***CALLING ALL POST GRADS & PhD STUDENTS***

Does your research say something about levelling up? Is there something missing with the agenda? Is there something that needs saying? Has the government got it right, wrong or somewhere in between? Is there something else that policymakers should be doing?

We are launching our inaugural blog competition. If you have something to say on levelling up, we want to hear from you!

Simply submit a 600-word blog post and author bio to: PERN@YorkshireUniversities.ac.uk

Our advisory panel will shortlist entries and we will offer editorial support to the top 10 posts and publish them on the Yorkshire Universities website.

The top 3 will each receive a £100 cash prize and an invitation to present their research to a panel of academics and policymakers as part of our levelling up series.

Deadline for submissions extended to 29 April 2022.

  • Share this post:

CAPE Case Study: Richard Whittle, Policy Fellow (January 2022) 

Strengthening academic-policy engagement in West Yorkshire

First published in CAPEnews Issue 8, 25 January

CAPE is looking to understand how universities can mobilise their research findings and capabilities by working with local and regional authorities in order to enhance evidence-informed policymaking. CAPE’s West Yorkshire Policy Fellow was established in the context of West Yorkshire’s changing political landscape: the establishment of the region’s first Mayor.  

Through the fellowship, we are exploring how embedding knowledge brokerage within new political infrastructure can support place-based policy making processes, especially regarding the regions’ economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. In particular, CAPE is looking at how the fellow can enable linkages and engagement with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, local authorities, West Yorkshire universities and the Place-Based Economic Recovery Network (PERN) to delivery policy processes and outcomes that are driven by and support the regions’ communities.

We asked our CAPE policy fellow, Dr Richard Whittle, to reflect on what’s happened to date in his first 6 (of 12 months) in post.

A bit about me

I’m Dr Richard Whittle, an economist with a background in behavioural and computer science. I’m particularly interested in public policy formation and its evidence based, including the role of Artificial Intelligence in Public Policy, understanding of online communities and approaches to financing and investment. Broadly my research encompasses the impact of technology on society. Previously I led the MSc Taxation and Fiscal Policy developed with HMRC for Senior Civil Servants and recently led the review of the retail economy for the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review. My latest research, funded by the ESRC Productivity Insights Network, investigates the future of retail in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire has the potential for meaningful and long-lasting academic policy engagement infrastructure

I was awarded a CAPE fellowship in July 2021 working with Yorkshire Universities, the Place-based Economic Recovery Network (PERN) and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, to lead an innovative project tasked with strengthening the use and application of university research to inform public policy in West Yorkshire. This got off to a rapid start and on my first day I received my second Covid vaccination and presented to the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board on the implications of C-19 on the future of retail in the region. This was a clear indication of how this fellowship would progress. The academic policy engagement infrastructure in West Yorkshire developed by Yorkshire Universities has the potential to be deep, meaningful and long-lasting and the CAPE fellowship is increasingly key in this process.

Place-based networks are strengthening engagement

The key vehicle in strengthening academic policy engagement in West-Yorkshire is the Place-Based Economic Recovery Network (PERN). PERN is an academic led, multi-university network of experts in place based economic recovery, regeneration and resilience. It was established to offer support to West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, and other public bodies, such as local authorities in the design, plan and implementation of COVID recovery efforts.

PERN is a single body with an academic representative from each of the 7 West-Yorkshire Universities and provides multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary perspectives. It acts as a direct source of reference for the Combined and Local Authorities as well as support for the CAPE fellowship. Via the fellowship, PERN have been invited to engage with numerous policy makers and policy professionals at many levels within West-Yorkshire. PERN has developed evidence and engaged meaningfully with policy in several aspects of economic recovery, the safety of women and girls, regional tax policy, skills development, innovation mapping and much more. Crucially several impactful policy co-creation relationships have been established supporting policy professionals and academic research impact.

We are shifting towards regional policy engagement

Prior to the fellowship starting, the academic policy engagement culture was strong, especially between a university and its local government, though usually a function of relationships between a small number of academics and policy professionals. The fellowship has helped facilitate policy engagement between the West-Yorkshire University Sector and regional policy in general. This is a key shift in supporting evidence based policy in West-Yorkshire.

Dr Richard Whittle is playing a crucial role in building on the initial building blocks designed to strengthen academic research and policy engagement in West Yorkshire, principally through the West Mayoral Combined Authority. Research and evidence is seen increasingly as essential to informing and shaping effective policy and strategy in West Yorkshire in the areas of local and regional development, social mobility, policy and crime strategy, economic intelligence and foresight.

Dr Pete O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities

The fellowship has also embraced and developed a number of initiatives for academic policy engagement including directly funded research, roundtables with selected academic experts and relevant policy leads, the creation of expert directories, evidence submissions and representation on numerous policy committees. Above all however is the facilitation of trusted partnerships and academic policy relationships developing a longer term cultural shift in academic policy engagement. The fellowship provides an important conduit and stable point of contact between the multiple policy and academic actors in West Yorkshire.

