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Dr Andrew Dean

Dr Andrew Dean

Head of Regional Engagement

 +44 (0) 1392 72 4925

 Innovation Centre Phase 2 


Innovation Centre Phase 2, University of Exeter,  Rennes Drive,  Exeter,  EX4 4RN, UK



Dr Andrew Dean is Head of Regional Engagement in Exeter Innovation at the University of Exeter. He is a senior manager and a specialist in the topics of civic engagement, employment, skills, the labour market, and regional impact.

He also leads the University of Exeter’s Marchmont Employment and Skills Observatory, a research centre dedicated to supporting real-world interventions in local and regional labour markets. His main interests include: local and regional higher education impact; labour market and employment policies; vocational education and training; regional and local labour market monitoring; the role of social partners in employment and skills policy; and linking policy with practise. 


1987 – 1991                         PhD, University of Exeter

1986 – 1987                         MSc, University of Sheffield

1983 – 1986                         BSc (Hons), University of Hull


Within the University of Exeter, Andrew is managing the establishment of a suite of new Civic University Agreements between the University of Exeter and its host city and region. He manages a diverse team of subject experts in fields as diverse as labour market analysis, CPD, housing policy, and civic engagement. His work in the region means he is extensively networked, particularly with the region’s organisations that are active in skills and economic development, but through his work with the HotSW LEP’s Innovation Board, Andrew is also networked with many of the region’s leading innovation-driven enterprises.

Andrew leads on many regional aspects of IIB’s work such as delivering three very large innovation-driven EXPOs; producing the University of Exeter’s Regional Skills Strategy (2024-2027); refreshing the Data Analytics Skills Escalator and driving a new Skills Escalator in Social Care; and managing the analytical support for the region’s Skills Advisory Panel and Local Skills Improvement Plan. This has resulted in his being extremely well-networked regionally and, in particular, with organisations responsible for civic engagement and skills strategy.

Andrew is the UK expert for a major CEDEFOP project looking at real-time LMI and web vacancies with the University of Milan-Bicocca (2020 - 2024).  He has significant experience in managing complex multi-partner projects and designing and carrying out pragmatic (mixed methodology) social science research and evaluations. In 2019-2020 he was manager, co-author and researcher on one of the largest UK skills surveys as part of a major research project for social partners (UNISON), achieving 38,000 responses and informing future skills priorities. He also carries out annual impact studies on the effectiveness of the TUC Union Learning Fund.

He managed the ACSOL (ERASMUS+) Project, which examined the impact of COVID on digital skills needs and the European Mid-Life Review Project, which sought to boost IAG for older workers.  In 2018 he completed a piece of research for the British Council on Institutional Leadership in TVET governance. He managed the innovative ESCALATE project, which examined future approaches to AI and digitalisation within Europe’s’ universities.

Andrew has recently authored a new (2022 – 2025) Skills Strategy for Digital Jersey, having co-authored the Jersey Skills Strategy and the Centre of Excellence Strategy and Roadmap for Digital Jersey in 2017. In 2023/24 he authored a review of trade union education in England and Wales for the TUC. He recently evaluated four ESIF innovation projects for London South Bank University. He has previously authored two reports for the OECD LEED Programme, one on the Greening of Energy Intensive Sectors and the other on the problems of delivering Apprenticeships to Hyper-Rural Geographies (Norway). Other recent projects include a number of bespoke pieces of analysis and impact support for Local Enterprise Partnerships; writing a Handbook on Long Term Unemployment for the OECD. Andrew has done a number of pieces of work for the TUC (unionlearn) including Evaluations of the Union Learning Fund, and supporting the Rainbow Years (mid-life skills review) project (and its successor).

Now in his second career, Andrew trained initially to work as a scientist (earth sciences and environmental sciences) before switching to support the creation of a new labour market observatory, the Marchmont Observatory, in 1998. Since then, he has worked as a labour market researcher, project manager, and, more recently, Head of Regional Engagement.

Andrew also leads the Secretariate for the international network, EUniverCities (medium cities with research intensive universities), and has been Vice Chair of the Scientific Committees for the European Network on Regional Labour Market Monitoring since 2014, authoring several pieces for the network’s anthology.

Research group links

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Research interests

His main research interests include: local and regional Higher Education Impact, labour market and employment policies; the Future of Work; regional and local labour market monitoring; the role of social partners in employment and skills policy and, linking policy with practice. 

