yu joined City-REDI in May 2021 as a Research Fellow. Pei-Yu completed her PhD at the University of Southampton supervised by the Southampton Business School. Her thesis explores the persistence in innovation behaviour of firms among product, process, organisational and marketing innovation and the complementarity and the substitutability among the four types of innovation. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Pei-Yu worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.
Pei-Yu currently works on two projects at City-REDI. The first project is to conduct a systematic literature review to assess the impact of STEM assets in the West Midlands on the ‘innovation capability of local firms and to provide a better explanation of ‘how’ and ‘in what way’ STEM assets generate impact. The second project aims to understand the interactions between government, industry and university by analysing the funded projects of Innovate UK.
Professional Services team
Reen joined City-REDI in July 2022, as an intern Data and Policy Analyst, after a successful and enjoyable internship, Reen was offered a permanent role as a Data and Policy Analyst within City-REDI. Reen completed his undergraduate degree in BSc Psychology and Criminology at the University of Salford in 2019. He then went on to complete a post-graduate Master in MSc Computing.
Reen previously worked within the DataLab whilst on his internship. Where he has been building City-REDI’s database, as well as constructing interactive data visualization dashboards based on economic performance indicators.
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.
Liz has worked at the University of Birmingham for 14 years, joining us as Programme Manager in May 2021. Elizabeth joined the team from the University of Birmingham’s ESRC IAA account, where she was the project manager. She has also held several other roles at the university including being a central member of the team responsible for the Research Excellence Framework Assessment in both 2014 and 2021 submissions and as an Executive Assistant to various members of the Strategic Planning Office Senior Management Team.
In her current role within WMREDI and City-REDI, Liz woks across 30+ projects within the research centre, providing milestone tracking, stakeholder management, risk management and the review and audit of projects to improve effectiveness and efficiency of key performance indicators.
Before joining City-REDI, Kelvin worked in the planning team of a leading real estate consultancy following the completion of an MSc in Spatial Planning at University College London in 2019. Kelvin also has over a decade of experience working as an Associate Chartered Management Accountant within the UK and USA manufacturing sectors, where he was responsible for data analysis, financial modelling and performance reporting.
Kelvin interests include strategic planning and development, the regional economy, place-based innovation, and housing.
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.
Ellie joined the City-REDI team in January 2022 as a digital marketing apprentice and after a successful apprenticeship, has stayed on as a Digital Marketing and Communications Assistant. With a degree in Broadcast Journalism from The University of Salford, to the role she brings enthusiasm, and experience in video making, tv production, and radio production. Whilst gaining her degree, she learned how to put out a TV news program from a mobile phone, this is something she is most proud of. For her dissertation, she created a two-part radio piece about domestic violence, sourcing, editing, and scripting it from scratch by myself.
Her role will accompany Stuart in the day-to-day running of social media, marketing, content creation and communications.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Covering for Sarah Jeffery whilst she is on maternity leave he has taken on her main duties including staff co-ordination, project and event management, budget management and supporting knowledge exchange activities.
Alice joined City-REDI in February 2021 as a Policy and Data Analyst. She completed her undergraduate degree in BA Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2019. As part of her undergraduate degree, Alice completed a sandwich year with the Department for Work and Pensions as an Economic Data Analyst, working with big data, creating dashboards and conducting evaluations. She then went on to complete her postgraduate degree in MA Criminology at the University of Manchester.
Alice previously worked for City-REDI as a Research Associate on the Midlands Engine Economic Observatory project. She gathered data and reviewed Local Enterprise Partnership Strategies to develop a series of LEP profiles published in March 2020.
Alice’s areas of interest include Economics, business case strategy support, sustainable economic development, resilience, public policy, inequality, socio-economic crime, drug policy and criminalisation and data visualisation.
Maryna joined City REDI as a Senior Policy and Data Analyst in May 2022. She will continue working on the set of projects as in her previous role as a Data Analyst at the WMCA in a partnership with WMREDI. Additionally, she will contribute to research on the skills, employment, and labour market economy.
Maryna has a PhD in Economic Sciences and a degree in Enterprise Management. After working as a university lecturer in Ukraine she moved to the UK and has worked as a data analyst in the WMCA on a wide range of projects. Her main areas of interest are statistical analysis, data visualisations and applying quantitative research techniques to analyse economics and complex systems with a focus on income inequality, gender disparities, inclusive growth and labour market participation.
Hannes has recently worked at Lancaster City Council actively engaging with the economic recovery and resilience in the response to Covid-19. He has also worked closely on the council’s Community Wealth Building Strategy for sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity.
He has an MA in Local and Regional Development from Newcastle University, where he developed his research interests around inclusive economic development, policy, and place.