Mike Coombes has been a researcher in CURDS since the 1970s, becoming a Principal Research Associate in 1989 and Professor of Geographic Information (while still a contract researcher). He was the Executive Director of CURDS until 2006 from the time when it became the foundation of the Institute for Policy and Practice (IPP).
Briefly: geographic variation in British people's life chances; local and regional analysis; definition of market and policy areas.
Mike's research interests include the definition of local labour market areas and functional regionalisation. His work aims to improve ways of analysing social and economic statistics so as to maximise the ‘intelligence’ they can provide to policy-makers and others. More specifically, Mike has led a series of projects for the UK government to define Travel to Work Areas (the only official boundaries which are defined by academics).
Mike continues to be part of the team managing CURDS externally-funded research activities. He is also currently a researcher of the Spatial Economics Research Centre (nb. this research centres is part funded by the ESRC and part by Government).
As well as continuing research on labour market behaviour, and the pattern of commuting in particular, Mike is increasingly pursuing studies of migration and related questions about housing markets. Recently he has developed a line of research on factors affecting variations in the attitudes of different people to their local built environment and, as a specific concern, historic buildings.
Geographic variation in British people's life chances; local and regional analysis; definition of market and policy areas.
Mike has experience of joint supervision of PhD student progression.
Mike was appointed to the Advisory Council of the UK Transport Research Centre that was as a national social science research focal point for both ESRC and the Government.