UofG productivity events to 'unlock' prosperity for Scotland

Published: 27 November 2023

To help boost Scottish productivity and prosperity, the University of Glasgow has joined forces with the Scottish Productivity Forum and Productivity Club Scotland to deliver a programme of research and practical action.

National Productivity Week Scotland 2023

As part of National Productivity Week, the University will host three days of events from 29 November to 1 December to share new thinking about productivity, ways it can be measured and how to cultivate inclusive, sustainable growth. This work is part of the £32m ESRC-funded Productivity Institute (PI).

Improving productivity in the UK’s largest cities is critical to improving productivity and prosperity. There’s a direct link between improved productivity and:
• Higher wages and household incomes
• Stronger businesses
• Better public services
• A higher standard of living

The University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and School of Social and Political Sciences is a partner in the Productivity Institute, headquartered at Alliance Manchester Business School. Economic and business specialists, together with leading experts from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, are working directly with policymakers and business to better understand, measure and enable improvements in productivity across the UK.

The Scottish Productivity Forum is one of eight forums UK-wide working as part of the PI to unlock Scotland’s productivity puzzle, address regional issues of productivity to increase living standards, and build a stronger more resilient economy with sustainable growth. It includes representatives from the area’s key sectors including technology as well as from the public sector and academia.
To improve productivity and prosperity in Scotland, the work is focusing on people, the environment and finance. It looks at the challenges of productivity in a Scottish context driven by the values of prosperity for all. Examples of projects underway include:

• First crowdfunding platform project solely for women in business. Led by Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) and funded by Royal Bank of Scotland, this platform is unique in providing dedicated support and resources for women.

• UofG partnership with The Crichton Trust focusing on community-driven innovations that can support productivity in the rural economy, rural healthcare, and skills development. These aspects feed into community wellbeing at work, in neighbourhoods and homes. One example is the Robotics in Care collaboration between Crichton Trust, and UofG’s Social Sciences and Engineering Sciences. The project sought to support productivity in rural healthcare by considering how robots could support busy healthcare workers by undertaking basic support functions, leaving healthcare workers to focus on patient care.

• Developing purpose in business and how purpose can enhance productivity. This project explores what purpose means for a range of employees, what would empower them to drive purpose and what skills they need. It will also identify what businesses need to do to support them, including changes in work organisation, job redesign, people management, and worker voice practices within fair work principles.

• Prosperity and Productivity - The Role of Energy: Professor David Flynn of the University of Glasgow, is an expert in Cyber Physical Systems and Cyber Physical Infrastructure (CPS/CPI). His research explores the role of enabling CPS/CPI in the modernisation of our critical energy networks and services. In collaboration with communities, in projects such as ReFLEX and the Crichton Trust Knowledge Transfer Partnership he is exploring the energy transition and its influence on the quality of life and prosperity of communities. This work explores how existing and emergent business models can support local productivity and prosperity, whilst adapting to the challenges of supporting our ambitions to decarbonise our society and economy.

• Levelling up in four areas in Scotland to improve opportunities for people to enter education and work.

• Adam Smith Business School research which identified the key reasons for Scotland’s below average productivity and recommendations on how it could be improved.

Scotland Productivity Forum Co-Lead, Professor Bridgette Wessels said: “In today’s society, we are seeing a range of new issues in fostering sustainable productivity. Our context is that of climate change and the need to protect our environment, the development of a digital economy underpinning industries from manufacturing to finance, new skills and education requirements for work, and the need to foster a diverse workforce and jobs that are meaningful and rewarding for employees. We are nurturing new ideas, innovations and practices in productivity that align with contemporary values and ideas as well as with yielding financial, social and environmental good across the population and where they live.”

Professor Graeme Roy said: “Boosting Scotland’s productivity performance is key to improving economic prosperity and supporting the high value jobs and public services that we depend upon. Nowadays, there is greater appreciation that our efforts to deliver that productivity growth should not just be about improving narrow economic outcomes but broader environmental and social outcomes too. The week of activities at the University of Glasgow will showcase the practical steps and cutting-edge research that is helping to deliver real change to Scotland’s productivity performance.”

Productivity Clubs Scotland Programme Manager Eleonora Vanello said: “Following our recent Productivity Matters conference, where participants expressed a keen interest in in new ways of thinking about productivity, we are delighted to collaborate with the University of Glasgow and the Productivity Institute Scotland Forum in offering an engaging calendar of events to celebrate National Productivity Week. These sessions will serve as a platform to gain insights from industry leaders, academics, and experts, shedding light on emerging trends, innovative strategies, and best practice for a sustainable growth.”


First published: 27 November 2023

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