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Mr Ben Neild

Mr Ben Neild

Senior Impact and Partnership Development Manager


 Innovation Centre 


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



Ben Neild is Senior Impact and Partnership Development Manager in the University’s Regional Impact Team. He is responsible for:

  • Providing evidence and analysis to inform regional economic development policy and the University of Exeter’s responsibilities within this

  • Creating partnerships and leading funding applications to deliver strategic priorities for both the University and region

  • Providing leadership for a range of projects



Ben Neild has worked on regional economic development and skills policy since 1991.

In the 1990’s he was European Regional Manager for London’s Training and Enterprise Councils, managing the delivery of EU funding programmes in the capital. In 1999, he moved to Exeter taking up a post as Assistant Director of the Marchmont Observatory, a research centre within the University supporting the development and delivery of regional skills strategies. During this period he was responsible for the Skills and Learning Module of the South West Regional Observatory and for coordinating the research programmes of the region’s Learning and Skills Councils.

Since 2016, he has focused on enabling the University of Exeter’s to deliver its role as a driver of regional economic growth. He develops partnerships and writes major bids for the University, as well as influencing the focus of regional policy. Current projects include the formation of:

  • A £6.4m Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab

  • A £26m South West Institute for Technology

  • A regional data analytics skills ‘escalator’.


Research interests

Ben Neild is an economic development specialist and labour market analyst. His work focuses on collating evidence and providing analysis and recommendations to support the targeting and delivery of regional growth policy. 

Examples of publications are provided below:

  • Heart of the South West LEP – Productivity Plan Green Paper, 2018

  • University of Exeter Regional Skills Strategy 2017

  • Exeter and Heart of Devon Skills Strategy, 2017

  • Solent LEP – Strategic Economic Plan for the Marine Sector, 2014

  • Solent LEP –EU Structural & Investment Fund Strategy, 2014

  • Solent LEP – Skills Plan, 2014

  • Dorset LEP Skills Plan, Sector Analysis, 2013

  • Northern Devon – Employment & Skills Analysis, 2013

  • Solent Enterprise Zone Skills Plan, 2012

  • West of England Sector Skills & Competitiveness Statements, 2012

  • West of England Employment and Skills Analysis, 2012

  • Delivering skills to maximise the impact of Superfast Broadband, 2012

  • Apprenticeships – Provider Perspectives from the Heart of the South West, 2012

  • Manufacturing in the Heart of the South West, 2012

  • The Work Programme in South West England, 2011

  • The Labour Market Handbook, 2011

  • The Value of Investing in Skills & Learning – A compendium of evidence, 2011

  • Northern Devon – Statement of Work & Skills Priorities, 2011

  • Exeter & Heart of Devon - Employment & Skills Analysis, 2010

  • Local Employment & Skills Analysis – Wiltshire, 2010

  • Regional Employment & Skills Analysis - 2009

  • Rural Development Programme for England, South West Region Evidence Base, 2009

  • South West Region Recession Briefings, 2009

  • Creative Economies in SW England, 2009

  • Manufacturing Sector in SW England, 2009

  • Training and Business Survival during Recession, 2008

Research projects

Current project include:

  • The Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab - a £6.4m project helping companies to innovate and create new products and services in partnership with the University of Exeter, Met Office, University of Plymouth, Plymouth Marine Lab, Plymouth College of Art, Exeter City Futures and Rothamsted Research.

  • A £26m South West Institute for Technology - a multi-partner bid bringing education providers together to enhance facilities, teaching and learning for the advanced manufacturing and ditigal sectors in the south west peninsula.

  • A regional data analytics skills ‘escalator’ - creating new courses and curricula, from school age to post-graduate learning, to meet the needs of Exeter's growing digital industries and to enable local people to benefit from regional growth.

Research grants

  • 0 European Regional Development Fund
    Establishment of teams of Innovation Managers and Industrial research fellows focused on supporting innovation and new product development by bringing small companies and academics together across seven partner organisations including the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Met Office, Plymouth Marine Lab, Rothamsted Research, Plymouth College of Art and Exeter City Futures.
  • 0 Erasmus Plus
    Creation of a European Partnership bringing three Universities and eight schools together to pilot, evaluate and establish new approaches to teaching data analytics.


Supervision / Group

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