Phil Tomlinson



Accepting PhD Students


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 industrial strategy. In these spheres,  I have a particular interest in the conduct and performance of small and medium sized firms. 

I am especially interested in exploring the nature of relationships between firms and also with institutions within regional clusters (and/or ‘industrial districts’) and more broadly within inter-firm and industry networks, which tend to have a wider geographical scope. I am interested in the impact of inter-firm co-operative ties and the role of institutions upon firm and industry performance and also in relation to innovation/innovative activities and again in exploring the wider implications of these linkages for local and regional development paths. These issues are at the forefront of contemporary debate, and in which I have made a significant contribution to the business economics, management and social science literature, with over 50 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  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 and Regulation (CGR) and I also work closely with the University's Institute for Policy Research (IPR). 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 have also contributed to several media articles in The Conversation.

My work has previously been funded by the ESRC and I am currently the lead researcher on a Regional Studies Association Expo grant.  I have also undertaken several consultancy projects in relation to regional development.

Willing to supervise PhD

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.

Education / Academic qualification

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy

1 Oct 201531 Jan 2016

Economics, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Warwick

1 Oct 199730 Sep 2001

Economics, Master in Science, University of Warwick

1 Oct 199530 Sep 1996

Business and Financial Economics, Bachelor of Arts, Staffordshire University

27 Sep 199230 Jun 1995


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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2015 2019

Research Output 2000 2017


Fai, F. & Tomlinson, P. 4 Jun 2017 Regional Studies Association 2017 Annual Conference: GREAT REGIONAL AWAKENING: NEW DIRECTIONS. Regional Studies Association, p. 216 - 216 1 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Firms, Governance, and Development in Industrial Districts

Tomlinson, P. R. & Branston, J. R. 12 Jun 2017 In : Regional Studies. 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

industrial district
industrial zone
industrial development
Industrial economics
Mergers and acquisitions

Addressing 'strategic failure': widening the public interest in the UK financial and energy sectors

Branston, J. R., Cowling, K. G., Tomlinson, P. R. & Wilson, J. R. 1 Apr 2016 Global Economic Crisis and Local Economic Development: International Cases and Policy Responses. Begley, J., Coffey, D., Donnelly, T. & Thornley, C. (eds.). London, U. K.: Routledge, p. 188-212 240 p. 10. (Routledge Studies in the Modern World Economy)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citations

Perceptions of governance and social capital in Ghana’s cocoa industry

Abbey, P., Tomlinson, P. R. & Branston, J. R. 1 Apr 2016 In : Journal of Rural Studies. 44, p. 153-163 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
social capital
value chain