Timothy Sydenham

Timothy Sydenham

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Tim is currently writing up his PhD thesis.

His research synthesises the evolutionary economic geography and state rescaling literatures to explore why some subnational economies adapt to change better than others, leading to uneven development, and the role of governance leaders and networks in this differential performance. His thesis characterises state rescaling as an evolutionary process to analyse how governance actors exercise agency in order to adapt to change and contribute to the evolvability of the local/regional economy.

Tim studied part-time on his PhD research whilst working in a variety of full-time roles at the University from 2013-2020, most recently leading the institutional Planning & Analytics Office. His remit covered: strategic planning; institutional research; data analytics and business intelligence; market, competitor and applicant/student insight; student number planning; statutory returns; league tables, rankings and performance against institutional KPIs; corporate risk management; sector policy and the external environment; governance; transformation and strategic projects. His earlier roles at the University were in strategy implementation, research and innovation.


Tim has over 20 years experience in higher education, government and the private sector in a variety of leadership, strategy, planning, data and research roles:

- helping universities and other (quasi-)public sector organisations adapt to increasingly marketised environments

- guiding cities, regions and organisations through strategy development exercises

- setting up major public-private energy and sustainability investment programmes

- co-designing the economic development programmes for the London 2012 Olympic Games

- leading the Strategy & Research consulting arm of a FTSE100 company

- and most recently setting up and leading the Planning & Analytics Office at the University of Plymouth. 

University of Plymouth

PhD in Human Geography, ongoing

University of Sussex

BA (First Class Honours) in English, 1999


MSP - programme management, 2014

5 CASE MODEL - business case development, 2009

PRINCE2 - project management, 2003



Research interests

Tim is currently writing up his PhD thesis in Human Geography. His research is supervised by Professor Ian Bailey.

Grants & contracts

Before joining the University, Tim won/oversaw and/or advised on over £10m research and consultancy projects, as a freelance consultant and for organisations including Experian, Oxford Economics and SQW. These included:


• Army, 2012 Games: implications for Army recruitment and retention
• Dept for Business Innovation & Skills/SQW, Expert advisor on the 2012 Games skills legacy
• Dept for Culture Media & Sport, Expert peer reviewer of 2012 Games economic legacy research
• Greater London Authority/SQW, Expert advisor on the Olympic employment and skills evaluation
• Learning & Skills Council, 2012 Games: skills impact in South West England
• LOCOG, Author of the 'implications of the recession for the 2012 Games' Sydenham Report
• London Development Agency, Advisor on the 2012 Games employment and skills programme
• London Development Agency, Employment & Skills for the 2012 Games 
• London Development Agency, Evaluation Plan for the 2012 Games 
• NWDA, Advisor on the North West 2012 Games employment and skills strategy
• Olympic Host Boroughs, Advisor on the 2012 Games employment and skills business plan


• Canterbury City Council, Canterbury Futures Study
• DTI, Attracting Talent (Migration Study)
• East Kent Local Strategic Partnership, East Kent Futures Study
• Government Skills, The future of public sector working 
• Hart District Council, Hart Housing Market Assessment
• Herts County Council/Oxford Economics, Hertfordshire Low Carbon Economy Strategy
• Horsham District Council, Visioning Horsham
• Kingdom of Bahrain, Bahrain Spatial Plan
• Learning & Skills Council, Thames Gateway Skills Audit
• Learning & Skills Council, Thames Gateway Construction Skills Directory
• Learning & Skills Council, Strategic review of the Skills and Education Network
• London Skills & Employment Board, International best practice case studies 
• North West Development Agency, Northwest England Futures Study
• Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Science City Review
• Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh City-Region Economic Audit
• South East Development Agency, Diamonds for Investment and Growth
• South West Regional Development Agency, Transport, Connectivity and the Economy
• Test Valley Borough Council, Test Valley Long-Term Economic Strategy
• Welsh Government, Options appraisal of the post-16 learning network in Wales
• Welsh Government, Financial Services Sector Strategy
• Westminster City Council, Westminster’s housing markets