A University of Sunderland academic has contributed to a report for the Government Office for Science on its Rebuilding a Resilient Britain programme.

The 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/