At its very simplest, productivity is a measure of efficiency: essentially, the efficiency with which inputs are converted into outputs. High levels of productivity contribute to economic growth, which can in turn contribute to higher living standards. Productivity thus has a major bearing on our ability to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth at the national, regional and local territorial scales.

The UK has experienced a long-term slowing in productivity growth, and, particularly since 2008, a 'productivity puzzle' of exceptionally weak growth when compared to international competitors. There is a pressing need for further research evidence to improve our understanding of the factors affecting UK productivity and to inform the development of policy measures designed to foster inclusive growth.

To this end, we are in the final stages of commissioning a 'network plus', to provide leadership and encourage joint working. The network, as well as providing a forum for collaboration and knowledge exchange, will map current research activity, seed-fund small research projects, run thematic workshops and rapid response reviews, build interdisciplinary capacity, and feed into policy development.

The Productivity Network Plus will kick off in March 2018 - details of the successful project team will be announced late 2017 / early 2018.