Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies

Staff Profile

Professor Louise Kempton

Professor of Urban and Regional Policy


I have over 25 years’ experience as a researcher, policy maker and practitioner in local, regional and international economic development. I joined the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University in 2011 as a Senior Research Associate where my main focus is contributing to an evolving understanding of the role of universities as ‘anchor’ institutions in local/regional economic growth and innovation, and the effects of place in shaping this role. I am also interested in the process of building local collaborative leadership to develop innovative solutions to meeting local challenges and opportunities.

From January 2019 to July 2023 I served as Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS), assisting the Dean in shaping and implementing the Faculty's strategy for research and innovation. 

Since 1st August 2022 I have been Principal Investigator and Strategic Director of Insights North Easta new £5.5m initiative led by Newcastle University and delivered via a core partnership with the NHS, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle City Council, and Northumbria University. It is supported by Research England's Development Fund.  

Insights North East will be a demonstrator to illustrate how anchor institutions can collaborate to maximise the potential for university research to inform place-based policy-making and practice, ensuring that future research agendas are demand-led and shaped by the needs of the North East. 

I am the author/co-author of more than 30 academic and policy publications exploring the barriers and drivers to universities’ involvement in regional innovation and have acted as adviser to local, national and international organisations on the same topic, helping to shape new policy development.


Google scholar: Click here.

ORCIDClick here.

ResearchGateClick here.

SCOPUSClick here.


Selected current and recent projects:


Newcastle City Futures Urban Living Partnership – Managing an RCUK-funded £400K 18 month project that aims to link universities to the public, private and community sectors in order to create a ‘test-bed city of innovation’ in Newcastle. http://www.newcastlecityfutures.org/


Leading and Managing the Civic University – Managing and contributing to a five year programme of action research with 8 universities in 4 European countries to test and develop the concept of the ‘civic university’.  The results are captured in the following book http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/the-civic-university


Erasmus ‘Thinking Smart’ – Work package leader for a European Commission funded project exploring the role of universities in the design and implementation of regional strategies for ‘smart specialisation’ (innovation) involving partners from universities in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland.  http://thinkingsmart.utad.pt/


Higher Education and Smart Specialisation (HESS) – International expert for a European Commission project to develop a programme of policy research around the role of higher education in smart specialisation based on results from pilot studies in Spain and Romania.  http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/hess


Harmonising the Intellectual Capital of Universities in the Core Cities – Analysis of the current and potential role of universities in contributing to city development in 10 UK cities and development of a proposition for a support platform to facilitate more and better linkages between universities and cities.


University of Warwick Chancellor's Commission – Co-author of an underpinning think piece on the role of universities in the leadership and management of place to underpin the work of the commission - an independent inquiry established to consider the future role of University of Warwick in Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider region. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/research/warwickcommission/chancellorscommission/


Measuring the impact of Higher Education Institutions in Ireland – Member of an international OECD study team with a specific focus on local and regional impact of higher education.  http://www.oecd.org/ireland/supporting-entrepreneurship-and-innovation-in-higher-education-in-ireland-9789264270893-en.htm


The Luneburg University Innovation Incubator – Led a study of the impact of a large scale project for building the capacity of the university to contribute to regional development.  http://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/FINAL_OECD%20Luneburg_report.pdf


Evaluation of University-Region Cooperation – Evaluation of the outputs, results and impacts of the cooperation agreement between Region Värmland and Karlstad University in North-Mid Sweden and recommendations for future cooperative programmes.  Findings are summarised in the following publication. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21681376.2015.1085329


Universities and Smart Specialisation – Development of a set of policy papers and case studies to raise awareness and cooperation between universities and regional authorities across Europe about the role of universities in regional innovation and how they can work together to overcome challenges and barriers. http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/20182/115084/JRC85508_Universities_and_S3.pdf/23a84c8b-233f-4cee-aae9-c89914f23e9c


Connecting Universities to Regional Growth – Researching the role of HEIs in regional development and producing a guidebook to promote the active engagement of universities in delivering European funded projects.  http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/presenta/universities2011/universities2011_en.pdf