Yesterday I attended the annual conference of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), in Leeds, entitled, ‘Transforming Lives Through Innovation’. The previous day I was at the White Rose Consortium’s Industrial Strategy ‘Working in Partnership’ final conference, which showcased the contribution of the social sciences to meeting industrial strategy opportunities and challenges. The timing of the two conferences came a matter of hours after the first of four speeches by the Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore, setting out how the Government intends to achieve its ‘2.4% R&D/innovation investment’ target by 2027.
Last week saw the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee hold its final evidence session, as part of the Committee’s inquiry into the ‘balance and effectiveness of R&D expenditure’. In evidence to the Committee, Yorkshire Universities highlighted ten issues that might help government and its agencies create and sustain a more spatially-balanced approach to R&D and innovation activity and investment.
Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore, has asked DfE and BEIS civil servants to work with the UPP Foundation to take forward the proposals published by the Civic University Commission (CUC) in its recent report. Over 40 universities have, to date, signed up to work towards Civic University Agreements, which form a key recommendation in the CUC report.
The output from this work will be a non-statutory spatial framework for the North. RTPI would like it to be brief yet ambitious, well founded but transformative, strategic and influential. The goal is that it will play an important role in shaping progressive spatial planning which will support the building of prosperous, healthy and sustainable communities, and a more competitive Northern Powerhouse. RTPI recognises that this framework will need to work across a wide range of existing geographies and organisations with responsibilities for the spatial agenda in the North of England, and their work therefore needs to deliver something additional which is relevant from a pan-northern perspective.