New Observatory to Shed Light on Midlands Economy

A powerful new economic observatory that will provide valuable data and insight to support the growth of the Midlands has been officially launched by the Midlands Engine Partnership.

The Midlands Engine Economic Observatory is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham representing the network of Midlands Innovation Universities, and Nottingham Trent University representing the Midlands Enterprise Universities, supported by the Black Country Consortium, SQW and Cambridge Econometrics.

Up-to-date analysis will allow the Midlands Engine Partnership to target resource in the most effective ways to present the evidence to Government on the best ways to accelerate growth in the economy.

Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University will work with the Observatory partners to initially deliver two flagship pieces of analysis:

  • An Independent Economic Review of the Midlands
  • An assessment of the potential impact of Brexit on the different sectors across the region

Will Rossiter, Associate Professor and Head of the Economic Strategy Research Bureau at Nottingham Business School, said: “The role of the Observatory is to present robust, intelligent and insightful evidence in a clear, concise, accessible and engaging way.

“There is already an extensive evidence base available, which we do not want to duplicate, so we will complement, build on and add real value to this by filling in gaps and offering fresh perspectives.”

The Observatory will also help the delivery of the strategic programmes within the Midlands Engine, including the transport arm Midlands Connect, trade and investment, skills, innovation and enterprise, and shaping places.

Another task of the observatory will be to provide a greater visibility of what is happening in the future for the Midlands, which is home to more than 10 million people and 800,000 businesses. This will allow businesses to be ready to react in an agile way to environmental and technology changes.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of delivering our modern Industrial Strategy and an economy which works for everyone, so I’m proud to see two of the region’s great universities come together with the Midlands Engine Partnership and other local experts to develop a rich picture of the Midlands economy.

“I look forward to seeing the analysis produced by the Observatory and continuing to work with our partners across the region to deliver our vision for a strong and prosperous Midlands Engine as we leave the European Union.”

Director of the MEU Jenny Kenning added: “The MEU looks forward to supporting the Observatory through member expertise including rural economics at University of Lincoln and the Centre for Brexit studies at Birmingham City University.”