KE Collaborative R&D Case Study

Project title - "Logistics-led growth in Doncaster"

This project has been instrumental in building on the University of Sheffield’s relations with Doncaster MBC as a strategic partner.

dr tim vorley


Project partners

Dr Tim Vorley and Dr Nick Williams
Centre for Regional Economic Enterprise and Development (CREED)
Management School

Andy Pattinson
Policy & Partnerships Officer
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council


A KE Collaborative R&D Partnership Award has helped establish a new productive partnership between researchers in the Management School and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC). It funded a project exploring the key market and regulatory trends affecting the logistics sector in Doncaster.

Co-designed by CREED and Doncaster MBC’s Directorate of Regeneration and Environment to contribute to Doncaster’s economic growth, the project assessed the present impact and future potential of the logistics and transport sectors. The resulting report and academic publication informed the Council’s strategic thinking and kickstarted a new logistics sector group of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Activities and impact

A review of existing literature on logistics and transport enhanced the economic evidence base. Expert focus groups then allowed the team to examine further how demand-side deficiencies, such as lack of jobs and investment, affected Doncaster.

The research highlighted the importance of logistics as a sector in Doncaster and the wider region. It looked at high-growth markets, trade patterns and the policy priorities that will shape the logistics sector of the future. A back-casting activity meant that the team could evaluate current and future policies and programmes.

Doncaster MBC has now reappraised the value of logistics-led growth as a catalyst for economic growth. Working together on the project deepened the relationship and the researchers are now involved in other areas of regeneration, becoming a ‘critical friend’ to the Council.


Consolidating these high-profile resources has furthered the international reputation of the University as a leader in digital humanities, which the team hopes will open up more opportunities for collaboration. Improving access to the Folger’s digital collections means a significant improvement to research infrastructure for Shakespeare and Renaissance studies worldwide, providing users with a single, intuitive discovery experience. It will be where researchers in this field go first.

Next steps

Developments include a new PhD Studentship network, MSc projects and undergraduate authentic assessments that have a comparative focus on Doncaster. An ongoing portfolio of research has so far attracted a further £75k in funding. New projects include supporting the development of rail engineering skills around the HS2 college and proposed UTC in Doncaster, as well as further work with the LEP.

Dr Tim Vorley, who led the original collaboration, said: “This project has been instrumental in building on the University of Sheffield’s relations with Doncaster MBC as a strategic partner.”

Andy Pattinson of Doncaster MBC values the opportunity to share expertise and develop new approaches: “We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with the University to help inform policies and interventions aimed at improving quality of life in Doncaster and beyond.”