The Economic and Social Research Council is delighted to announce that the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth Centre (LEG) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have collectively received £2 million in extra funding from the Government to support a programme of work as part of the Industrial Strategy

The programme will comprise synthetic reviews, short term research projects and new data collection, which will support the implementation of the Industrial Strategy. The themes of the work will be:

Entrepreneurs and business growth

40% of growth in the workforce since 2008 has come from people working through their own businesses. The number of company owner-managers has doubled, so it is important to understand the characteristics of start-ups, reasons for recent trends and the effects that a changing labour market is having on productivity and growth.

Place

A key feature of the Industrial Strategy is place based strategies, so developing baseline data and understanding the factors behind geographic differences in innovation, productivity and growth is critical. 

Skills

The Industrial Strategy will need to consider how the education system can best create the general and specific skills needed by businesses today and in the future. Evidence will be produced on strengths and weaknesses in the current education system at all levels (schools, colleges and universities), highlighting where improvements can be made. There will also be a study into higher education institutions, with the aim of better understanding how they impact on local economies.

Wages and distributional impacts

It is critical to measure the impact of the Industrial Strategy on growth. But we also need to understand the implications for wages and wage distribution.  

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said: "I'm thrilled that we have successfully secured extra funding for these research centres. The UK has world-leading economists who can make a significant contribution, ensuring that rigorous research informs policy and practice. With BEIS, the National Productivity Council and others, we look forward to supporting our colleagues to generate new insights and evidence in 2018 and beyond."