Calling all researchers; a new PIN funding opportunity

The aim of the Productivity Insights Network+ is to rethink the productivity issues facing the UK and develop new insights through a place-based lens. More than 18 months into the project, PIN with the support of ESRC, has commissioned more than 25 interdisciplinary teams to pursue research projects that challenge conventional thinking about productivity. These projects have primarily been addressing the gaps in research raised by the Co-Investigators all leading on a theme related to productivity. PIN’s thematic review of productivity examined the current literature across the themes of; work and employment, education and skills, investment, infrastructure, innovation and enterprise, governance and health and wellbeing. The previously funded projects addressing these gaps can be found here

In addition to the themes steering the research, the esteemed International Advisory Board also advise the network on important aspects of productivity that merit further investigation. Following this feedback PIN is now pleased to announce that the call is now open for the first Targeted Call.

Targeted Small Grants are available to support new interdisciplinary directions in productivity research across the social sciences that engage partners and deliver impact. PIN is seeking insights within specific research areas of productivity and invites proposals investigating productivity in relation to:

• sustainability;

• infrastructure and/or land use;

• UK business investment (including financialisation) behaviour.

PIN welcomes applicants from interdisciplinary and inter-organisational research teams from across the diversity of the above areas. Applicants can see further guidance on infrastructure, FDI and Capital Investments and PIN Co-Director Professor Philip McCann’s Productivity Perspectives Synthesis under publications. The guidance below is for further information only and should not been seen as an exclusive list of research topics that the network wishes to receive. Proposals that meet all of the criteria and that could lead to new and novel insights within the themes above but do not sit within guidance below are also welcomed.


• Clean growth and environmental/climate issues affecting productivity

• The production of new technologies

• Firm-level adoption/adaptation of new environmental technologies

• Opportunities for adoption/adaptation of new environmental technologies for the productivity-enhancement of sectors, cities and regions

Infrastructure and/or land use

• The causal linkages between the outputs of infrastructure investment and economic gains

• The causal relationships between transport investments and economic performance

• Potential links between those places where poor transport acts as a significant constraint on growth

• The role played by the real estate and land markets in facilitating/inhibiting productivity growth.

• Displacement versus additionality effects of land use and infrastructure and/or different impacts on the production of tradeables versus non-tradeables

UK business investment behavior

• The extent to which location impacts on productivity, and why some locations have more ‘leading/frontier’ firms compared to others

• What are the specific shocks effects of the Great Recession on UK productivity that has resulted in permanent changes in Total Factor Productivity (TFP).

• The motivations driving firms’ engagement in FDI and trade, and its impact on Productivity

• The role of competition, firm entry and exit (i.e., Schumpeter-type ‘churning’), past and future trends in globalisation and regulation, across sectors and spatial locations.

The call is open now and closes on Monday 30th September and further guidance including the assessment criteria can be found here. Projects are expected to run for 4 months and be up to the value of £10,000. Applicants that believe their project would take longer than 4 months (but no more than 10 months) and cost more than £10,000 should contact to arrange an informal discussion.

If after reading the suggested documents you still have questions, please get in touch via email to