Professor Marc Cowling


Professor of Economics and Productivity

Oxford Brookes Business School

Marc Cowling


My role is multifaceted and involves supporting early career researchers to develop their capabilities, managing the grant review process for the school, and supporting PGR students. In addition, I am the Principal Investigator on a large ESRC funded research project and am managing research teams across seven UK academic institutions investigating how finance barriers lead to underinvestment and low productivity growth in the small business sector. In parallel, I am working with a small team of academic experts on developing small business finance forecasting capability for the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Teaching and supervision


I am actively seeking new PhD students to supervise in any aspect of small business development and micro economics.


I have spent the last 30 years researching in 4 core areas: The Dynamics of Early Stage Survival and Growth; The Financing of SMEs and Entrepreneurial Businesses; Labour Market Dynamics, and; Evaluating Public Policy. My aim is to undertake empirical research that has the potential to make a real difference to small businesses either directly or by informing public policy in this area.

Research impact

I am ranked in the top 6% of economists in the world by citations (H-index) according to Research Publications in Economics (REPEC, October 2022), and in the Top 2% of scientific researchers in the world by Stanford University. I have published 100 academic peer reviewed journal articles and co-authored three books on public policy relating to unemployment, economic growth, and entrepreneurship. I have also undertaken 70 sponsored projects including public policy evaluations in the UK for DBEIS, HMRC, HSE, DWP, UK Investors in People, and Department for Education. Internationally, I have evaluated the European Investment Fund regional financing instruments for DG Regio and the performance of Cohesion Funds 2007-2013. I have also conducted evaluations of the Danish Growth Fund for the Danish Ministry, Swedish Regional VC Schemes for the Swedish Growth Agency, and the Australian Innovation Investment Fund for DIISR. I am currently working with BEIS and Innovate UK on understanding the Covid-19 SME financing landscape.

Centres and institutes

Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • Understanding how constraints on access to finance and under-investment impact on productivity growth in smaller firms (04/07/2022 - 03/07/2025), funded by: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £268,562


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • I am on the board of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE).


  • BEIS Longitudinal Small Business Survey Dissemination Event, Location: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, - October 10, 2022 12:30 - October 10, 2022 15:00