New network to look at UK productivity

  • Date

    Thu 4 Jan 18

Group of business people chatting

We’re working with other universities across the country to investigate UK productivity as part of a new ESRC-funded network.

UK productivity has fallen significantly since the start of the financial crisis and remains below its pre-crisis peak. The Productivity Insights Network will assess the state of productivity research in the UK, improving our understanding of the factors affecting productivity and informing the development of new strategies and research. 

As well as providing leadership and being a forum for collaboration, the network will: 

  • pull together interdisciplinary research groups and other networks in academia, policy-making and business
  • promote the use of innovative methods
  • develop a series of small-scale studies
  • complement (and collaborate with) existing research agendas, whether or not they are ESRC-funded
  • contribute to policy development
  • run small scale competitions to allocate funding to academics outside of the network to undertake relevant projects

Professor Vania Sena from Essex Business School is the network's Data Director and said: "The Productivity Insights Network is a strategic ESRC investment addressing the most pressing priority in economic policy. The ambition of the Productivity Insights Network is to shape the productivity debate over the next three years and  identify new policy strategies that can help reduce the productivity gap between UK and its main competitors. As the Data Director of the network, I will work with colleagues  and other stakeholders to make sense of the existing data sources to study productivity as well as to identify the main data gaps to enable researchers and policy makers to develop a more detailed understanding of those factors affecting productivity."

Dr Annie Gibney, Senior Portfolio Manager in charge of ESRC's productivity priority commented: "As a community of social scientists we must work hard to crack the UK's productivity puzzle of exceptionally weak growth when compared to international competitors. We hope this new network will do wonderful work to help improve our understanding of productivity, and take us a step further towards sustainable and inclusive economic growth."

The network will be led by Sheffield University Management School and includes the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, the University of Strathclyde, Durham University, the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the University of Leeds.

The network will also benefit from the involvement of two private sector collaborators - Cambridge Econometrics and SQW Ltd. The wider Productivity Insights Network has a membership of over 50 academics as well as a growing number of public, private and third sector partners.