UWE Bristol and Wiltshire Council begin economic research project

Media Relations Team, 06 September 2023

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Wiltshire Council and UWE research
Members of the UWE Bristol research team, with Rachel Finlay, Economy and Enterprise Manager at Wiltshire Council (second right)

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has launched an exciting research project in partnership with Wiltshire Council to explore the impact of Brexit and COVID‐19 on patterns of working and rural enterprise in the county.

The research project, which started on 1 August and will last for around a year, is titled ‘Post-pandemic working in rural Wiltshire: Building resilience and recovery’, and has been funded with £10,000 seed funding from UWE Bristol’s prestigious Challenge Fund.

It is being led by Professor Carol Jarvis, Professor in Knowledge Exchange and Innovation in Bristol Business School, with colleagues from the business school and planning, and aims to improve the performance of rural enterprise to build resilient communities in Wiltshire.

Andy Brown, Wiltshire Council Corporate Director Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Wiltshire, as nowhere else in the country is benefitting from research on this scale – and as such it will have wider relevance for business in rural areas throughout the nation.

“Our officers are in regular dialogue with UWE Bristol, and we’re delighted that Professor Jarvis and colleagues have chosen Wiltshire for this important body of research.

“The project will provide us with evidence, data and insights that will enable us to better address challenges around rural enterprise, help our businesses and ultimately deliver on our 2032 vision to ensure all of our communities benefit from inclusive and sustainable growth.”

The council will be working closely with the UWE Bristol team to help facilitate the project including providing the contact details of Wiltshire businesses and business groups, and space to conduct interviews and research.

Professor Carol Jarvis noted how important this collaboration is, she said: “The support we have already received from Wiltshire Council has been really impressive and will be central for the work to deliver real and lasting impact for communities in rural Wiltshire. 

“We are looking forward to extending this collaboration to people living and working in rural Wiltshire and to working with them to generate practical recommendations to identify opportunities to develop Wiltshire’s rural enterprise ecosystem.”

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