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Professor’s role in build a resilient Britain plan

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Published on 24 February 2021

Professor of Enterprise, Leaza McSorley
Professor of Enterprise, Leaza McSorley

The Government Office for Science on its Rebuilding a Resilient Britain programme was launched during the Covid-19 outbreak to address Britain's recovery from the pandemic over the medium-to long-term.

Rebuilding a Resilient Britain brought together groups of academics, policy makers and funders to focus on Areas of Research Interest (ARI) to support Britain’s recovery from the social and economic challenges facing the country. ARI are the research priorities of government departments which inform their research strategies, wider strategy and policy development.

Sunderland's Professor of Enterprise, Leaza McSorley, who is the Co-Investigator of the Productivity Insights Network, chaired the Rebuilding a Resilient Britain sub-group on “Productivity, Business and National Economy”.

Professor McSorley said: “I was delighted to be part of this programme, and represent the University of Sunderland and the Productivity Insights Network.

“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a mobilisation of academic research and engagement with Government. Most of this activity needed to focus on the urgent matters at hand. Relying on academic research, data and analysis to protect lives, and livelihoods. “However, the Rebuilding a Resilient Britain project had the challenge of attempting to develop research priorities for government, funders and academics looking to the medium and long term. The challenge was: what will we need to know in three to five years’ time, and what research do we need to do now to find that out?”

Rebuilding a Resilient Britain was supported by The Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN), which ensures diverse contributions in academic-policy engagement. It ran from July to October, with the final reports being produced in January.

The various groups produced nine reports, totalling 528 pages and over 200,000 words.

From the Productivity, Business and National Economy sub-group's report, key evidence gaps and future areas of research interest include:

- Research evidence at a micro (firm/industry level) on policy and practice that prioritises/delivers both productivity and employment improvements

- Regional and structural inequalities and policy.

- Research that further develops regional-macro-economic linkages. Structural issues focused on labour markets and institutions - Structural causes and drivers of low productivity and economic growth.

- Environmental sustainability and productivity and growth

- International best practice/comparative research

- Theoretical underpinnings of productivity

Professor McSorley says: “To Rebuild a Resilient Britain productivity research must now provide new solutions to new and different productivity challenges.”

Professor McSorley has written about her experience of working on the programme in a blog for the Productivity Insights Network. Click here. The full report is available at: https://www.upen.ac.uk/go_science/

 About Professor Leaza McSorley

Leaza is Professor of Enterprise at the University of Sunderland, previously holding academic positions at Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde.

She is a co-investigator of the ESRC Productivity Insights Network, an Advisory Board member of the ESRC’s Propel Hub, and a grantee of Rebuilding Macroeconomics. Her research focuses on regional economic policy and labour market issues. She is a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association and former Chair of the Regional Studies Association Scotland, and co-ordinator of the EU Cohesion Policy Research Network.

She started her career as a local government policy officer in economic development focusing on youth unemployment, regeneration and community planning, and then progressed to corporate policy, before working as an economist and economic consultant in the private sector.

Productivity Insights Network

The Productivity Insights Network was established in January 2018 and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. As a multi-disciplinary network of social science researchers engaged with public, private, and third sector partners. Its aim is to change the tone of the productivity debate in theory and practice. It is led by the University of Sheffield, with co-investigators at Sunderland, Oxford Brookes University, Cambridge Econometrics, Cardiff University, Durham University, SQW, University of Cambridge,University of Glasgow, University of Leeds and University of Stirling. For more information on our team click here.