The international comparators project was a major study of 8 cities around the world that have turned themselves around from decline to success story. Each has been resilient in the face of waning industry, utilising policy instruments and collaborative initiative to bounce back. Researchers Suzanne Frick Ian Taylor and Paula Prenzel worked under Professors Paul Collier, Philip McCann, Colin Mayer and Vincent Goodstadt to produce 3 case study reports covering 8 cities in 6 countries these case studies offer examples of policy innovation for regional development that are instructive to the UK in its efforts to correct spatial inequality and other countries looking to weather post-industrial decline.

In this case study, the Western European cities of Lille in France and Bilbao in Spain are marked examples of economic resilience. This case study looks at cluster development, skills formation, funding and governance among the attributable factors for success.