Manufacturing renaissance in industrial regions? Investigating the potential of advanced manufacturing for sectoral and spatial rebalancing

The persistent sectoral and spatial imbalances in the British economy have provoked a political call for rebuilding the country's manufacturing base. It is argued that supporting manufacturing industry, especially in the North and Midlands, will not only help provide a more stable mode of economic growth, but promote a more even geographical distribution of growth. Advanced manufacturing is a key part of many emerging local industrial strategies. However, these local strategies being developed at a time when manufacturing is undergoing profound changes, and faces a turbulent context including the effects of AI and robotics.

Focusing on the advanced manufacturing industries seen as key to any industrial renewal, this project, funded by the ESRC, seeks to explain the determinants and geographies of their differential economic performance. It examines whether and how 'traditional' industrial regions provide a conducive context for their growth, and whether there are significant local, regional and urban dimensions to the causes of advanced manufacturing development.