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Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures

Tim May

Prof Tim MayTim holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science (1985) and the Universities of Surrey (1986) and Plymouth (1990). This followed a first career as an engineer in the agricultural sector and then an evening return-to-study course, during which time he worked in the retail sector. Tim was employed at the Universities of Plymouth (1990-95) and Durham (1995-99) before moving to Salford in September 1999 and then joining SURF in 2001 after which he became the Lead Director.

The total grant income to SURF since 2000 has been £6.5M from national research council funding (ESRC AHRC and EPSRC), international (European Commission, Mistra, Ford Foundation and Copenhagen University) and national and regional and local sources (Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and South Bank Universities, Strategic Health Authorities, Manchester and Salford City Councils, Regional Development Agencies, Business Sector, NESTA and Government Departments). The Centre has been commended for its social scientific impact and policy relevance.

Tim’s intellectual interests centre upon the relationship between knowledge, strategy, context and practice. He has developed these in a variety of fields and settings for different clients and funders including: universities; local government; regional and city innovation and knowledge partnerships; international and national research council funded programmes; Whitehall and regional agencies; health, probation, prison and social services and the small, medium and large business sectors.

Tim’s research focuses on knowledge generation and reception, sustainability, policy formulation and implementation and organizational actions and outcomes at different levels: from the local, to city, regional, national and international scales. The roles of management, culture, communication and coordination and intelligence, all feature in his work, along with concerns over the future of the university as a distinctive site of knowledge production and the place of active intermediation and urban knowledge arenas in achieving transformation. Tim’s work includes being seconded to the Mistra Urban Futures Centre, based in Gothenburg, Sweden and working on an EPSRC funded Retrofit programme and an AHRC Cultural Intermediaries project. His role for Mistra concerned the development of the ideas that informed the calls to bid for the Centre and he then took a lead role in developing an international comparative project on knowledge, governance and urban policy. His project roles focus on reflexive practice in the development of research and learning and engagement with different groups and communities.

In addition to his managerial, research and policy activities and experiences, Tim has given numerous talks nationally and internationally, as well having served on selection committees and commissioning bodies. The topics of his writings include the following: universities and socio-economic development and engagement; urban and science policy; innovation; knowledge and sustainability; management and organizational change; politics and regional representation; social theory; research methodology and methods; thinking sociologically and philosophy of science and social science.

Tim has authored, co-authored and edited 14 books (including new editions) that have been translated into 15 languages and he has co-edited 7 special editions of journals. He was the editor of an international book series (‘Issues in Society’, Open University Press/McGraw-Hill) in which seventeen books were published by leading authors from 1998-2010. He has written over one hundred and eighty articles, book chapters, research reports, government submissions, policy briefings and articles in different media. With Beth Perry, he is currently working on three books: ‘Reflexivity’ (Sage), ‘Cities and Knowledge’ (Routledge) and ‘Social Research’ (5th edition, McGraw-Hill). He is also writing a third edition (with Zygmunt Bauman) of ‘Thinking Sociologically’ (Wiley-Blackwell), as well as articles on cities, class, governance and knowledge.