Our research projects

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CREED is involved in a range of cutting-edge multidisciplinary projects related to entrepreneurship, innovation and productivity.

INTERACT, Made Smarter Network +

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Researchers from CREED are members of the ESRC-funded INTERACT Made Smarter Network+ (MSN+). Led by the University of Loughborough, the network has two primary roles:

  • To develop and support the creation of an effective digital innovation ecosystem to accelerate the innovation and diffusion of Industrial Digital Technologies
  • To ensure that the full range and depth of social and economic science insights are accessed across the Made Smarter challenge and wider UK manufacturing sector.

Staff involved: Professor Vania Sena | Professor Philip McCann


Incorporating bespoke state-of-the-art cost modelling into Severn Trent Water's day-to-day activities

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 In partnership with Severn Trent Water, knowledge transfer funding was obtained from UKRI for an 18 month project. Economic Insight and Anthony Glass have successfully recruited a KTP Associate and the project will begin on 31 January 2022. The project will complete the development of the company's retail services cost models for the next 5 year regulatory period.

For the same 5 year period, the project will also build the company's water supply and sewerage cost models, whilst Ofwat develops its own models. Ofwat and the company will then consult on these models, before Ofwat decides which models it will use to set the caps on the prices that the company can charge their customers for water supply and sewerage services over the 2025-30 period.

Read more about Anthony Glass' work with Economic Insight.

Staff involved: Professor Anthony Glass


The Productivity Institute

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The Productivity Institute is based on the premise that shared prosperity and global excellence is built on sustained increases in productivity. However, in recent decades, productivity has become a major drag on the British economy.

The UK's productivity puzzle has many dimensions, manifesting themselves differently across regions and sectors. This includes low-productivity growth by international standards, an increasing number of low-productivity firms, and large variations in performance across and within regions. Yet, at the same time, there are examples of innovation flourishing (even in some of the worst performing regions) where local sectors, firms or initiatives are generating new products, services and ways of working.

The Institute for Productivity is led by the University of Manchester (UoM), whose Alliance Manchester Business School will act as its headquarters. The ABIP will include eight partner institutions across the country: University of Sheffield, University of Glasgow, University of Cambridge, King's College London, Queen's University Belfast, Cardiff University, University of Warwick, and the National Institute of Social and Economic Research. The NISER will coordinate the ABIP's policy outreach as well as establish and lead a national Policy Reform Group.

Find out more about The Productivity Institute.

Staff involved: Professor Philip McCann


The ecosystem for impact entrepreneurship in Kampala, Uganda

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This project will focus on the ecosystem for impact entrepreneurship in Kampala, Uganda. It will include collaboration with international partners, network and relationship building activities, and preliminary research. This research will have the following objectives:

  • To map the ecosystem for impact entrepreneurship in Kampala
  • To examine interactions between impact entrepreneurs and this ecosystem
  • To identify ways to enhance relationships between impact entrepreneurs and their ecosystem

Staff involved: Dr David Littlewood


Next Generation Services

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This is an ESRC funded project exploring the role of new technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning in the professional services. This project focused in particular on the legal and accounting services which account for a significant proportion of professional services activity in the United Kingdom. The project involved a consortium of universities including the University of Sheffield, University of the Arts London, Lancaster University and the University of Manchester, alongside practitioner bodies including the Managing Partners Forum. The Next Generation Services advisory board contained industry and academic representatives to facilitate direct knowledge exchange at a senior level within the participating organisations and within those divisions tasked with innovation.

Staff involved: Dr Chay Brooks


The post-Brexit policy-support needs of 'left-behind' places

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The narrative of 'levelling up' suggests that in the aftermath of the December 2019 General Election, the new political geography of the UK, and in particular the shifting voting patterns of many Midlands and Northern constituencies, will lead to a greater prioritisation of the economic development needs of many 'left-behind' places.

Yet the challenges in responding to the needs of these places cannot be underestimated. Interregional inequalities in the UK are amongst the highest in the industrialised world and some analyses suggest that Brexit is likely to make these inequalities even worse. This is primarily because the trade-related exposure to Brexit of many of these economically weaker Leave-voting regions is greater than the UK's more prosperous regions.

In order to assist with the ongoing rethinking and redesign of UK local and regional economic development policy, the aim of this project is to use both quantitative and qualitative research techniques to uncover the economic development needs and challenges facing local regions, as perceived by themselves, so that this may inform these ongoing policy-design debates.

Staff involved: Professor Philip McCann


Unlocking productivity in the SCR through changes to the transport network

A photograph of Sheffield's tram at the cathedral stop

Productivity (output per worker) in the SYCMA is characterised by large geographical variations among its constituent local authorities. According to the SCR Strategic Economic Plan, these differentials can be reduced by new inter/intra city transport schemes connecting future jobs to where individuals live. In practice, unlocking these productivity gains requires re-thinking the existing transport network in the SCR so that physical and economic connectivity is maximised. Additionally, ongoing Covid-19 restrictions have changed the geography of work. In light of these changes, the existing transport network (traditionally based around the principle of a 'hub and spoke' network) may be inadequate.

Professor Sena (SUMS), Dr Punzo (ACSE) and Dr Harabi (CSE) are working with the SYPTE to develop a decision-support tool allowing them to benchmark cities and their transport infrastructure against their optimal geographic arrangement and productivity potential. The tool will be used to identify the potential new routes across all transport modes which could maximise connectivity and regional productivity.

Staff involved: Professor Vania Sena

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.