Professor James Simmie

BSc (Econ), MPhil, DPhil

Professor Emeritus in Innovation Studies

School of the Built Environment


James Simmie has academic qualifications in Economics, BSc (Econ) from London University, and Sociology, MPhil from Southampton University and DPhil from University College London. 

Teaching and supervision

James Simmie makes occasional teaching inputs to Masters programmes. He has supervised approaching 100 masters and doctoral theses. He also acts as an external PhD examiner both in the UK and Europe.


James Simmie’s research is focused on technological innovation, productivity and the competitiveness of regions and cities within the general theoretical framework of evolutionary economic theory and economic geography.

Externally funded research projects have included:

  • The ESRC Cities: Competitiveness and Cohesion programme analysing the reasons for the innovative performance of some of Europe's most successful cities. Some of the results of this research are published as (2001) Innovative Cities, London, Spon.
  • The relative competitive performance of the English core cities when compared with their European counterparts. The results are published as Parkinson, M., Hutchins, M., Simmie, J. M., Clark, G. and Verdonk, H. (2004) Competitive European Cities: Where do the Core Cities Stand? London, ODPM.
  • The economic performance of English Core Cities. Published as Realising the Full Economic Potential of London and the Core Cities (2004) Manchester and London, Greater London Authority. Full report at (Publications, London Study). A shortened version is also published as “The economic performance of London and the Core Cities”, Working Paper 196, Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, Department of Planning. With Ron Martin and others.
  • The Economic Performance of English Cities  (2006) funded and published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Written by James Simmie, Juliet Carpenter and Andrew Chadwick from Oxford Brookes, Ron Martin, Cambridge and Peter Wood UCL. A comprehensive analysis of the recent competitiveness of the 56 largest cities in England.
  • Path dependence, territorial innovation systems and the absorptive capacities of English city regions. Funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. With Ron Martin. 2006-2008.


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

James has been a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of Social Sciences.