Research projects

  • European Mid Life Skills Review Project (2021 - 2023) - Andrew co-authored and built this multi partner follow-on ERASMUS+ Project for partners in the TUC and is supporting the project with evaluation and research. The project will design a suite of new online learning materials to help deliver the new mid-life skills review programme.
  • ACSOL Project (2021 - 2023) - Andrew is leading the University input to this COVID digital skills project, which will inlcude surveys, research and the development of training materials.
  • ESCALATE Project - Andrew is the author and Exeter lead for this 2019 - 2022 ERASMUS+ Project exploring how universities internationally are responding to digitlisation and artificial intelligence through new curricula and support for students.
  • Skills for the Future - Andrew managed and co-authored the UNISON research into public service workers’ experiences, hopes and fears around learning, training, and the future of work. With over 38,000 responses, the survey was the biggest of its kind and the implications for skills policy are far reaching.
  • SPIDAS – Andrew wais the Project Manager for this 2017 - 2020 ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership Project exploring how to attract and young people into data analytics. The work took place within a number of local Exeter Schools and in partnership with University of Lleida and University of Pamukkale.
  • Mid Life Skills Review Project – Andrew co-authored and built this multi partner ERASMUS+ Project for partners in the TUC and is supporting the project with evaluation and research. The project will design a suite of new online materials to help deliver a new mid-life skills review programme.
  • Digital Jersey Centre of Excellence Strategy and Roadmap – Andrew managed and co-authored this report for Digital jersey based on the findings of a survey and interviews.
  • Jersey Skills Strategy – In 2017 Andrew managed this large research project for Skills Jersey which developed a strategy with recommendations supported by LMI which was subsequently adopted by the states of Jersey.
  • TVET Governance: The role of the Institutional Leaders – Andrew led this short research project which surveyed a number of TVET leaders internationally and is seeking to inform the role and approach taken to skills by the British Council (2018).
  • CEDEFOP Real-time Labour Market Information Project. Working with colleagues in University of Milan Bicocca Andrew acted is national expert for the UK and Ireland supporting the work to analyse and characterise web vacancies and supporting the production of the model. (2015-2020)
  • The VET-EDS and SIMOVET Projects – Andrew was instrumental in the building and writing of these two successful bids to the ERASMUS+ SP VET Programme (2014 – 2016). Both looked at labour markets and the pivotal role of observatories. Andrew managed VET-EDS which established a new mechanism for better aligning economic development with skills strategies. SIMOVET sought to align the supply of VET provision to that of labour market demand and is led by partners in Bilbao. Both projects were submitted as partnership projects within the European Network on Regional Labour Market Monitoring.
  • Unionlearn – Andrew has partnered unionlearn in their work with the Gatsby Charitable Trust including work analysing potential ESIF activities; writing a new Supplementary Funding Strategy; creating a new Fundraising Online Course and writing a series of major bids, including one successful £1.2m bid to the UFI charitable Trust. (2014 – ongoing)
  • Local Enterprise Partnership Support – Andrew continues to work for a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships to provide research and analytical strength to support their Strategic Economic Plans and Structural and Innovation Funding Strategies. This has included research into the infrastructure needs of Further education, the potential impact and impact indicators of investments and a secondment to develop an innovative new Project Management Office (2013 – ongoing).
  • The SEEING Project – Andrew was brought into the SEEING Project in 2014 to devise its impact strategy and to coordinate a series of reports.  The project has examined how to enhance cross sector working between the private sector, public sector and social enterprises. Andrew’s role was to pull together the findings and transform these into actionable and practical actions that partners, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership, could take forward.
  • The European Commission’s EU Skills Panorama: Achieving Regional and Local Impact (ARLI) – Andrew was the Project Manager for this major piece of labour market research. The project sought to research established good practices in the demand and supply of labour market intelligence and how the resultant intelligence can effectively be transformed into European Commission policy and practices.
  • Skills for the Future – Andrew contributed to the Country Report of this PROGRESS Project Report for the Commission in July 2013.
  • OECD Handbook - Tackling long-term unemployment amongst vulnerable groups – Andrew was selected to write this for the LEED OECD programme (published in 2014). He designed the research methodology, analysed case studies and reports from the OECD worldwide and compiled them into a practical, user-oriented Handbook. The report was subsequently published by the OECD and Andrew presented the findings to the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) Conference in Washington. 
  • ComTal – Andrew was the UK project manager for this three-year project which sought to further knowledge on the skill-sets needed to work effectively in a team. He designed and compiled the competence assessment of the role of a Team Coach, including analysing the précises skill-sets needed to do this role.  
  • Science Education for Diversity – Andrew managed the very large Science Education for Diversity (Framework 7) Project (2010-2013), achieving several notable publications for its participants and including it being written up as a case study by the European Commission. The project finished on time and to budget. He also authored the Final Report of the FP7 Project, January 2013.
  • DESCRIBE – Andrew managed the successful (2012-13) DESCRIBE project exploring the Impact of Higher Education Research and authoring one of its main publications. The DESCRIBE project was funded by JISC to look at how we provide definitions and capture the evidence of research impact and provide the recommendations for universities, research funders and those who enable research. Andrew edited and contributed to the key publication: 7 Essays on Impact (Dean et al (Eds) (2013) 7 Essays on Impact. DESCRIBE Project Report for Jisc. University of Exeter.)

Research networks

Vice Chair of the Scientific Committees for the European Network on Regional Labour Market Monitoring since 2014.

An international expert for the German Development Agency - Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

University of Exeter coordinator for the international network - EUniverCities (medium sized cities with research intensive universities). 

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Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Cecilia Manosa Nyblon
  • Gabrielle Climie

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Lindsey Anderson
  • David Hancock

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Office Hours:

Full Time

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