Skip to main content

Vice Chancellor and Mike Walker signing MOU banner

We’re delighted to announce that we’re partnering with the Competition and Markets Authority to provide microeconomics research expertise.

The partnership with the Microeconomics Unit (MU), a dedicated unit within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) at the UK Government’s Darlington Economic Campus (DEC), will play a pivotal role in advancing open-access economic research and informing evidence-based policy. 

We are pleased to be part of this collaborative effort, which not only enhances the MU’s research capabilities but also strengthens its ability to address real-world challenges and make a positive impact on society. The partnership reflects a shared commitment to excellence, innovation, and the advancement of knowledge in the field of microeconomics. 

Driving prosperity in North East England

The CMA helps people, businesses and the UK economy by promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour. The establishment of the Microeconomics Unit in Darlington, along with nine other Government departments and public bodies as part of the Darlington Economic Campus (DEC), presents the opportunity to provide representation of the region whilst also providing good quality, well-paid job opportunities for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. 

The UK Government-commissioned Penrose Report outlined the need for a strong independent institution responsible for the overall progress of the UK’s competition, consumer rights, supply-side reforms and productivity improvements.  

The MU aims to fulfil the Penrose recommendation to become a microeconomic sibling for the Bank of England’s well-established public macroeconomic role. The MU will produce economic research to inform policy making, including publishing the regular “State of Competition” report which assesses how well competition is working and what that means for people and businesses.  

How our expertise will help

Our Department of Economics and also our research centre, Durham Research in Economic Analysis and Mechanisms (DREAM), will provide expertise in support of this ambition. The DREAM Centre, like the MU, focuses on industrial organisation, regulatory initiatives and consumer behaviour in markets and will work to identify opportunities for research collaboration and knowledge sharing with the MU.  

Beyond research collaboration, the partnership places significant emphasis on the development of skills and knowledge for both staff and students at Durham University, the Business School and the CMA.  

A key aspect of this partnership is the shared commitment to nurturing talent and diversifying the economics profession with the opportunity to explore various avenues to develop a pipeline of talented economists and promote career pathways within North East England and beyond.  

Memorandum of Understanding 

Professor Karen O’Brien and Dr Mike Walker, the Chief Economic Adviser to the CMA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Darlington Economic Campus on Thursday 27 July. 

More information 

  • Learn more about the work of DREAM 
  • Find out more about our world-leading research centres which deliver impactful research across the global business world, informing policy and changing business practice.  
  • Read more about how we’re contributing to levelling up policy. 
Vice Chancellor and Mike Walker standing outside in front of Darlington Economic Campus logo

Karen O'Brien and Mike Walker at Darlington Economic Campus

Outside Darlington Economic Campus in front of the building with a sign in the foreground

Darlington Economic Campus

Photo of all in attendance outside of the Darlington Economic Campus

Attendees at the MOU signing

Vice Chancellor and Mike Walker signing MOU

Vice Chancellor Karen O'Brien and Dr Mike Walker signing the Memorandum of Understanding

Group photo of attendees of CMA partnership outside Darlington Economic Campus

Group photo of attendees of the CMA partnership