Glasgow Caledonian University is to play a key role in assessing how increased productivity can lead to higher wages and a better standard of living for millions of people.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is investing £1.5million to establish the Productivity Insights Network, which will look at ways to spread economic spin-offs evenly across the UK.
Dr Leaza McSorley, lecturer in Economics at Glasgow School for Business and Society, will lead a network of PhD researchers who are examining how increased productivity could benefit people who are unemployed or on low incomes.
Led by the University of Sheffield, the network includes academic partners from the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Strathclyde, Durham University, University of Glasgow, University of Leeds, and the University of Essex, as well as GCU.
Dr McSorley said: "Productivity not only drives economic performance it is key to increasing wages, reducing inequality and improving living standards across the different regions of the UK.
"It’s not about working more or working harder, it’s about working smarter and more efficiently, and producing more per hour.
"I’ll be looking at the inclusion aspect, how we can get people who are unemployed or on low incomes to benefit from increases in productivity. How can we distribute the gains of productivity in cities like London across the UK?
"Increasing productivity is the key way that people will be able to get a pay rise and be able to progress through their careers into more productive jobs."
The three-year project aims to contribute to future policy development, promote innovative business methods, and fund further research.
Professor Tim Vorley, of the University of Sheffield, which is leading the network, said: "Productivity is arguably the most pressing economic challenge facing the UK, with productivity growth having been slow since the late-2000s and the gap growing compared to other countries.
"Despite being a political priority, the productivity puzzle continues to frustrate economists and policymakers.
"The aim of the Productivity Insights Network is to rethink the productivity issues facing the UK and to develop new insights that challenge conventional views."