‘Levelling up’ the UK regions

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director

A very Happy New Year to YU members, partners and friends, and best wishes for a successful 2020.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take time out over the festive period to pause, recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with the family. During the past two weeks I did, however, keep one eye on the latest stories in relation to the new government’s plans for local and regional development following the Conservative Party’s victory in last month’s General Election. In particular, a couple of news items caught my attention, both of which relate directly to YU’s strategic objective of ensuring that the higher education sector collectively in Yorkshire plays a stronger role in attracting more investment and greater prosperity to the region.

First, there was a story two days after Christmas about government plans to revise the Treasury’s Green Book rules on investment to enable more emphasis to be placed on investment for the purposes of achieving greater ‘well-being’ and not just GVA. Press coverage this week suggests that these changes will feature in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget statement on 11 March.

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Exploring the role of health in economic and inclusive growth

Senior leaders from the NHS, local authorities, education and industry met last week to explore the role of health in driving economic and inclusive growth in the Yorkshire and Humber Region.

The YHealth for Growth conference was hosted by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), NHS Confederation and Yorkshire Universities and held at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds.

Keynote speakers included:

  • Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Leeds City Council
  • Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University and Chair of Yorkshire Universities
  • Rob Webster, Chief Executive, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Lead, West Yorkshire & Harrogate Integrated Care System
  • Niall Dickson CBE, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation
  • Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Key themes that emerged during the event included:

Read moreExploring the role of health in economic and inclusive growth

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Breaking the student-graduate stereotype

Professor Roger Lewis, YU Associate

In spite of the profound changes in the university student body over recent decades, something of a ‘stereotype’ persists: the 18-year-old choosing a course and university by consulting prospectuses, friends and family, then leaving home to study and live in a hall of residence. After getting a degree the graduate moves again to some other part of the country, to begin a ‘career’.

The model, influential in driving the sector’s growth, has never told the complete story of higher education. Although part-time study has reduced significantly over the current decade, many part-time students work during the day and then participate in evening study; thousands of students who study by distance or open learning from home, work or a mobile base. But these students have often seemed marginal to decisions about funding, curriculum and learning provision.

Read moreBreaking the student-graduate stereotype

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Lobsters and libraries: why engagement with place matters

This guest blog is based upon a speech Matthew Guest from GuildHE recently gave at a recent event on impactful knowledge exchange between higher education and the cultural sector run by The Culture Capital Exchange

Higher education providers of all shapes and sizes can play the pivotal role in brokering relationships and supporting activities between government, industry, charity and place. 

Serving communities is important. Deep listening, understanding and commitment is crucial if we are to address the severe inequalities found within almost every village, town and city in the UK. 

Where does higher education feature in this?

Read moreLobsters and libraries: why engagement with place matters

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Future Ready Skills Commission Interim Report Feedback by YU

The aim of the Future Ready Skills Commission (FRSC), sponsored by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is to develop a blueprint for an education and skills system that can deliver against local economic priorities, the fulfilment of individual potential and the promotion of inclusive growth.

Together with FRSC, YU organised a roundtable in October to inform the evidence gathering stage of the review. The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Tim Thornton, and attended by senior representatives from each of YU’s twelve member institutions, as well as commissioners and the secretariat from the FRSC.

Read moreFuture Ready Skills Commission Interim Report Feedback by YU

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N8/ Yorkshire Universities joint response to David Sweeney

The N8 Research Partnership and Yorkshire Universities (YU) together represent 17 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the north of England. Our members make major contributions towards the UK’s research and innovation base. They are also critical institutions in supporting local and regional development, and act as key anchor institutions underpinning place-making in many cities, towns and communities across the north.

We welcome the questions posed by David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, in his recent blog for WonkHE. This joint response by N8 and YU represents a contribution to the important debate about the role of place in research and innovation policy, strategy and funding in the UK.

Read moreN8/ Yorkshire Universities joint response to David Sweeney

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