Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies

Staff Profile

Professor Stuart Dawley

Chair in Economic Geography


Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Geography 2018-2022


BA Geography (1st), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1998

PhD Geography, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2003


Fellow of the Regional Studies Association (RSA)

Member of the Regional Studies Association Research Committee

Member of Senate, Newcastle University, 2014-2017


Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)

Regional Studies Association


Research Interests

An economic geographer and policy researcher with research interests in the multi-scalar governance of economic development and growth. I have published in a range of leading international journals, most recently contributing to debates around evolutionary approaches within economic geography. My current research focuses on the role of low carbon and renewable energies in the regeneration of peripheral regions, ranging from offshore wind to industrial decarbonisation clusters. I have considerable experience in undertaking research work for international, national and regional agencies and organisations, including the European Commission, Norwegian Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Trades Union Congress and a range of UK sub-national authorities. Between 2018 and 2022 I served as Head of Geography at Newcastle University. 

Recent research focuses on:

  • Economic geographies of the energy transition
  • Sector and regional development of analysis of 1). Offshore wind 2). Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and industrial decarbonisation
  • Evolutionary approaches to local and regional development, focusing on the notions of path creation and development within and across renewable and low carbon sectors
  • Global Production Networks and understanding the 'coupling' dynamics between regional assets and focal firms.
  • Understanding the geographical (re) making of labour markets during times of industrial restructuring

Current and Recent Work

Powering up coastal economies: path development in low carbon and renewable energy industries

Funder: ESRC Standard Grant

Total project funding: £810,993.90

March 2024 to August 2026

Stuart Dawley and Danny Mackinnon (CO-I’s)

Project is led by Peter Sunley (Southampton) with a further CO-I partner in Jane Wills (Exeter)

The project is designed to speak directly to the twin challenges of levelling up and meeting net zero. The aim of the research is to examine how and why the growth of low carbon and renewable energies varies across coastal regions, by exploring and comparing the development trajectories of key industries (offshore wind, tidal, hydrogen and carbon capture, battery and storage technologies) in four regions of the country (the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, Eastern Scotland and the South West).

Making the green shift work for regions

Funder: Norwegian Research Council (Projects for Scientific Renewal)

Total project funding: £1.16 million.

March 2024 to March 2028

Stuart Dawley and Danny Mackinnon (CO-I’s)

Project is led by Asbjørn Karlsen (NTNU, Trondheim), with research partners at NTNU, SINTEF and FAFO (all Norway).

This project looks to develop a new understanding of how regional labour markets are adapting to the energy transition. We will use three regional case studies of Oil and Gas sector regions: Rogaland, Trøndelag and Northeast Scotland, to develop a systematic understanding of how local and regional labour markets evolve and adapt with the transition to new low-carbon energy landscapes.


2023-2024: Pipeline or Hub? Harnessing critical energy infrastructure on the North Norfolk Coast (iPACT Network: EPSRC) This pilot project examines the opportunities and challenges for North Norfolk in harnessing and valorising Bacton as an infrastructural asset within the UK’s broader energy transition.


2016-2021 Internationalization of Norwegian Offshore Wind Capabilities (InNOWiC), with NTNU and SINTEF

2017 ‘How to deliver good jobs: towards a regional industrial strategy for Tees Valley’, Trade Union Congress (TUC), with Peter O'Brien, Mike Coombes, Andy Pike and Lewis Evans.

2015: The NE1 Model and Comparative Approaches to City Centre Management. Report produced for Newcastle NE1 Business Improvement District (BID). (with John Goddard, David Bradley: CURDS; Kevin Ward, Manchester University). http://www.ncl.ac.uk/curds/news/item/new-curds-report-on-business-improvement-districts-bids

2014: UK Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Feasibility study: The economic impact of industrial plant closures in the UK. (Contribution to project led by ICF GHK)

2012: 'Foresight: Future of Manufacturing and Resilience', UK Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (with Andy Pike and John Tomaney)   

2010: SUSTAINE. World class thinking: regional sustainable development dialogues. The two policy workshops – first “How shall we live?” and then “Where shall we live?” – were designed to provide a forum for policymakers and stakeholders to consider evidence from leading-edge sustainability practice and debate the implications, opportunities, barriers and catalysts to practical sustainable development outcomes in the North East. Together, the two workshops were attended by over 110 delegates drawn from a wide array of local, regional and national stakeholder bodies

2007-2010: CURDS and One NorthEast: 'Regional Insights'.

