National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


Midlands Productivity Forum

The geographical heart of the UK, the central belt of England is home to nearly 11 million people, with a strong advanced manufacturing and engineering base. The West Midlands features a large number of industrial cities, including Birmingham, England’s second city, Coventry and Wolverhampton while the East Midlands has some of the country’s most arable lands and the cities of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester.

RPF logo for Midland

The Midlands Productivity Forum is led by the University of Warwick. It is involved in the implementation of research insights, the design of practical business and policy interventions, and in providing input to the development of the Institute’s future research agenda.

Members include stakeholders from policy, community and business leaders from local, national and multinational enterprises.

Key Contacts

Jonathan Duck

Midlands Forum Chair

Nigel Driffield

Professor Nigel Driffield

Midlands Forum Lead
University of Warwick


Delma Dwight

Midlands Engine

Ewa Bloch


Greg McDonald

Goodfish Group

Hilary Smyth-Allen

SuperTech WM

Mark Gregory

Staffordshire University (formerly EY)

Richard Evans


Roger Mendonca

Midlands Engine

Professor Jan Godsell

Loughborough University School of Business and Economics

Professor Mark Hart

Aston University

Professor Stephen Roper

University of Warwick

Terence Hogarth

University of Warwick

Andrew Todd

University of Warwick

Paula Deas MBE

Coventry City Council

Lee Barron

Trades Union Congress

Chris Warhurst

University of Warwick

Matt Dhillon


Carl Arntzen


Fiona Aldridge

West Midlands Combined Authority

Nick Glover

Henham Strategy

Maria Wishart

Warwick Business School

Ian Palmer

HVS Nuneaton

Michael Lewis

West Midlands Combined Authority

Irina Surdu-Nardella

University of Warwick

Geoff Pugh

Staffordshire University

Huw Edwards

Loughborough University

Thomas Triebs

Loughborough University

Felix Algate

The University of Manchester

Tim Baines

Aston University

Peter Dickinson

University of Warwick

Jun Du

Aston University

Beverley Nielsen

Birmingham City University

Ninder Johal


Richard Knott

University of Warwick

Sarah Windrum

Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Anna Bright

Sustainability West Midlands

Chris Wells

Wells Associates

Ken Gamble

Rob Harrison

Glued Marketing

Paula Mullin

Midlands Engine

Nazia Iqbal

Innovate UK

James Tallentire

West Midlands Combined Authority

Corin Crane

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Chris Corkan

Make UK

Rajdeep Kandola

Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Arman Mazhikeyev

Loughborough University

The East and West Midlands is home to 435,000 active businesses, 5.1m jobs and an annual economic output of more than £258bn (2019), it forms a significant part of the national economy. Historically, the Midlands has been known for manufacturing, and still boasts a number of global brands, with the challenge now to build on this heritage by building on opportunities presented by digitalisation and electric vehicles.  Exporting and Foreign Direct Investment are important to the region, however success is driven by a few sectors, notably advanced manufacturing, transport equipment,  and professional services. , with life sciences contributing to a lesser extent.

There is a complex and convoluted set of institutions across the region. The West Midlands Combined Authority, set up in 2016 with an elected Mayor,  is made up of three Local Enterprise Partnerships covering Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The East Midlands region is a less coherent economic geography with