Recently, I ‘attended’ The graduate labour market post COVID-19: priorities for university careers services and the role of universities, employers and government in preparing students event, hosted by the Westminster Higher Education Forum. With the economic crisis presenting new challenges for many young people seeking employment, including graduates, here is what I found out:
Recently, Nesta launched a report exploring how cities and regions collaborate internationally on innovation. If done effectively, international collaborations offer the opportunity to hit multiple policy priorities: levelling up regions, boosting investment in R&D towards 2.4 percent of GDP, and strengthening overseas relationships post-Brexit.
Today, on 1 August, we celebrate Yorkshire Day.
Yorkshire has one of the richest histories of any region in England. The name ‘Yorkshire’ derives from the word ‘Eborakon’, an old Brythonic name, which means ‘the place of the yew-trees’. During the Roman period, York was the capital of the province of Britannia Inferior.
Last week, a request landed on our ‘virtual desk’, originating from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and linked to a series of economic recovery roundtables that are expected to inform the emergency budget announcement scheduled for the second week in July.
Given the challenging turnaround time, YU, together with our colleagues from the N8 Research Partnership, agreed to pool our respective ideas and produce a joint response. The topics where BEIS were seeking inputs, included: innovation, investment, net zero (carbon), levelling-up and (business) start-ups and scaleups. I was asked to contribute to the the start-up and scaleup theme, and was set the following exam questions:
Tom Forth and Richard Jones’ recent report, ‘The Missing £4 Billion’, published by the innovation specialists, Nesta, presents in-depth analysis and a series of thought-provoking, yet practical, proposals on how to rebalance the current uneven geography of research and development (R&D) spending within the UK. The report is timely and has gained much attention, not least for the case the authors make for government to devolve 25 per cent of the planned uplift in R&D funding to nations, cities and regions. A stark statistic contained in the report is that large parts of the UK, including Yorkshire, are missing out on £4 billion a year in public R&D funding. Add to that private investment, and the same regions are unable to access a further £8 billion per annum. Not insignificant sums when you consider the total investment that is needed to ‘level up’ the nations and regions.
At this time of year prospective students gear up for university. Amidst the uncertainty, 2020 might be no exception despite some of the current thinking. What, in the current climate are students expecting in September? Anecdotal evidence suggests that ‘the student experience’ (i.e. ‘being at uni’) is the first thought of many. It’s always been a moot point as to how far their provider’s responsibility extends into that wider area so let’s focus on specifically educational provision. Last week’s 2020 HEPI/Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey offers some initial insights at a time of the lockdown period.
In February, which seems a like a lifetime ago now, and when it was still permissible to gather in large groups, YU invited academics from Newcastle University to Leeds in order to meet university counterparts in Yorkshire, as well as local authority and health officials, in order to present findings from a newly-published report on some of the lessons learned from the Urban Living Partnership (ULP) pilots.
The government has pledged to ‘level up’ the country. It has also specifically committed to produce a ‘place strategy’. Work was underway on both fronts, but this has understandably slowed as the government has focused all its efforts on addressing the Coronavirus pandemic.
I’m a little late in reading Janesville: An American Story, Amy Goldstein’s tale of an industrial Wisconsin town in the depths of the Great Recession. The book received wide praise when published in 2017, telling the story of a community trying to pick itself up in the years following the closure of a major General Motors assembly plant. But the story has particular resonance now, as we stand on the cusp of another wave of economic upheaval. Here are three reflections.
One of the most surprising outcomes of the past few difficult months has been the seeming ease with which universities have changed their teaching from largely face-to-face to entirely online. This has been announced on websites promptly and factually – as if the transition is unproblematic.