Our outputs and what we’re looking towards

PERN have supported a workstream examining ‘the barriers to working class participation in policy making’ and expect the first piece of academic research in this stream to be available shortly. This will be accompanied by a succession of policy engagement measures bringing the PERN academic community together in a vitally important issue and supporting evidence based policy development

PERN, Yorkshire Universities and this fellowship is making a considerable impact in numerous and varied areas, bringing together academics, policy makers and policy professionals to inform and co-create policy. For example working in collaboration with the Combined Authority, PERN has commissioned an academic evidence review examining the safety of women and girls in West Yorkshire.  This ongoing policy engagement is led by researchers from the None In Three Research Centre based at the University of Huddersfield and is a key demonstration of PERN supporting academic policy engagement.

Fellowships deepen understanding of how to connect with policy

My CAPE fellowship has had a huge positive impact on my development as a policy focussed academic, I have far greater insight into the policy making process and its evidence base enabling the strengthening of my research and its own impact. I would urge every academic who researches a policy relevant area to consider a fellowship working with policy making institutions to really understand how they can connect with policy.

  • Share this post:

The creative industries matter to London, Yorkshire and the nation

As published in HEPI on 15 June 2021.

This blog has been kindly contributed by Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer of London Higher, and Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities – the umbrella bodies representing universities and higher education colleges across their respective regions. You can find Diana and Peter on Twitter at @dianajbeech and @obrienpeter72.

Read more

  • Share this post:

Regional Policy, ‘Levelling Up’ and R&D: a north of England perspective

As published on HEPI on 3 June 2021.

This blog was contributed by Dr Annette Bramley, Director, N8 Research Partnership and Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities. This blog is in response to the recent HEPI report on Regional Policy and R&D. You can find Annette and Peter on Twitter @AnnetteB_N8 and @obrienpeter72.

Read more

  • Share this post:

Boosting regional research and development: The role of regional university networks

As published by HEPI on 14 May 2021

This blog has been kindly contributed by Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer of London Higher, and Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities – the umbrella bodies representing universities and higher education colleges across their respective regions. You can find Diana and Peter on Twitter at @dianajbeech and @obrienpeter72

Read more

  • Share this post:

Yorkshire’s Universities and Business are key to the building the future economy of the region

OPINION

Professor Shirley Congdon, Chair of the YU Board

Yorkshire universities offer to help local businesses recover from pandemic

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we need to change the way we do business. As with any major upheaval, there have been winners and losers. As with the banking crisis of 2008, the pandemic has shown no mercy to businesses that relied on pre-existing norms. As news headlines have shown, this scourge has not just affected small and medium sized businesses. Even some of the mightiest have succumbed to the crisis.

Read more

  • Share this post:

Collaboration is key: insight into civic partnerships in Leeds

A new report, ‘Unlocking the potential of civic collaboration’, offers fresh insight into collaborative working between the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council. Professor Adam Crawford and Professor Adrian Favell, of Leeds Social Sciences Institute, discuss why collaboration is becoming more important and its role in the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal.

Read more

  • Share this post:

PERN Academic Steering Group submission to the BEIS post pandemic economic growth consultation

This response has been authored by an economics sub-group of the Place-Based Economic Recovery Network (PERN) Academic Steering Group, by Dr. Thomas Haines-Doran, Professor Andrew Brown, and Professor Gary Dymski from the University of Leeds; Professor Jamie Morgan, Leeds Beckett University, and Dr. Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University.

PERN brings together experts from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), Leeds City region Enterprise Partnership, Yorkshire Universities, and universities outside of Yorkshire, with the aim of playing a key role as ‘anchor institutions’ in regional recovery and development.

Here you can read the submission in full.

  • Share this post:

RDAs: Back to the Future?

Guest blog by Kevin Richardson, Local Academy

It is almost a decade since the then coalition government announced it would abolish 9 Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England and replace them with what turned out to be 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). But the political and economic debates, which underpinned that decision, are as relevant today as they were ten years ago. The UK (especially England) remains the most centralised state in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. And not unrelated, because of ever-widening regional disparities of wealth and deprivation, the UK is rooted at the foot of the league table. 

Read more

  • Share this post:

This week’s leadership message comes from our Partnership Director Ian Holmes and Tony Jamieson, Director of Transformation for Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network.

As published on the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership website on 29 May 2020

Hello, our names are Ian and Tony,

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is founded on the principle of collaboration.  Working together, across health and care partners, with local communities gives us the best chance of improving health and care for everyone.  This collaboration stretches beyond health and care organisations.  Yorkshire benefits from a vibrant university sector, which works closely in partnership through groups, such as Yorkshire Universities.  Higher education is a huge asset to our region and it can be a critical factor in the West Yorkshire response to Covid-19.

Read more

  • Share this post:

Federations of Universities: What could we learn from elsewhere?

Guest blog by Kevin Richardson, Local Academy

Introduction 

Universities UK has called for the establishment of a ‘transformation fund’ to support universities over the next two to three years to reshape and consolidate through federations’ and partnerships, or potentially merge with other higher education institutions, further education colleges or private providers’.

Read more

  • Share this post:

Universities and Geography: Learning from the OECD?

Guest blog by Kevin Richardson, Research England

UKRI committed in its original Strategic Prospectus to publish a Place Strategy and work is progressing towards its publication. Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has opened an investigation into ‘universities and geography’. Kevin Richardson, Research England, identifies many common issues.

Read more

  • Share this post:

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 more

  • Share this post:

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

Read more

  • Share this post:

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 more

  • Share this post: