Project period: February – September 2019 

This community previously received Initiator Funding for the project: South West and Wales facing the Withdrawal from the EU: Mapping Needs, Strategies and Voice

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Maria Garcia (PI) 
University of Bristol: Clair Gammage 
Cardiff University: Jo Hunt 
University of Exeter: David Thackeray 

Project overview 

This community brings together academics, business representatives and stakeholders in the region to raise awareness and understanding of the intersections between trade policy and other domestic policies and to consider and identify pathways to influence future UK trade policies. 


The complex process of withdrawal from the EU presents major challenges for the business community in the South West and Wales. It needs to adapt to changing scenarios (changes to agricultural policy affecting farming and fisheries, to industrial policy affecting aerospace and related industries, to migration policies affecting the creative and hospitality industries, to trade policies affecting all economic sectors), whilst lacking knowledge, resources and time to devote to the process. 

The project brings together business representatives, policy-makers, civil society and a team of multidisciplinary academics specialising in trade law, trade agreements, regional business and industrial policies, the division of competence within the UK territorial constitution and the relationship between governments, migration and employment and civil society voice and participation in European policy processes to co-create a deeper understanding of the fabric of regional businesses, their pressing questions and concerns regarding Brexit and future UK trade policies, whilst jointly developing avenues for policy influence alongside various regional authorities. 

This will address GCRF Challenge 6 (Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies) as it intends to join forces with regional economic actors, and reflect upon how best to enhance that in a changing and uncertain situation. By identifying regional priorities and articulating them in support of specific trade and industrial policies that will support future business and employment in the region, the project also addresses Challenge 10 (Social justice and inequality, local and global). 

Project summary 

The key aim of the project is tgrow and nurture a collaborative network with regional businesses and policy-makers, and contribute to the articulation of sector and region-relevant strategies for Brexit and future UK trade policy. To achieve this the network will work with regional business associations and their members to share knowledge of business strategies relating to Brexit negotiations and trade agreements and to map the region’s business fabric and its interactions with Brexit and UK trade policy. A series of surveys and industry specific workshops will allow the community to build relationships with these stakeholders and identify and answer key research questions. 

Community site (GW4 Portal)