CRED’s recent work covers a wide range of research projects. There are links to the final report of our projects except where the client has exempted this.

Future Makerspaces in Redistributed Manufacturing project feasibility studies

Funding Source : Royal College of Arts (2017)

This research looked to address some of the questions raised by the Future Makespace in Redistributed Manufacturing project, informed by the previous NESTA research and dataset. Specifically, the research sought to answer two key questions:  How do makerspaces integrate into host organisations and how do they create benefits for local economies?

CN Group Focus groups

Funding Source :  CN Group (2017)

CRED were commissioned by the CN Group to conduct a series of focus groups.

BREXIT and the Border

Funding source: ESRC (2017)

The Universities of Cumbria, Heriot-Watt and Northumbria are hosting a series of one-day seminars to look at the implications for the regions that adjoin the Anglo-Scottish Border.  The first event on March 10th at the University of Cumbria brings together a range of experts from academia, industry, policy and community to debate: 


Carlisle Food City

Funding source: HEIF Catalyst fund (2016)

HEIF funds were secured to support CRED’s involvement in the development of the concept of a “food City” in Carlisle. This involved consultations with local food producers and suppliers and interviews with industry experts nationally. An on-line annotated “map” of businesses involved in the local food supply chain was developed

Introduction to Local Economy

Funding source: HEIF Catalyst fund (2016)

CRED received funding to support market assessment and piloting of new workshops on the local economy aimed at local partnerships involved in economic development. Workshops were developed on “Understanding the Local Economy: Production versus People” and “Data-informed Local Economic Policymaking”.

Research and Innovation in Cumbria

Funding source: Cognitive Cumbria Partnership / University of Cumbria Enterprise (2016)

In recent years, indicators of innovative performance have been developed and applied to counties in England (LEP areas). In this study, CRED produced a report on business innovation in Cumbria compared to other counties across England, prepared for the Cognitive Cumbria Group. It is shown that while Cumbria ranks fairly low on many indicators, this average masks significant innovation in some sectors and certain types of firms that demonstrate high levels of innovation in product and process. A more nuanced evidence-base is required. 

Read the report (PDF)

Copeland Skills

Client: Copeland Borough Council (2016)

CRED was commissioned to assist Copeland Partnership in meeting three major deliverables specified within the Copeland Work & Skills Partnership Programme Development plan that included preparation of bids for the European Structural Investment Fund, Copeland Community Fund and Big Lottery. This was achieved by conducting research to provide evidence that underpinned the action plan on work, skills and social inclusion. 

Project Management Skills Provision: Overview and Gap Analysis

Funding source: University of Cumbria Sellafield Project Management R&D (2016)

This project involved an analysis of provision of Project Management education and training in and around the county of Cumbria as well as a review of literature on the design and delivery of project management courses and training. This included examining current provision and identifying best practice.

The Challenges faced by Social Enterprises in North West England

Funding source: University of Cumbria Enterprise (2015)

CRED contributed towards a University Project funded by UnLtd that investigated the challenges faced by social enterprises in the North-west region. Data from a survey of 98 social enterprises was used to analyse their sectoral and size characteristics as well as their need for business support. 

Read the report (PDF)

Research Projects on Better Regulation

Client: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (2015)

CRED was commissioned by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to research the effects of regulation on small and micro-businesses (SMBs) that are experiencing rapid growth and development. The study was based on case study methodology in North-West England. The aim of the project was to use these cases to illustrate how multiple regulatory requirements impact on businesses.

Developing the Framework for a Borderlands Strategy

Client: Association of North East Councils and the Institute for Local Governance (2015)

Joint report with Northumbria University

The Institute of Local Governance (on behalf of Northumberland County Council and the wider Borderlands Steering Group) commissioned the Universities of Cumbria and Northumbria to produce a detailed Framework Document that would underpin the development of a collaborative approach to economic development in the Borderlands.

Read the report (PDF)

Cumbria Strategy for Digital Technologies in Health and Social Care

Client: Cumbria Rural Health Forum (2015)

This project involved provision of research support for the Cumbria Strategy for Digital Technologies in Health and Social Care. This included examining regional variation in the uptake of e-health and identifying the barriers and enablers to successful implementation of e-health.

'Political Minecraft' project

Client: Lancaster University (Creative Exchange Hub funded by AHRC) (2015)

CRED provided academic research support for the “Political Minecraft” project which was designed to enable young people in North Cumbria to become more actively engaged in local democracy. CRED’s support was to provide analysis of socio-economic data for Carlisle.

Evaluation of the EDGE programme

Client: Carlisle College (2015)

CRED was commissioned by Carlisle College to carry out an evaluation of The EDGE programme. This programme, funded by the European Social Fund, is to support skills needs in Cumbria with a focus on employed individuals, especially young adults. The Edge has already supported over 3,000 learners and 900 employers.

Evaluation of the EDGE programme

Economic Review of Carlisle

Client: Carlisle City Council (2015)

CRED was commissioned by Carlisle City Council to update the Economic Review of the City.

