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.

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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.

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Getting regional value from knowledge exchange

Professor Roger Lewis, YU Associate

The higher education sector welcomed the announcement last month from Research England Minister announces new direction for knowledge exchange fundingthat the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) will rise to £250 million by 2020-21 (an uplift of over 50% since 2016). Funding for the Yorkshire region moved from £20.1 million in 2018-19 to £20.4 million in 2019-20 and we can thus expect a further increase for 2020-21.

HEIF’s purpose is to develop university-business interaction. What is covered by ‘HEIF’ has always been a source of debate. The ‘I’ in the acronym stands for ‘Innovation’, used here in its business sense, with a strong implied link to technology and the application of ‘research’ to improve productivity. The new emphasis though is on ‘knowledge exchange’ (KE) – like ‘innovation’ another portmanteau term.

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The value of expertise

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director

Last week, I was in Montréal speaking at an international conference on the subject of regional innovation. The event coincided with half a million people – many of them aged under 16, including the activist, Greta Thunberg – taking to the streets of the city to call for action to address the climate emergency.

Whilst in Canada, I heard of some ground-breaking studies and policies on local and regional research and innovation processes. Coupled with how science and expertise is shaping public opinion on a theme as substantive as climate change, my visit to Québec re-emphasised to me the importance we should attach to universities building and sustaining effective relationships with local communities and the wider public, as well as business and governments.

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Health in all Local Industrial Strategies?

Guest contribution from Michael Wood, NHS Confederation

The government published its Industrial Strategy in November 2017, setting out a long-term plan to create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK. Critically, every local economic area in England, along with the devolved administrations, is now developing its own local industrial strategy. This briefing reflects on the emerging importance of health to many of the early draft local industrial strategies, explores the opportunities for the NHS that exist at both system and organisational level and outlines how to engage with and influence the development of these strategies in the coming year.

Key points

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The Civic University: How should universities assess their economic impacts in a “civic age”?

Guest blog by Tim Fanning and David Marlow

If the Civic University Commission (CUC) Final Report is to genuinely change the type of impacts universities have on the places where they are located,  universities will need to be prepared to deliver impact studies and analyses in new, more explicitly civic and bespoke ways..

The role of the university economic and social impact study

Economic and social impact assessments have become an important part of the evidence base for universities. This reflects the increasing economic importance of universities to their local areas in many locations over time, as well as growing expectations on the sector to harness and demonstrate its wider socio-economic value.

Read moreThe Civic University: How should universities assess their economic impacts in a “civic age”?

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What central banks and universities have in common

James Ransom, YU Associate

Last month Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, gave a speech at the University of Sheffield asking if all economics, like politics, is ultimately local. The speech attracted attention for its discussion of whether we can capture and model detailed data on the economy at a far more local level. But there are two other points in the speech worth exploring further.

The first is recognition that higher education, alongside financial services and the creative industries, are sectors that ‘exhibit the highest economic complexity and thus potentially generate the highest value-added’. Economic complexity means the amount of embedded knowledge.

Read moreWhat central banks and universities have in common

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