Addressing regional inequalities in innovation opportunities for BAME and disabled groups
Helen Lawton Smith has been awarded a Regional Studies Association Fellowship Grant (FeRSA) on ‘Addressing regional inequalities in innovation opportunities for BAME and disabled groups’. The study beginning in January 2020 will last a year.
The purpose is to understand and explain the UK geography of support for innovators in BAME and disabled groups. It will map the provision of support for under-represented and under-utilised the groups of business innovators recognising their intersectionality. The project is a follow-up to the eight month Innovate UK commissioned project (Jan 2019-August 2019) which aimed to understand barriers and opportunities for innovation for a diverse range of people.
The study will address three research questions. These are first, what are the national and regional institutional contexts in which support organisations for BAME and disabled innovators operate and to what extent do they affect their ability to function? The second is, how does UK business innovation support compare with that in other countries such as the USA? And third, in what ways could public policy initiatives be improved to help such organisations in delivering support for business innovation?
Fully utilising BAME and disabled innovators is currently high on the political agenda and the work will impact government support agencies by informing decision-making on the kinds of policies needed to improve the provision, design, demand and effectiveness of innovation support for these two groups. The project is novel in that it will add new knowledge and understanding about diversity and inclusion of innovation in a regional context. It will map the provision by type of institution so that the major actors, their stakeholders and kinds of provision and possible actions are identified. Interviews with support organisations will determine what is available to which kinds of clients’ profile (e.g. sector, age and gender) and where there are opportunities and gaps in support. Examples of best practice will be provided in the UK resulting from this research. By drawing on research in other countries notably the USA, it will provide a comparative perspective on capacity building in different contexts.
Study team: Helen Lawton Smith and Dina Mansour
I am delighted to be awarded this FeRSA award. It will highlight the great work of support agencies for disabled and BAME innovators and entrepreneurs in regions across the UK and where more intervention on their behalf is needed.
This project extends and enhances the research portfolio of the Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR). It provides avenues for further research by myself, colleagues, PhD students and Masters students and for publication. I will benefit from the prestige the award brings as well as the impact that the work will have at a regional and national level.