My research embraces an inter-disciplinary approach with a strong research interest in the interplay between economic governance (which includes regulation), innovation, regional development and industrial strategy. In these spheres, I have a particular interest in the conduct and performance of small and medium sized firms.
I am especially interested in exploring the nature of relationships between firms and also with institutions within regional clusters (and/or ‘industrial districts’) and more broadly within inter-firm and industry networks, which tend to have a wider geographical scope. I am interested in the impact of inter-firm co-operative ties and the role of institutions upon firm and industry performance and also in relation to innovation/innovative activities and again in exploring the wider implications of these linkages for local and regional development paths. These issues are at the forefront of contemporary debate, and in which I have made a significant contribution to the business economics, management and social science literature, with over 50 articles published in leading academic journals, books and book chapters, and consultancy reports. These include the Economic Journal, Research Policy, Regional Studies, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society and The International Journal of Industrial Organisation among others.
In the School of Management, I am the Deputy Director of the Centre for Governance, Regulation & Industrial Strategy (CGR&IS) and I also work closely with the University's Institute for Policy Research (IPR). My research been received by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Transport, NESTA, Innovate UK, The TUC, Industry Trade Associations and other business and regional organisations. I have also addressed the All Parliamentary Manufacturing Group of MPs on industrial and innovation policy and given other presentations at the UK Houses of Parliament. I have also contributed to several media articles in The Conversation.
My work has previously been funded by the ESRC and I am currently the lead researcher on a Regional Studies Association Expo grant. I have also undertaken several consultancy projects in relation to regional development, and I am currently a Co-Investigator on a £1.5 million European Regional Development Fund grant to establish two business acceleration hubs in the South West.