A two-year research project aimed at mapping the future trends of the Welsh economy has been launched at Cardiff Met.
The University, in partnership with the Hodge Foundation, launched The Hodge Foundation Research Project: The Future of the Welsh Economy, while also announcing Gerry Holtham as a Hodge Foundation Visiting Professor at the University.
The widely respected economist will oversee the research project with Professor Brian Morgan, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University and Director of the Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre (CLEC).
They will work alongside researchers Selyf Morgan from Cardiff Met and Cardiff University and Pedro Marques and Robert Huggins from Cardiff University. The Jane Hodge Foundation, founded by the late Welsh financier Sir Julian Hodge in honour of his mother Jane, supports a range of causes and projects in particular medical research, education and the advancement of religion.
The research project will address issues such as, 'Must Wales remain poor?, ways that Wales can grow and how inequality can be reduced in Wales, in light of output per head in the Welsh economy standing at only 72% of the UK average and Wales remaining the poorest part of the UK.
Professor Morgan said: "The main objective of the Hodge economic research project will be to identify the best measures and policy options for triggering transformational change in the Welsh economy.
"Achieving a step change in our economic fortunes will require more than just another economic strategy report. Wales will need to be ambitious in setting challenging targets, encouraging an entrepreneurial culture supportive of business growth and improving the targeting and execution of public policy.
"We will ensure that the outcomes from the research are timely – we would wish to see the prosperity gap with the rest of the UK closing during our life time!
"Our aim will be to compare the plethora of pro-bono organisations and committees that currently exist in Wales with the more substantive and more strategic delivery vehicles that are driving forward economic regeneration in other European regions. The audit will include a number of case studies on what works and why.
"There is evidence that Wales has an unusually high proportion of innovating firms and Wales' strengths in the aerospace and automotive supply chains could explain this.
"The ultimate aim is to make a difference in practice to the Welsh economy by collaboratively developing a diverse suite of policies which have the potential to transform Welsh competitiveness and develop the City Regions into engines of growth."