Cliff has operated as a freelance consultant since 2004. He does research, authors reports and is a facilitator and trainer. While at Heriot-Watt University he was also involved in contract research.

He has worked on numerous projects:

  • With Spatial Foresight GmbH ( ) to deliver research-based reports for the ESPON Co-ordination Unit on European territorial development and policy.
  • With the Royal Town Planning Institute ( to deliver the UK National Contact Point for the ESPON 2013 programme. 
  • As an external expert for the Royal Town Planning Institute on transnational projects within the ESPON 2013 programme.
  • For the ESPON 2013 Co-ordination Unit as a peer reviewer on Sounding Boards for research projects.
  • On European Union INTERREG projects.
  • On other European projects.
  • On Commonwealth, international and global projects.
  • On UK projects.  

ESPON (2013) UK Contact Point

ESPON 2013 is an applied research programme partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and partly by the 28 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.  Its research has built an evidence base to support policy development for territorial cohesion and development. Each country appoints a National Contact Point to interpret and disseminate ESPON findings in their national context, and to raise awareness of the programme.

  • Cliff was Team Leader for the UK ESPON Contact Point 2008-14,, as consultant to the Royal Town Planning Institute, under contract from the UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government.

Reports authored under this contract:

Regional Development in Northern Ireland: Perspectives from the European Observationnetwork for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON) (2014)

Towards NPF3: A European Perspective (2013)

Sustainability and Economic Recovery: European perspectives on urban and rural development in Wales (2012)

England’s Urban Growth Challenge: Messages from the ESPON Programme (2012)

Towards a set of indicators for territorial cohesion (2011)

Work, Rest and Play: Planning for functional territories – UK / Ireland workshop looks at using ESPON (2011)  

How does the localism approach relate to the place-based / territorial agenda of ESPON? (2011)

New ESPON Synthesis Report focuses on Europe in a global context (2010)  

European perspectives on Territorial Impact Assessment – A Background Paper for the ESPON EATIA Project (2010)

Opportunities for UK development practitioners to set the research agenda (2009)

Transnational Territorial Research in Europe; a review of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network and the opportunities it offers to researchers in planning   American Collegiate Schools of Planning / Association of European Schools of Planning Conference, Chicago, (2008), Tracking ID: 193951, Session 6.7.

Spatial monitoring: European practice for nations and regions (2008) 

ESPON Workshop on Indicators and Indices (2008)

Changing UK regions in their European context; ESPON 2002-06 and 2008-13  (2008)

Summaries of numerous ESPON project reports.

Workshop Presentations under this contract

Strategic planning for urban growth; International lessons , Birmingham, October 2013.

ESPON Perspectives on Urban England  Newcastle, November 2012.

City Regions Cardiff, September 2012.

Benchmarking Urban Scotland in Europe Edinburgh, March 2012.

Using ESPON research for the National Planning Framework for Scotland Edinburgh, 2011.

Key messages from ESPON for the UK London, September 2011.

How to make a successful bid  2011.

Targeting analysis on migration and economy London, May 2010.

The TIA rap  Edinburgh, May 2010.

New work on assessing the impacts of policy on cohesion,   European Council of Spatial Planners, Edinburgh, May 2010.

ESPON and INTERREG in the UK London, March 2010.

UK spatial evidence base and the ESPON programme Leeds, September 2009.

Using ESPON data: Territorial indicators in ESPON  September 2009.

ESPON The European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (2008). 

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