If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research interests

My research embraces an inter-disciplinary approach with a strong research interest in the interplay between economic governance (which includes regulation), innovation, regional development and place-based industrial strategy. In these spheres,  I have a particular interest in the conduct and performance of small and medium sized firms. 

I have a long-standing interest in exploring the nature of relationships between firms and public and private 'anchor institutions' (such as universities or OEMs) within regional clusters (and/or ‘industrial districts’), regional innovation eco-systems and more broadly within inter-firm and industry networks, which tend to have a wider geographical scope. In this regard, recent work has examined the impact of collaborative ties and the role of institutions for firm and industry performance particularly in relation to innovation. I am especially interested in how place-based industrial strategies (such as Smart Specialisation) can be utlised to foster economic resilience and more balanced and inclusive growth at the regional level.  These issues are at the forefront of contemporary European economic policy debates, and in which I have made a significant contribution to the business economics, management, policy and social science literature, with over 75 articles published in leading academic journals, books and book chapters, and consultancy reports. These include the Economc Journal, Research Policy, Regional Studies, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Journal of Economics,  and The International Journal of Industrial Organisation among others. My Google Scholar profile can be viewed here

In the School of Management, I am the Deputy Director of the Centre for Governance, Regulation & Industrial Strategy (CGR&IS) and I also work closely with the University's Institute for Policy Research (IPR).  I am a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association, and my research been received by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Transport, NESTA, Innovate UK, The TUC, Industry Trade Associations and other business and regional organisations. I have also addressed the All Parliamentary Manufacturing Group of MPs on industrial and innovation policy and given other presentations at the UK Houses of Parliament. I was an invited chair and speaker at the EU Commission (Joint Research Council) 2018 Smarter Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development in Seville, and at the EU Commission's European Week of Regions and Cities 2018 (and again in 2020). I have also contributed to several media articles in The Conversation.

My work has previously been funded by the ESRC and I was the lead researcher on a Regional Studies Association Expo grant exploring Smart Specialisation and Industry 4.0 in lagging regions. I have also undertaken several consultancy projects in relation to regional development, and I am currently a Co-Investigator on a £1.5 million European Regional Development Fund grant to establish two business acceleration hubs in the South West. I also sat on the Advisory Board of the JPI Urban Europe  funded project (€1,688,585) entitled Smart Shrinkage Solutions (Fostering Resilient Cities in Inner Peripheries of Europe (3S Recipe)). In 2021, I was appointed to the Editorial Board of Regional Studies, as the Policy Debates Editor.  

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students who are interested in issues with regard to regional economic development, economic governance, SME performance (especially within regional clusters) and place-based industrial strategy (such as Smart Specialisation).

I am particularly interested in proposals that aim to uncover new insights in these areas through empirical investigation (either via qualitative and/or quantitative approaches) and possibly through studies which are international in scope, and which aim to provide lessons for both industrial and public policy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy

1 Oct 201531 Jan 2016

Award Date: 2 Mar 2016

Economics, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Warwick

1 Oct 199730 Sep 2001

Award Date: 16 Jan 2002

Economics, Master in Science, University of Warwick

1 Oct 199530 Sep 1996

Award Date: 31 Jan 1997

Business and Financial Economics, Bachelor of Arts, Staffordshire University

27 Sep 199230 Jun 1995

Award Date: 4 Jul 1995

External positions

External Examiner MSc Urban and Regional Development , Cardiff University

1 Oct 2021 → …

Editor, Regional Studies Journal

27 Jan 2021 → …

Member of Scientific Board , L'Industria

5 Jan 2021 → …

Super External Examiner, University of South Wales

1 Jun 2020 → …

Editor, RSA Policy Impact Book Series, Regional Studies Association

1 Dec 20198 Feb 2021

Member of Skills Advisory Panel, West of England Combined Authority

1 Dec 2019 → …

Member , Manufacturing Commission of All Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG)

6 Feb 2019 → …

Advisory Board , 3S Recipe - Smart Shrinkage Solutions (Funded by JPI Urban Europe)

15 Nov 201831 Mar 2020

Visiting Professor, Birmingham City University

1 Jun 2018 → …

Fellow, Regional Studies Association

1 Mar 2018 → …

Editor, Competition and Change

1 Jun 2016 → …


  • Industrial strategy
  • Regional development
  • Governance
  • Smart Specialisation
  • Innovation Networks
  • Small and Medium Sized Firms


Dive into the research topics where Phil Tomlinson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or