BEC Nuclear Supply Chain

Client: Britain’s Energy Coast (2014)

CRED’s role was to carry out research on patterns of contracting in the Sellafield supply chain with particular emphasis on the role and significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Evaluation of UNITE with Business ERDF Project

Client: University of Central Lancashire (2014)

This research sought to evaluate key aspects of the UNITE with Business ERDF project. UNITE was a programme delivered by a number of HE partners across the North West Region and which involved graduate placements with SMEs. The study focused on gathering feedback from businesses that had been involved in the project.

EU FP7 Clusters as Vehicles for Smart Specialisation

Client: EU (2013)

CRED Research Director, Professor Frank Peck, was invited to join an Expert Group on the “evaluation of research intensive clusters as vehicles for Smart Specialisation in the European Regions”. A report on the findings was presented to the Irish EU Presidency “Week of Innovative Regions in Europe” Conference (WIRE 2013), held in Cork, EIRE 6-7 June 2013.

Read the report (PDF)


Cumbria LEP Skills Strategy: Scoping Exercise

Client: Carlisle College (2013)

This was a Scoping Exercise aimed at reviewing recent research carried out on the skills needs of the county based on information at county, national and European level. Evidence and strategy review were presented to the Skills and Employment Commission (SEC) of Cumbria LEP which has been established to oversee the Skills Strategy for the County. The project was funded under the Local Response Fund (LRF) element of the European Social Fund (ESF) Skills for the Workforce 2012-15 Project.

Baseline Research as part of Brand Management for Cumbria

Client: Copeland Borough Council on behalf of local partners (delivered in partnership with DC Research and RED research) (2013)

The main purpose of the study was to carry out baseline economic research on the Cumbria and Lake District brands in relation to the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Process. This involved conducting a survey of businesses in those sectors in Cumbria that benefit from the Cumbria and Lake District brands. Secondary data was used to provide a baseline against which to measure any future impacts on brands that might arise from a decision to participate in the search for a site for a geological disposal facility.

Read the report (PDF)

Britain’s Energy Coast Campus Programme Evaluation

Client: Energy Coast Campus (ECC) (2013)

CRED was appointed by the ECC to evaluate the role and effectiveness of ECC in collaborating with partners to achieve shared objectives and also the extent to which the project facilitated partnership working. The report focused on the strategic benefits for West Cumbria.

Identifying Opportunities for Growth in Cumbria

Client: Cumbria County Council (LEP Capacity Fund) (2012)

CRED facilitated the Economic Panel which had been established as part of the LEP Capacity Fund project. The Panel will review available evidence and provide the basis for the production of economic forecasts for Cumbria post 2012.

Business Perceptions of Regulatory Burden

Client: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (2012)

CRED was appointed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to investigate businesses’ perception of regulatory burden. This involved the creation of a model on the channels of communication for new regulations. Our research was based on published literature, case studies on communications around regulations, gathering evidence from business perception surveys and an international comparison of regulatory communication. Report is available on website.

Business Perceptions of Regulatory Burden (PDF)

Corporate Decision-Making and Inter-Firm Relations in the Nuclear Supply Chain in West Cumbria

Client: Energy Opportunities Supply Chain Project/West Cumbria Development Agency (2012)

CRED was appointed by the West Cumbria Development Agency (WCDA) to investigate corporate decision-making and inter-firm relationships in the Nuclear Supply Chain in West Cumbria. This involved a series of interviews with firms in tiers 2, 3 and 4 of the supply chain.

WCDA Supply Chain Spend

Client: Energy Opportunities Supply Chain Project/West Cumbria Development Agency (2012)

Based on a questionnaire survey of suppliers to the nuclear industry at Sellafield, this research is a follow-up study of our 2008 survey which calculates and analyses the spending pattern and local retention of spend of nuclear contractors in West Cumbria.

Sustainable Engineering

Client: University of Cumbria (2011)

As part of the University’s commitment to supporting local industrial sectors, CRED was commissioned to investigate the demand for HE provision in sustainable engineering. This was achieved by considering the international and national drivers for sustainable engineering; considering the effect of recent low carbon reports and quantifying employer skills demand in the area.

Cumbria Economic Assessment

Client: Cumbria County Council (2010)

CRED was appointed by Cumbria County Council to collaborate in the production of the Cumbria Economic Assessment. This involved a desk-based assessment using surveys and official data held by the Council and the Cumbria Observatory which then supported a series of workshops with key stakeholders across the County.

Read the report (PDF)

Economic Development and Regeneration Skills Audit 2010

Client: Cumbria Senior Executive Group and the Cumbria Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (2010)

This project aimed to update the original skills audit of economic development and regeneration workers undertaken in 2008. It involved a series of interviews with economic development and regeneration directors and managers in Cumbria and telephone consultations with representatives of Urban Regeneration Companies selected as benchmark comparators. Findings were presented to the Cumbria Senior Executive group and feedback was incorporated into the Final Report.

Evaluation of UCBS at Energus

Client: Centre for Enterprise and Leadership Development, University of Cumbria (2010)

CRED was engaged to evaluate the Energus Project for the Cumbria Business School. This involved developing a series of interview schedules for participants, employers, directors and project delivery staff. Following analysis, the findings were delivered in a Final Report to be used in designing future activities within the project.

