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Christopher Lawton

Mr christopher lawton

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham Business School

Staff Group(s)
Academic Division Department of Economics Nottingham Civic Exchange


Chris’ is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, within Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University. His role combines civic research in support of NTU's public policy partners, quasi-commercial consultancy and academic research alongside the delivery of learning and teaching activities and contributions to curriculum enhancement.

His research interests include education, skills, employment and the quality of work, migration and demographic change.   Chris is interested in engaging students with policy-relevant and externally facing research projects, where students' coursework can be of genuine benefit to local partners, as well as enhancing the student experience.

He has delivered a series of research projects on the labour market, society and the wider economic development of Nottingham, including: for the Nottingham Post as part of the Great Nottingham Debates (2014 and 2016), investigating the barriers and drivers of graduate retention and the role of Nottingham Trent University as a local ‘anchor institution’; and for the Nottingham Civic Exchange, including the empirical analysis underpinning the Ordinary Working Families programme (2017) and baseline labour market analysis for the Good Work programme (2019).

Chris' teaching responsibilities include designing and delivering the final year undergraduate economics module 'Leadership & Employability', which combines students’ wider professional development activities with a major applied economics project.  In their projects, students work with external organisations to address social and economic issues facing businesses, individuals and communities in Nottingham City. Chris has also delivered several bursary-funded student-led research projects, including 'Headline to Breadline: What's Your Inflation Rate?' with the Royal Society (RSA) and NTU's Scholarship Programme for Undergraduate Researchers (SPUR) and 'The Hidden Dimensions of Inclusive Growth', funded by a NTU Enriching Society seedcorn grant (2018).

Chris regularly contributes to local and national TV and radio news through interviews and articles and is also a frequent contributor to The Conversation.  Outside of his NTU role, he is a co-founder of a social enterprise working with young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Career overview

Previous posts include Senior Research Advisor at the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), where Chris led on the production of a ‘regional skills priority statement’ to inform the development of the Government’s skills strategy in autumn 2010, and managed a series of major external research projects, including a study with the Met Office on the links between Climate Change and economic development. Prior to this, Chris was seconded to the Sector Skills Development Agency/UK Commission for Employment and Skills to manage a series of research projects supporting the implementation of the 2006 Leitch Review of Skills.

Prior to joining NTU in 2011, Chris worked as an analyst for East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), leading research projects in the regional and sector-based skills and employment agendas during the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.  Key achievements included contributions to speeches delivered by the then-Government’s Skills Advocates, Sir Digby Jones and Professor Mike Campbell, and production of a guide for Local Government researchers on how to undertake skills demand and supply analysis at a sub-regional level.

Research areas

Chris’ research interests include employment and the quality of work, migration and demographic change, and skills, education and training.  He is currently working on a project exploring the role of universities in the Midlands in supporting student and graduate entrepreneurship, and the wider economic impact of this activity.

Sponsors and collaborators

As a member of the research and consultancy centre in Nottingham Business School, the Economic Strategy Research Bureau, Chris’ principle role is to produce research and analysis for a range of projects for local and central Government. Recent work includes studies on employment & skills and education & training issues, enterprise, migration, and graduate retention for:

  • Nottingham City Council
  • The Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Local Enterprise Partnership
  • East Midlands Councils
  • The Nottingham Post
  • The Tramlink Consortium (NET Phase 2)
  • The Midlands Enterprise Universities

Press expertise

employment quality


education and migration