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Professor Stewart MacNeill

My research vision

I am interested in socio-economic approaches to regional economic development. One particular interest is the West Midlands automotive industry and its evolution from the production of standard or commodity vehicles to status or luxury vehicles.

This means a move from a production market, where consumers are anonymous, to a status market where consumers are more individualised. In the latter downstream networks involving added value services and purchaser valuation and lifestyle become important. Such services seek to interact with consumers’ knowledge and thus go beyond traditional marketing and selling.

I am also interested in the changing roles of Local Authorities as they seek to outsource services that were previously organised ‘in-house’. One significant change is that their knowledge base is changing from having significant technical, or ‘what’ based knowledge to one where tacit, or ‘how and who’ knowledge is most prevalent.

Stewart Macneill thumbnail.jpg

Visiting Professor - Economic Development

Building: Jaguar Building

Room: JAG 22


Stewart MacNeill graduated from Aston University in 1970. He then completed MSc (Mineral Chemistry, 1971) and PhD (Geochemistry, 1974) degrees at the University of Birmingham. After eleven years teaching in a College of Technology in Portsmouth, he returned to the University of Birmingham to the Continuing Education Department.

Later in his career he joined the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) as a senior lecturer. He then moved to the University Business School. On retirement he has joined the Centre for Business in Society as a Visiting Professor.

He has written widely about the automotive industry in Europe and has regularly provided expert advice on the industry to the UK Dept. for Trade and Industry and to the European Commission. He led the research and development of the West Midlands Regional Innovation Strategy Phases 1 and 2 funded by the EC. In addition, he has led a number of national and EC funded research, training and technology transfer projects. 

Selected outputs

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals

  • MacNeill, S., and Jeannerat, H. (2016) ‘Beyond Production and Standards: Toward a Status Market Approach to Territorial Innovation and Knowledge Policy’. Regional Studies 50 (2), 245-259. Available from
  • Market Approach to Territorial Innovation and Knowledge Policy, Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2015.1019847
  • He, S., MacNeill, S. and Wang, J. (2013) Assessing Overall Network Structure in Regional Innovation Policies: A Case Study of Cluster Policy in the West Midlands in the UK. European Planning Studies, DOI:10.1080/09654313.2013.812066
  • MacNeill S and Bailey D (2010) Changing Policies for the Automotive Industry in an ‘Old’ industrial Region: An Open Innovation Model International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management 10, 2/3, 128-144
  • MacNeill S and Steiner M. (2010) Translating Policy to Place Leadership: Lessons from the Austrian Province of Styria. Policy Studies, 31, (4), 441-456
  • Bailey, D., Kobayashi, S and MacNeill, S (2008) Rover and Out? Globalisation, the West Midlands Automotive Cluster and the end of MG-Rover. Policy Studies 29, 3, 267-279
  • Burfitt A and MacNeill S (2008) The Challenges of pursuing Cluster Policy in the ‘Congested State’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32, 2, 492-505
  • MacNeill, S. Jeffery, C and Gibney, J. (2007) The Changing Dynamics of Regional Representation in Brussels: A Case Study of West Midlands. Regional Studies, 41, 3
  • MacNeill, S. Burfitt, A., and Gibney, J (2007) The Dilemmas Of Operationalising Cluster Policy: The Medical Technology Cluster In The West Midlands. European Planning Studies, 15, 9
  • MacNeill, S. Chanaron J-J (2005) Trends and Drivers of Change in the European Automotive Industry: (II) Scenarios and Implications International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 5, 1

Books/Book Chapters 

  • MacNeill, S., Jürgens, U. and Blöcker, A. (2010) Knowledge networks and Processes in the Automotive Industry. In Cooke, P., de Laurentis, C MacNeill, S. and Collinge C (Eds.) (2010). Platforms of Innovation: Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows. Elgar, London.
  • Blöcker A, Vervaeke M, Bailey D, Macneill S, Calabrese G (2010) Le Polititiche Industriali per l’Automotive in Europa. In G Calabrese (Ed) La Filiera delloStile e le Politiche Industriali per l’Automotive in Piemonte in Europa. Franco Angeli, Milano 

Selected projects

  • Regional Integrated Strategies in Europe
    EC EPSON (2010-2012)
  • Economic Impact of Cadbury's in Birmingham and the WM region
    Cadbury's/Blue Rubicon Ltd. (2008-2009)
  • Republic of Moldova: Regional Economic Development
    Dept. for International Development (2008-2009) 
  • EURODITE – Regional Trajectories to the Knowledge Economy
    EC Framework 6 Programme (2005-2010) 
  • Social Impacts of Change in the European Automotive Industry
    European Commission – Foundation for Living and Working Conditions (2003-2004)
  • Technological Trajectories in the Automotive Industry
    Dept. for Trade and Industry (2000-2001)
  • Creative Clusters and Innovation
    NESTA (2009-2010)
  • EUROMOTOR – High Level Training in Automotive Engineering and Management
    EC Comett, Force and Leonardo Da Vinci Programmes (1995-2000)
  • West Midlands’ medical technologies research capacity
    Advantage West Midlands (2002-2003)
  • West Midlands Regional Innovation Strategy Phases 1 & 2
    EC, Advantage West Midlands, Dept. for Trade and Industry (1999-2000) 
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023