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Glasgow experts join UK productivity initiative

women female engineeer (Institute of Engineering and Technology)

Diversity will be an issue for the researchers

Glasgow University is among the institutions joining a government-backed initiative to help resolve the UK’s weak productivity record.

Economic and business experts from the University’s Adam Smith Business School, will contribute to the Productivity Institute to be based at the University of Manchester.

It is the largest ever social and economic research investment in the UK, and forms part of the government’s planned economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is investing £32 million into the Institute which will operate alongside a £5m research programme at the London School of Economics (LSE).

The Institute will be headquartered at Alliance Manchester Business School, and in addition to University of Glasgow, contributions will come from seven other partner institutions: University of Sheffield, University of Cambridge, King’s College London, Queen’s University Belfast, Cardiff University, University of Warwick, and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.. 

More than 40 researchers will work with policy makers and businesses to examine the issues that impact productivity, such as working from home, regional policy, diversity and workers’ well-being.

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The Institute’s goal is to make long-term policy recommendations that help the UK catch up with the US, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain.  

The Productivity Institute is being funded by £26m from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its largest single investment into social sciences research, and £6m from the nine partner institutions for five years, from 1 September 2020.

It will create eight Regional Productivity Forums across the country to work with these businesses and policy makers on critical productivity issues in the regional context. 

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “Improving productivity is central to driving forward our long-term economic recovery and ensuring that we level up wages and living standards across every part of the UK.”

Professor of Economics at Glasgow University, John Tsoukalas, who is leading its contribution, said: “Glasgow will lead and develop the research and impact agenda of the Institute in Scotland including the formation of a Productivity Forum for Scotland. 

“Researchers from the Adam Smith Business School will undertake ambitious research projects that seek to understand the drivers of productivity in the UK, and Scotland in particular, and our work will respond and address the new economic challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic.”

ESRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, which is principally funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

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