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MIoIR welcomes delegates from across the world to major conference

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR), based at AMBS, welcomed almost 500 delegates from 33 countries this week as it hosted the prestigious Geography of Innovation (GeoInno) conference over three days at The University of Manchester.

The seventh edition of the conference, which is held every two years, brings together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines ranging from economic geography and regional science, to economics and management science, sociology and network theory, and political and planning sciences.

Elvira Uyarra, Executive Director of MIOIR addresses the conference

Global representation

Professor Elvira Uyarra, Director of MIoIR, said: “We were thrilled to host the conference and delighted by such an incredible turnout and global representation. The diversity of attendees and range of topics covered in the parallel sessions is a testament to the ever-growing academic community in the geography of innovation field.

 “As a University-wide research Institute the mission of MIoIR is to carry out impactful research tackling key challenges like sustainability, health, productivity, and inequality, and we were especially delighted to host the conference at the beginning of The University of Manchester’s bicentenary celebrations. Innovation and enterprise for societal impact – whether driving economic growth or addressing pressing challenges in areas like healthcare and sustainability – have always been key priorities of the University.”

Innovation and Manchester

Fellow conference organiser Dr Mabel Sanchez Barrioluengo added: “Over three days we heard fascinating and in-depth discussions across diverse themes such as the role of universities in regional development, institutions and economic development, innovation in peripheral regions, and the geography of green innovation, all bringing together both young and senior scholars from different fields in almost 100 parallel sessions.

“The themes of the conference hold a special significance for Manchester. As the world’s first industrial city, Manchester was the shock city of urban transformation. Today Manchester has successfully reinvented itself as a hub of creative, digital and technology industries, and innovation remains central to the city’s economic vision, and to critical debates on achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Heart of city

The conference was opened by Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester. She said: “This conference is highly relevant to Manchester given that our University has had a long-standing role in innovation in the city and that the theme of innovation is very much at the heart of our strategy. Today Manchester is one of the fastest growing innovation hubs in Europe and one of the youngest and most diverse cities.”

Professor Ken McPhail addresses the GeoInno 2024 conference

Her words were echoed by Professor Ken McPhail, Head of AMBS, in his opening address. He added: “It is fitting that the conference is here in Manchester with its own long history of radical innovation and discovery. Innovation and entrepreneurship are key strategic priorities for our School, and we need to understand through conferences such as these how we can grow our economy through innovation and increasing productivity.”


Other members of the Geoinno Manchester organising committee were Professor Silvia Massini, Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés, Professor Kieron Flanagan, Professor Philip Shapira, Dr Shukhrat Nasirov, Dr Cornelia Lawson, Dr. Peng Khoon Gerald Chan, Professor Bruce Tether, and Professor Philip McCann.

A delegate asks a question from the audience

The conference was sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities Hallsworth Conference Fund, The Regional Studies Association and The Productivity Institute, and supported by Manchester Urban Institute and Creative Manchester.