Regional Economic Observatory to positively impact the region’s businesses, people and communities

15 February 2022

person working on laptop and charts

A new independent initiative is being launched by the University of Derby designed to support businesses and communities within the region to have their say about their growth and the decision making that affects them.

The University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory (UDREO) aims to work with local businesses to build a robust evidence base to inform economic and social policy deliberations, engage with people and communities and produce analysis to support engagement with local and national government policy.

The University will regularly collect empirical data on business intelligence, social attitudes and the labour market, so it can report on the real challenges, barriers and opportunities facing the region.

The UDREO’s first task has been to develop a new business diagnostic tool, designed to collect data that will enable key decision makers, the supply chain and support services to focus their efforts for maximum return, inform how businesses can recover and improve performance during the current challenging economic climate.

The business diagnostic tool and wider UDREO initiative will be launched at the University ‘Planning for Growth in 2022’ event on Wednesday 16 February, where businesses can learn more about the programmes, funding, consultation services and advice offered to businesses by the University.

Dr Mark Gilman, Professor of Economics at the University of Derby, is leading the initiative. Speaking about the launch, he said:

“Business growth is integral to successful regional economies. However, many firms are constrained by factors such as employee skills, finance, innovation and strategic planning, and are experiencing new challenges, intensified by pandemic.

“To support companies in addressing these obstacles, the University’s business diagnostic tool will focus on helping organisations grow quicker, work better, and perform more competitively. Our mission is to make a real difference to the region’s businesses, people, and the communities they live in, with evidence based informed solutions rather than policy-based evidence making.

“The UDREO’s reporting will provide a platform for them to have their say about what is having a positive or negative impact on their growth, so that the decisions affecting them can be made with real data and insight.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University Professor Kamil Omoteso, added: “We are delighted to be launching the University of Derby Regional Economic Observatory to businesses and community leaders at our Planning for Growth event.

“At Derby, we recognise the inter-connectedness of people, work, business and community in a way that transcends traditional policymaking. This initiative and our tools will identify current and future barriers and opportunities and inform our research agendas to help us build a resilient economy as we recover from the impact and challenges of the pandemic.”

For more information about the Planning for Growth event.

Discover more about the UDREO here.

For further information contact the press office at