About us

A wide shot of London city skyline against a blue sky

The Applied Institute for Research in Economics (AIRE) fosters and develops excellent disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in economics that is policy-relevant, realistic and pluralistic. AIRE is at the forefront of advancing economics research and teaching at a local, national and international level.

AIRE achieves excellent publications, a high level and varied sources of grant income, depth and breadth of impact, and provides excellent teaching and training through its pluralistic and rigorous ethos.

AIRE research demonstrates a range of characteristics:

  • Exploring multiple perspectives in economics
  • Operating at multiple scales (cities, regions, nations, internationally)
  • Using multiple methods: quantitative (applied econometrics, survey methods); qualitative (semi-structured interviews, ethnographic methods); and mixed (realist)
  • Engaging multiple disciplines  (economics, environment, engineering, sociology, geography, international business, history)
  • Recognising importance of institutions, history, and political economy as well as individuals
  • Addressing pedagogy and research-led teaching

Research themes and structure

AIRE is comprised of five research themes, involving researchers at all levels of experience in the Economics Department of the Business School. AIRE research themes reflect the Centre’s position at the forefront of applied economics knowledge: 

  • The macroeconomy and macroeconomic policy 
  • Work, labour and organisation
  • Financialisation and globalisation
  • Development and wellbeing
  • Environment, infrastructure, innovation and the circular economy

Collaborative contribution

AIRE contributes to the Faculty, University and wider governmental and societal goals of bringing together perspectives and disciplines to address societal and global challenges. AIRE members are involved in cross-faculty University initiatives (such as the Cities theme, LSSI, FinTech, Centre for Global DevelopmentRealism Leeds, and Waste Network) as well as cross-departmental research within Leeds University Business School.

Since 2011 (the beginning of the large FESSUD project led by the department), members have led or been significant co-investigators in projects worth a total of around £20M external income, of which approximately £10M comes into the University and £3M to the Faculty of Business. The in-kind contributions from non-academic project partners are of high value. For example, there is £1.8M worth of in-kind contributions within the iBUILD project; these contributions facilitated the influencing of HM Treasury guidance on valuing infrastructure provision.


AIRE publishes research across leading journals such as the Economic Journal, Journal of International Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, Social Choice and Welfare, Economic History Review, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Economics Letters, History of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Methodology, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Work Employment and Society, Journal of Operations Research, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), Ecological Economics, New Political Economy, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Cleaner Production, World Development, Review of Income and Wealth, Sociology, Journal of Business Ethics and MIS Quarterly.


We have a portfolio of more than £20m in recent and current grants for which our members are Project Investigators or Co-Investigators, from diverse funders including ESRC, EU, EPSRC, NERC, ISCF, GCRF, BBSRC, national and local government, and stakeholders of many kinds. These generate approximately £10m for the University and £3m for the Faculty of Business. These grants include:

There are cumulative developments across several of these projects and they have increasingly large influence; the ‘system of provision’ approach developed in FESSUD and iBUILD for example, is central to the £1m ‘Living Well Within Limits’ Leverhulme project based at the Faculty of Environment.


Our excellence and real-world ethos commit us to seek the impact of all kinds, across all levels and scales. Many of our projects have dedicated resources for impact activity.

In addition to the extensive impact reported across our project pages (FESSUD Mapping the Future of Finance workshop; Valuing Infrastructure conference), we are committed to the vision of the University as an anchor institution for the region and a national government resource. We work with the LGA and HEFCE and relevant public and private stakeholders to realise this vision.