NIESR Press Release: NIESR Welcomes Major New Productivity Institute

Published: 21st August 2020

NIESR welcomes major new productivity institute


The announcement of a major new initiative to address Britain’s long-standing productivity puzzle was welcomed today by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).


NIESR is a member of the core team directing the new Productivity Institute, which will be hosted at the Alliance Manchester Business School, and be funded to the tune of £32 million, including £26 million from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), over five years. The ESRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, which is funded principally by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Other partner institutions in this new initiative are the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, Cardiff and Warwick, together with King’s College London and Queen’s University Belfast.  Full details of the announcement can be accessed here.


The involvement reflects NIESR’s significant contribution to productivity research, which over several decades has involved ground-breaking work on productivity measurement, international comparisons and the link between productivity and education. Our annual Prais lecture recognises this interest and our current work on trade, finance, economic confidence, political uncertainty and institution-building, as well as regional imbalances, all focus on productivity trends.


NIESR will contribute to the new Institute by hosting a major strand of work on macroeconomics, led by Professor Jagjit Chadha and co-hosting the theme on governance, under the leadership of Professor Adrian Pabst. The Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, a research centre supported by the Office for National Statistics and hosted by NIESR, will lead a theme on the measurement of productivity under the direction of Rebecca Riley. Three other NIESR staff – Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane, Ana Rincon-Aznar and Dr David Nguyen, will also lead work packages in the strongly inter-disciplinary initiative.


Welcoming the new Institute, NIESR Director Professor Jagjit Chadha particularly pointed to the strong regional and inter-disciplinary balance of the new consortium, which will see the creation of eight Regional Productivity Forums across the country and the creation of a National Productivity Council which will be hosted by NIESR and facilitate an interface between experts and policymakers. He said: “This new Institute represents a concerted effort by government and the research community to address a long-standing Gordian knot.  I am delighted that NIESR has played a fundamental part in developing the initiative and will play a central role in driving forward research on issues that will address the evolution in national prosperity.”


NIESR Deputy Director Professor Adrian Pabst said:Failures of institutions, governance and policy are a major part of the UK’s productivity problem. Our research will seek to improve public understanding and design policies on industrial strategy, infrastructure investment, HE/FE and R&D. Post Brexit and in the context of Covid-19 a more productive, prosperous economy will also depend on better regional and national institutions”.


The new Institute will be led by NIESR alumnus Professor Bart Van Ark, who will be returning to the UK as Professor of Productivity Studies at Alliance Manchester Business School, from a position as Chief Economist at The Conference Board in the US.





Notes for editors:


The press release from UKRI, can be found here.

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