TUCan Market Insight

Research, analysis and evidence, University
Ortus ER was engaged by Teesside University to assist their investment planning and decision making. This research focused on the TUCan digital studio, a unit within the Computing Science department, which has begun to work with external organisations to deliver digital content via a model which involves the academic team supported by current student and alumni. The projects provide real-world challenges for staff and students, through which students can gain vital experience within a supportive, multi-disciplinary environment. Our study examines options for developing and expanding this service through a review of potential business models, the market for digital services and a competitor assessment.
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Athena SWAN application evidence base

Equality and diversity, Research, analysis and evidence, University
Another partnership between Ortus Economic Research and Dr Eugenie Hunsicker at Loughborough University, this study was commissioned to support the EDI Manager at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in generating evidence of the equality and diversity issues faced within the Institute. The prime aim of the study was to feed evidence into the development of an institutional application for an Athena SWAN Bronze award (submitted December 2020). The study considered all aspects of equality and diversity as well as gender in order to support institutional action in addressing EDI challenges. The project required us to analyse results of a staff survey and run numerous focus groups with academic and professional and support staff in order to create an insightful evidence base. We also provide ongoing guidance and a 'critical friend' role…
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Continuing our work in equality, diversity and inclusion

News
We have been busy across 2020 with two important contracts based in Ireland.  Both build on our previous work for Advance HE to evaluate the impact of the Athena SWAN Charter, which is designed to support higher education and research institutions to address gender inequalities.  The first, for the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, has seen us work closely with the Institute’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Mary Nestor, to provide the evidence needed to support their application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award.  This involved the design and administration of staff surveys and facilitation of six focus groups, including one with the Executive Board. The second, for the Irish Research Council (IRC), is to evaluate the IRC Gender Strategy and Action Plan, launched in 2013 with the aims of…
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NTCA strikes partnership with NICD

News
Two of our clients, the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) at Newcastle University have recently announced a new partnership to support economic growth and Covid-19 recovery.  NICD operates a unique business model within the higher education sector.  Instead of engaging with businesses and organisations through the usual contracted research approach, it focuses on developing the data science skills and capabilities of staff within client companies and organisations.  This is done through collaborative projects with NICD playing an advisory, mentoring role to support client staff to deliver a business-critical project and gain new skills and capabilities along the way.  This means that skills are developed within the client company, leading to sustainable productivity gains, ongoing innovation and long-term business performance improvements.  The…
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Design Economy work platformed at Atlanta Design Festival

News
Over recent years we have built up a close working relationship with the Atlanta Design Festival and have been honoured to have contributed on three occasions. One of the many disappointments of 2020 has been the postponement of the Festival.  But Festival organisers MA! are nothing if not adaptive and innovative.  Instead of holding a physical festival this year, they converted the Festival to an online event from 12th to 20th September. We were delighted to see the work we completed for them about the size and scale of the Atlanta Design Economy platformed in one of the sessions.  The presentation can be found at https://atlantadesignfestival.net/ We’re currently thinking about how design might help cities and places improve their recovery from the economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. …
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Ortus ER collaboration wins prestigious Planning Award

News
One of the most rewarding things that can happen in any job is to receive external acknowledgement of the quality and impact of your work.  So we were delighted to have recently discovered that a project we had collaborated on has won a prestigious Planning Award.  Specifically, the MK2050 Milton Keynes Strategic Growth Study won the Plan-Making category at the 2020 Planning Awards. Our role was to provide economic insight and to develop future economic scenarios so we could then outline what growth might look like over the next three decades. This was a challenging but very interesting brief, one which provided us with an opportunity to not only present detailed analysis, but to think through the implications of various types of growth and to consider wider economic, social and…
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Economic impact assessment of the Energy Central project

Evaluation and impact assessment, Sectors
Energy Central is a successful strategic partnership which has been established to promote the Blyth Estuary’s key role in the UK offshore renewable energy sector, through the development of key industrial sites, building research capability, and ensuring a skills pipeline that is relevant to the needs of the sector. The economic regeneration organisation Advance Northumberland (one of the partners in Energy Central) appointed a partnership of New Skills Consulting and Ortus ER to deliver an economic impact assessment of Energy Central and its potential to deliver further economic benefits in the future, based on a pipeline of development projects and initiatives. Key requirements of this project included providing a baseline position by mapping the current size and scale of the energy sector in the Blyth area and evidence of the…
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IRC Gender Strategy and Action Plan review

Equality and diversity, Evaluation and impact assessment, Higher Education
Ortus Economic Research, working in parternship with Dr Eugenie Hunsicker and Dr Gemma Witcomb from Loughborough University, are currently delivering a review of this the Irish Research Council's Gender Strategy and Action Plan. This important initiative, launched in 2013, is due to be refreshed and therefore a review of the current strategy was deemed to be an important and valuable step. The strategy has two key aims: to support gender equality in research careers across all disciplines and to support the integration of the gender dimension in research content. The review considers the impact of the current strategy, the current and likely future barriers and enablers to advancing gender equality and integrating the gender dimension into research, consideration of similar initiatives being delivered by other research funding agencies and the…
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UK Space clusters

NDPB, Research, analysis and evidence, Sectors
The UK Space sector has demonstrated that it is of key importance to the UK economy as a sector with significant growth potential. The Innovation Caucus at Sheffield University provides a range of advice and support to Innovate UK through its funding arrangements. The Innovation Caucus brought Ortus Economic Research into their team to develop a toolkit to allow existing and developing Space clusters across the UK to undertake a self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The self-assessment will be used drive decisions on support and funding. Our role was twofold: firstly, to assess available data related to the sector to consider whether there was an available source that could be used to quantify the size and value of local space clusters, and secondly to engage with…
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Creative Industries in the North of Tyne

Economic growth, Research, analysis and evidence, University
Ortus and survey partners Qa Research have been commissioned by Newcastle University to undertake a mapping study of the creative and cultural industries in the North of Tyne area. Scoping work in this area has identified that existing data is patchy in both coverage and depth, and some derived from national statistics rather than locally grounded research. This research will map the distinctive characteristics of the creative industries in the North of Tyne Combined Authority area and identify particular challenges or barriers to growth. The University has considerable research strengths in the creative and cultural industries and already works in partnership with the sector on a range of projects and strategic initiatives. The aim of this work is to better enable the University to identify and respond to local need…
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