Hosted by CURDS, the Regional Insights programme features policy experts and academics from across the globe sharing best practice in local and regional development. Funded by One NorthEast and Newcastle University, the programme builds on One NorthEast’s recent study “What Works in Regional Economic Development” and seeks to inform our understanding of policy challenges and interventions 

2009: City of Greater Bendigo/Regional Development Victoria, Australia:‘The regional impact of international skilled migration'. Project undertaken in conjunction with the Institute for Regional Studies, Monash University.

2008-09 ONE North East, ‘Evaluation of the Impact and Policy Response to Restructuring at Northern Rock' with Regeneris Consulting. CURDS team includes Professors Neill Marshall and John Tomaney, Drs Andy Pike and Jane Pollard.

2008 - 'Placing' Accession state migration in the North East labour market. This pilot project (also involving Dr Alison Stenning and Helen Lowther) seeks to better understand the processes through which migrants from the EU accession states (mostly Poland) engage with the North East's labour market and examine the implications for local and regional development. Special attention is focused upon the role of labour market intermediaries in regulating the demand-supply interface.

2008: LSC and Atmel Response Group: 'Advanced Manufacturing Skills Survey'.

2004- Recasting Steel Geographies: Mapping Corporations, Connecting Communities.

Research Team: Dr Alison Stenning (Project Leader); Dr Andy Pike; Dr Stuart Dawley

2005-2006, ODPM: New Horizons Programme: An assessment of the local and regional impacts of migration from the new EU member states (the A8 states), on which I am working with CURDS colleagues Alison Stenning, Mike Coombes, Tony Champion, Ranald Richardson, Cheryl Conway and Liz Dixon.

2006: One North East (RDA) funded project entitled: What Works in Regional Economic Development - Learning from International Best Practice. A comparative exploration and examination into international local and regional development policy making, drawing key lessons for the North East region

2004- Recasting Steel Geographies: Mapping Corporations, Connecting Communities.

Research Team: Dr Alison Stenning (Project Leader); Dr Andy Pike; Dr Stuart Dawley

2003- 2006 European Commission Framework 5 Programme: City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness And Learning (CRITICAL)

Newcastle University Research Team: Prof. David Charles (Project co-ordinator); Dr Stuart Dawley; Cheryl Conway

Project website: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/critical/

Research Roles

 Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Committee

Postgraduate Supervision 


David Dodds: 'Tech Nation UK?: 'placing' the local geographies of path creation in the digital sector (ESRC Collaborative Studentship with Tech North) (Co-supervised with Jane Pollard)


Lewis Evans: 'Creating new paths: the conversion and diversification of North Sea ports' (ESRC Collaborative Studentship with Humber LEP) (Co-supervised with Danny Mackinnon)

Robert Pollock: 'Placing regions in the path creation of the UK's offshore wind industry' (Co-supervised with Danny Mackinnon)

Fraser Bell 'Place branding, origination and reputations’. (ESRC Collaborative Studentship with NGI) (Co-supervised with Prof Andy Pike and Prof Ray Hudson)

Emil Evenhuis: 'Political Economy of Adaptation in Old Industrial Regions' (ESRC) (Completed in 2016 and co-supervised with Professor Andy Pike) 

Ben Fisher: 'Path Creation in Regional Economic Development'. (Completed in 2015 and co-supervised with Prof Andy Pike).

Paul Vallance: "Work practices and learning in the knowledge communities of the UK games development sector" (ESRC)(Completed 2008 and co-supervised with Prof Jane Pollard)


Undergraduate Teaching (Semester 2 23-24)

GEO2111: Doing Human Geography Research (Module Leader Sem 2)

GEO 2124: Berlin Fieldtrip: Economic Geography

GEO 2099 Economic Geography 

GEO 3099 Dissertation