Our impact

SPERI puts a premium on the real-world relevance of academic work and on translating our research into feasible policy proposals and accessible public discourse.


We work closely with policymakers and business partners from around the world to develop our research and ensure it has real impact. Our work is regularly cited in national and international media including the BBC, Financial TimesLe Monde and The Guardian.

These examples show some of the ways our research has impact.

The Global Business of Forced Labour

Genevieve LeBaron’s research on the business of forced labour in global agricultural production is helping to shape efforts by businesses, policymakers, and NGOs to tackle the business models of forced labour. Professor LeBaron is working with the UK Department of International Development and UK Home Office to develop policy responses that draw on her research findings and methodology. Work with tea companies to understand and address the prevalence of forced labour in global supply chains is also ongoing. This research has been covered widely in the press, including in an exclusive by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Food Charity and the Right to Food

Hannah Lambie-Mumford’s research into the prolific rise of food charity over the last 15 years and its implications for overcoming food insecurity has been influential in shaping understanding of hunger in the UK today. Dr Lambie-Mumford has worked with range of actors including government departments and agencies, major national charities and the food industry to shed new light on the nature of food charity and to develop policy-driven solutions. She has been commissioned to write government reports and advises on policy as an expert member of the Food Standard Agency’s independent Advisory Committee for Social Science. 

Understanding the Post-Crisis British Economy

Since SPERI was established in 2012 our ongoing research to diagnose and understand the changing nature of the British economy after the global financial crisis has helped to shape progressive policy responses. Our research on the UK growth crisis, quantitative easing, rebalancing, infrastructure spending, the regional impact of Brexit, and on ‘Civic Capitalism’ has informed the work of policymakers.

Wellbeing and Inclusive Growth at the OECD

Colin Hay, Tom Hunt, Michael Jacobs, Allister McGregor and Merve Sancak are working with the OECD to develop their policy and practice on wellbeing and inclusive growth. McGregor’s work to develop the conception of human wellbeing and applying that to development policy and practice has been influential in developing the methodology for the OECD’s Multi-Dimensional Country Reviews. The team of SPERI researchers are working to help the organisation develop its approach to inclusive growth in ways that are multilateral and alongside a broader notion of inclusive development.

Influencing UK Industrial Strategy

The Industrial Strategy Commission - a partnership between SPERI and Policy@Manchester - helped to shape the UK’s new industrial strategy. Civil servants in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) met with SPERI academics during 2017 as the UK’s new industrial strategy was prepared. The Commission's ideas for policy, particularly the emphasis on industrial strategy being long term, the importance of place and local institutions, and the importance of robust national institutions for monitoring industrial strategy, informed the Department’s thinking. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, was supportive of the Commission's work, and spoke at the launch of the Commission's final report in October 2017. Several of the Commission's members have now been invited to join the Government's Industrial Strategy Council.