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Award-winning regional development expert joins AMBS

  • Wednesday, March 2, 2022
  • School

Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés has been appointed Chair of Regional Economic Development at Alliance Manchester Business School. She will be based in the Innovation, Management and Policy (IMP) Division and will be a member of both The Productivity Institute (TPI), and the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR). She takes up her post on 1 June 2022.

The award-winning academic previously held the Chair in Regional Economic Development at the City-REDI research institute at Birmingham Business School, and her current research work focuses on urban and regional inequalities and development, innovation and entrepreneurship. She also researches topical, current issues such as the regional impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 and the regional effects of the digital economy and automation.

Professor Ortega-Argilés said she was thrilled to be joining AMBS. She said: “I am delighted to be joining the Alliance Manchester Business School as part of MIoIR and The Productivity Institute. This is a wonderful opportunity to further develop my work on the empirics on innovation, productivity and levelling up.”


Professor Ortega-Argilés has also previously held positions at the University of Birmingham, the University of Groningen, Technical University of Lisbon, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the Max-Planck Institute of Economics, and the University of Barcelona.

She is the holder of the 2019 Martin Beckmann Prize for the Best Paper published in Papers in Regional Science for her work on the economic exposure to Brexit in European regions, the 2016 Regional Studies Best Paper Award, and the 2021 Martin Beckmann Prize for the Best Paper published in Papers in Regional Science for her work on the regional dimensions of smart specialisation and the measurement of regional entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Her work has been published in international journals such as Canadian Journal of Economics, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Empirical Economics, Science and Public Policy, Small Business Economics, Regional Studies, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Economic Geography, the Journal of Regional Science and in refereed books on innovation and entrepreneurship, European policy or regional economic development topics. 


As a Principal Applicant and Lead Investigator, Professor Ortega-Argilés has been awarded a range of projects from sources, including the ESRC, the European Commission, the OECD, and the European Investment Bank.

For instance, she recently led two specific ESRC projects, one of which looked at the impact of Brexit on the UK regions, cities, and sectors, while the other looked at post-Brexit policy support needs. She was also involved in an ESRC Rebuilding Macroeconomics research programme on the long-run consequences of adverse economic shocks on UK regional and urban inequalities.

Her policy advisory roles are with high-level institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the EU Committee of the Regions, the OECD, the European Investment Bank, and the European Commission Joint Research Centre, as well as government ministries in the UK, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Italy and Greece. She is also a co-author of the European Commission’s official guide on developing regional innovation and smart specialisation strategies.

Productivity Laboratory

Bart van Ark, Professor of Productivity Studies and Director of The Productivity Institute, said: “The Productivity Institute is excited about Raquel joining Alliance Manchester Business School where the Institute’s headquarters is located. As part of her new appointment she will take on the role of Director of the Institute’s Productivity Laboratory, which will be launched on 1 June.

“The Productivity Lab will be the empirical engine of the Institute bringing together a diversity of data sources on productivity and facilitating researcher and other user access to those data. Raquel brings a long-standing experience in leading data infrastructures in Europe to this new activity of the Institute.”


Professor Fiona Devine, Head of Alliance Manchester Business School, said: “I am delighted to welcome Raquel to Alliance Manchester Business School. With her expertise in regional economic development she will add considerable strength to our cluster of colleagues describing and explaining regional economic growth and offering practical policy solutions for regions which need extra support of all kinds.

“This topic is one of the most pressing challenges for the UK as it emerges from the global pandemic and the opportunities for renewal that need to be taken.” 

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: "I am thrilled that Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés is taking up such a prestigious and important role here at The University of Manchester. Her work on urban and regional inequalities, and on the regional impacts of issues such as Brexit, Covid-19, the digital economy and automation, will I'm sure have far-reaching impact and value."