Meet the experts

Find out more about the team of researchers actively involved in the University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory.

We have a vibrant research environment with nearly 200 research-active staff across the University and over 330 doctoral students. Independent Chair of the University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory (UDREO) is Marcus Dejardin Professor of Economics at the University of Namur and the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Find out more about of our team of researchers below.

University of Derby researchers

Our team of researchers from within the University offer a breadth of expertise across a range of different subjects and sectors. Follow the links to find out more about their research profiles.

Independent Chair


Marcus Dejardin is Professor of Economics at the University of Namur and the Université Catholique de Louvain. He has developed expertise in entrepreneurship, innovation, regional economics, and public policy analysis. Marcus is Director of the Chair of Excellence for Research and Expertise in Entrepreneurship (CHEREE) and of the Center for Research in Regional Economics and Economic Policy (CERPE). He is the Founding Editor of the New Economics Papers - Entrepreneurship Newsletter. He serves as an Editor of Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal; an Associate Editor of The Annals of Regional Science and of Revue d'Economie Régionale et Urbaine - Journal of Regional and Urban Economics.

Affiliate research team

Our team of affiliate researchers are based in universities both in the UK and internationally, providing a wealth of expertise.

Ross Brown is a Professor at the School of Management within the University of St. Andrews. His main thematic areas of research are entrepreneurship, innovation and public policy. His career has included periods in industry, consultancy and over a decade in public policy. He has extensive experience of managing and undertaking research for a range of research funders and clients. During this time, he has undertaken and managed a number of major research projects for the Economic and Social Research Council, the Scottish Government, the Anglo-German Foundation, the OECD and the Institute for Chartered Accountants Scotland, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. He has also undertaken research and acted as an expert adviser to the European Commission, Northern Ireland government, Scottish Enterprise, Action Canada and the LEED programme within the OECD. This has resulted in widely cited OECD publications such as Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurship.


Elisa Ughetto is Associate Professor at the Department of Management and Production Engineering at the Politecnico de Torino. Her research broadly investigates innovation as a whole, with a specific attention to the value chain. She researches the process of product development right up to the activities that are necessary to bring the innovation to market. Her work investigates both the long-term strategic decisions and the operating decisions needed to devise the use of production inputs in the short and medium term, including financial engineering and firm organization’ choices. These issues are examined in the context of both the entrepreneurial and firm creation processes mainly linked to technological innovation.

Neil is a Professor of Economic Geography at LSE. His research considers economic development, innovation, public policy, and inequality. Recent studies have considered the impact of high-technology sectors on low-wage labour markets, access to finance for small-to-medium-enterprises (SMEs) in cities across the world, and new forms of innovation policy. Current projects include an investigation into innovation in Kuwait, a comparative study of innovative clusters in East Asia, and research on the geography of populism. He is also working on inclusive growth and inclusive innovation policy. He has worked with public and private sector organisations including NESTA, the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, and the UK government.  


Josh Siepel is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Management at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on the intersection between entrepreneurship, skills and innovation, with particular reference to the role of creative industries and creative skills in the economy. He leads the Clusters and Innovation workstrand of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre. He is the PI at Sussex for the ERDF DRIVA (Digital Research in Innovation Value Accelerator) project. He has been PI for research projects valued at over £1.37 million. His research focuses on exploring policy-relevant issues with academic rigour. For instance he was the lead author of the 2016 Fusion Effect report for Nesta, which documented the economic impact of the combination of arts and creative skills in the UK. His research has been covered in publications including Forbes, HR Magazine and Arts Professional, and has been cited in parliamentary evidence in the UK and Canada and by the World Economic Forum. He has carried out commissioned research for the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Nesta, the National Physical Laboratory, British Venture Capital Association, and European Commission. His research has been published in journals such as Small Business Economics, Industrial and Corporate Change, Technovation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, R&D Management and Critical Perspectives on Accounting.

Sébastien Bourdin is a Professor of Sustainable and Regional Development. He joined EM Normandie 2012. He has a PhD in geography from the Université de Rouen-Normandie, awarded in 2012. His thesis is on economic and regional development, and the evaluation of public policies. His research interests are the effectiveness of cohesion policy, economic integration in the European Union and the circular economy. His main research interests are the European Union with a specific interest in the countries of central and eastern Europe and France. He has been Deputy Dean of the faculty on the Caen campus since 2019.


Raffaella is an academic fellow at the Scottish Parliament. She is a member of the Credit Research Centre and the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence University of Edinburgh. She is also part of the Fintech team at the Edinburgh Future Institute. Her research and collaborations with industry (such as Moody's Analytics, Nationwide, RBS, Barclays, SAS and Bank of England) are focused on developing new models for analysing credit risk and Fintech. The former includes scoring models, modelling of loss given default, stress testing and interpretability. Raffaella has applied a variety of methods to measure default risk for SMEs and for retail credit in the context of Basel II and III. She is also working on interpretability for machine learning techniques and use of alternative data (e.g. social media or mobile data) in the credit risk framework. For Fintech, she has proposed novel solutions to assess risk using Open Banking data such as affordability test and credit scoring. In general, she is interested in predictive analytics challenges, data mining and spatial econometrics.