Economic Development and Inclusive Economies

Economic Development and Inclusive Economies

Focus of our research

Our research is focused on innovative policies, practices and business models that support more inclusive and sustainable real economic development and progress.

Dr David Jarvis, Cluster Co-Lead

The Economic Development and Inclusive Economies (EDIE) cluster is focused on generating new insights to the study of economic development, and economic and social inclusion.

Alongside long-running concerns about ‘who gains from growth’, there is a widespread acknowledgement that future development needs to be more socially and environmentally sustainable. Yet questions remain about the ability to balance economic, social and environmental sustainability – and there has been a proliferation of proposed development models.

The cluster engages in research into the policies, practices and business models that can support more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. Research is organised around four themes. Each theme has important implications for understanding real-world research problems relating to approaches to, and the outcomes of, economic development – including understanding and shaping policies and practices which underpin these.

  • Inclusive economies – new models and approaches to regional development, employment change and working conditions.
  • Low carbon mobility – the transition to low carbon personal mobility and the impacts of future sustainable mobility practices on places and spaces.
  • Community finance – relationships between finance, data and community development.
  • Creative and cultural economies – the role of the creative and cultural industries in economic development.

Core cluster themes

  • Regional development, employment change and working conditions
  • Low carbon personal mobility practices
  • Creative and cultural industries and economic development

Inclusive economies

This cluster focuses on the study of new models and approaches to regional development, employment change and working conditions, and employment and skills policy and practice. Research on employment change and job quality includes cross-national analysis of the growth of the temporary staffing industry, diversity management and social dialogue, urban labour markets, business models and low-pay, and workplace health. New empirical and theoretical insights on employment entry and progression have been generated through the ESRC-funded project Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction. This research has been published in leading journals and has helped inform the design of a new Health and Care Sector Work Academy pilot programme. Research has also critically assessed new approaches to regional development and the focus on ‘inclusive growth’, including the Regional Strategies for Sustainable and Inclusive Territorial Development project (funded by ESPON), and studies of regional innovation systems.

Low carbon mobility

This looks at the development and implications off low carbon mobility for economies. It analyses the consumer/producer policy drivers of change in the transport arena; the transition to low carbon personal mobility and the impacts of future sustainable mobility practices on places and spaces. Work on low carbon mobility has seen innovative funding, partnerships and co-production of research and impact; including collaborations with The Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership (LowCVP), the AA, Horiba-Mira, Coventry City Council, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, the Motorsport Industry Association, Siemens, Silverstone Technology Cluster and UKTI. Research has yielded important new insights into the UK automotive R&D&I landscape and the global motorsport and performance engineering supply chain. The Urban- Rural Connections in Non-Metropolitan Areas project (funded by ESPON) identified new accessibility and mobility solutions for peripheral areas in Europe. Other research has focused on solutions for upgrading regional technology and transport infrastructure to support low carbon and smart cities developments. Research has been published in leading transport and business journals.

Community finance

The community finance team has generated new and significant insights into the relationships between finance, data and community development, focusing on personal lending and SME access to finance. This includes work on understanding the size, dynamics and performance of the social investment market. Research on bank lending and data disclosure examined the Government’s voluntary framework for disclosure of bank lending data. It provided the first analysis of this new data and within the broader landscape of personal and SME lending. The trade and industry body UK Finance adopted recommendations resulting from the significant stakeholder interest in the work. Similarly, this interest also encouraged UK Finance to organise meetings and presentations in HMG Treasury and the Houses of Parliament. Collaborative networks have been critical in driving impact, including working in partnership with key industry bodies, such as Responsible Finance.

Creative and cultural industries in economic development

This theme explores the economic and social impacts of creative and cultural activities and the policies and business which influence these. Research insights provided new evidence to support the recognition of rural touring arts within the new ‘placebased’ 10-year Arts Council England strategy. Work on leadership in the cultural sector is significantly contributing to legacy activities for Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture; other research has informed improved practice for business support in the sector. New understandings of creative freelancer business models are being developed through research funded by AHRC/NESTA. Strong collaborative and practice networks have underpinned the impact and uptake of research recommendations, including the Coventry City of Culture Trust, Create Scotland, National Heritage Lottery Fund and National Rural Touring Forum.

Key researchers

This cluster is led by Dr. Paul Sissons and Dr. David Jarvis and benefits from a collegiate group of research staff, associates, PhD candidates and visiting professors.


Dr Paul Sissons

Paul focuses on developing research insights which are policy relevant and communicating these to policy audiences. Examples include providing an invited response at the UK launch of the OECD Skills Strategy in 2012; presenting an expert paper on low-wage work to skills policymakers from Scotland; and, being an expert witness at a Scottish Government Inquiry into underemployment.

His research has also been cited in a number of Government publications including the Black Review of Sickness Absence and Social Mobility: the next steps.


Dr David Jarvis

David Jarvis is Reader in Local and Regional Economic Development, with research interests in economic development and economic impact, manufacturing sectors, clusters and economies and neighbourhood regeneration, faith and community. David was also the founding Academic Programme Director for the Faculty’s Professional Doctorate (DBA), and sits on the Management Group of the University’s Future Transport and Cities (FTC) Research Centre.

Since completion of his PhD in 2002, David has held a series of full-time professional research posts in both commercial consultancy and higher education settings.

David has secured, managed and delivered more than 70 funded research or evaluation projects for clients across the public, private and charitable sectors. In the course of doing so, he has gained extensive direct experience of utilising both quantitative and qualitative research methods.


Visiting Professor David Bailey

David Bailey from Aston University, an influential business expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy, is perhaps best known for his knowledge of UK car manufacturing. As an author, regular media commentator and newspaper columnist, he has provided articles and commentary on key economic and regional policy issues.

Most recently, David has undertaken European funded research on using foreign investment to upgrade clusters and on industrial and regional policy and the rise of ‘phoenix’ industries, such as the low carbon vehicles cluster in the West Midlands.


Visiting Professor Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is a Professor of Business Strategy and Director of Community: Strategy, People and Leadership at Cranfield School of Management.

Mark’s teaching, research and consulting activities focus on the areas of competitive strategy and innovation. He is the author of a number of books on strategic management issues, including Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula One Motor Racing, Advanced Strategic Management and The Customer Centred Strategy.

Mark is on the editorial boards of Long Range Planning, Organization Studies and the Journal of Management Studies. Mark was a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) panel for Business and Management.

PhD opportunities

The Economic Development and Inclusive Economies research cluster focuses on policies and practices for growth and development, and the economic and social outcomes which follow from these; with a particular emphasis on  issues of inclusion. We welcome PhD applications which explore a range of topics relating to growth and inclusion. These include city growth, employment policy, social investment and community finance; and the impact of economic development, such as strategies for local and regional economies, including advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship and business models. 

The cluster also welcomes PhD applications from suitably qualified candidates interested in pursuing historical research in line with our research themes. The expertise of our cluster members covers the following continents: Africa; Australasia; Europe; Latin America; and North America. PhD researchers are a core part of our cluster and benefit from the opportunity to work with scholars at various stages of their career.

Self-funding or corporately sponsored PhD applications are always welcome. Some fees-only bursaries and full studentships might be available on a competitive basis.

For all enquiries in the first instance regarding the Economic Development and Inclusive Economies research cluster, please contact Dr David Jarvis or Dr Paul Sissons.

Centre for Business in Society

Find out more about the research carried out by the CBiS team.

Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021