Evaluation of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme in Wales

Client: Welsh Assembly Government (2010)

The objectives of this piece of research were to assess the impact of the Welsh Rates Relief Scheme on small businesses in terms of their ability to survive and in encouraging new businesses to start up. A three-stage methodology was implemented including survey questionnaires, telephone interviews and a focus group in order to assess the benefits of rate relief for small businesses. The project concluded by making recommendations on the future delivery of the scheme.

Read the report (PDF)

Regional & National Economic Benefits from the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Programme -supported by Nuclear Industry Ass

Client: Nuclear Industry Association (2010)

NIA commissioned CRED to carry out a desk-based review of the economic benefits associated with the UK’s nuclear decommissioning programme. The report considers the impacts of spend on the supply chain, the effects of local economies that host nuclear sites and future global demand for decommissioning services.

Economic Development and Regeneration Skills Audit 2010

Client: Cumbria Senior Executives Group and the Cumbria Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (2010)

CRED completed a skills audit of economic development and regeneration in 2008. The current project involved updating the 2008 project using a series of interviews with economic development and regeneration directors and managers in Cumbria and telephone interviews with Urban Regeneration Companies selected as benchmark comparators. Findings were presented to the Cumbria Senior Executive Group and their feedback was incorporated in the Final Report.

Lillyhall Travel to Work Investigation

Client: University of Cumbria (2010)

CRED assisted in completing a programme of structured face-to-face interviews with businesses on the Lillyhall Industrial Estate in West Cumbria to support the development of a Travel to Work Strategy for the estate.

Newcastle New Deal for Communities: Business Needs Assessment

Client: Newcastle New Deal for Communities (2010))

The needs of businesses in Elswick were identified using stakeholder consultations and a business survey questionnaire (which was available in both paper and electronic formats) in the Elswick and Discovery Quarter Intervention Area. Outputs included a profile of businesses in the area, identification of the concerns, needs and aspirations of local businesses, and recommendations on future business support provision.

Distinctly Cumbrian Evaluation

Client: Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency (2009)

The Distinctly Cumbrian (DC) programme was a scheme that provided grants for businesses based in rural Cumbria to develop their activities. CRED was commissioned to conduct the final evaluation of the programme, using a methodology based around questionnaires and interviews with beneficiaries of the programme and DC officers. 

Review and Assessment of Methodology and of the Retail Enforcement Pilot (REP) in a Business Environment

Client: Local Better Regulation Office (2009)

The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) commissioned CRED to carry out a review and assessment of the REP which was designed to improve the process of regulation for small retailers.

This project used interviews of case study businesses and two focus groups run with key representatives from national business groups to provide evidence of the effect of the REP on the business environment. Results will assist the LBRO in its aim of better engagement between local regulatory services and the business sector. Report available on website. 

Fusion Cumbria Learning Lab – Action Learning Programme

Client: Cumbria Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (2009)

This project ran concurrently with the delivery of the Fusion Cumbria Learning Lab programme for 2008-9 and enabled feedback regarding potential improvements to future events to be implemented, and also provided an evaluation of the programme. The evaluation highlighted the importance of networking and sharing of learning to workers engaged in economic development and regeneration.

Recommendations included continuing to facilitate collaborative learning events, exploring funding opportunities and updating the Skills Audit 2008 to ensure that future activities are focused on sector requirements.

Health Cluster in West Cumbria

Client: NHS Cumbria (2009)

This study compared and contrasted experiences of economic development involving public and private investment in health related activities. Analysis focused on defining and illustrating the concept of health clustering and the potential role of health parks in economic regeneration. An attempt was also made to draw lessons from experience of developing regional clusters more generally in other sectors of the economy.

The review confirmed the significance of the emergence of a “community of interest” involving professionals, scientists, engineers and local political leaders who share common goals and aspirations. The analysis identified three broad types of “health cluster”; healthcare delivery clusters; health business clusters; and Health R&D clusters. 

Impact of Public Sector Procurement on the North West Economy

Client: North West Regional Development Agency (2008)

This study analysed the spatial pattern of public expenditure on goods and services by sub-region, local authority, sector and size of business. The project focused in particular on the level of expenditure retained within the region and the extent to which work on contracts leads to regional leakage.

Evaluation of Cumbria Projects

Client:  University of Cumbria School of Business & Enterprise (2008)

The ICT Solutions, Business Innovation Project, Into Enterprise and COMET projects were funded to allow the University to contribute to Knowledge Transfer within the region. This project examined the outcomes of the four externally funded projects that were then reaching completion within the University of Cumbria. The research matched a series of interviews (with clients and partners of the projects) and data which the project staff had accumulated to the objectives originally agreed with the funding partners.

Regeneration & Economic Development Skills Audit

Client: Cumbria Vision and Achieving Cumbrian Excellence (ACE) Programme Board (2008)

Cumbria Vision and Achieving Cumbrian Excellence (ACE) commissioned CRED to conduct a review and assessment of skills involved in economic development and regeneration activity within Cumbria. This has been achieved through a questionnaire survey of members of the Cumbria Strategic Partnership and in-depth interviews with senior executives in these organisations.

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