New YU Report: Universities and ‘Place Promotion’ in West Yorkshire

Report written by James Ransom, YU Associate

This discussion paper provides an overview of some of the key issues shaping the contribution of universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) to the promotion of place, and to attracting inward investment and increased trade into Yorkshire and the Humber, and in particular West Yorkshire.

It should be read against the background of the government’s commitment to increase total research and innovation (R&I) investment to 2.4 percent of national GDP, in particular as foreign-owned businesses in the UK spend more on this activity than domestically-owned businesses.

In addition, it also provides a contribution to discussions that have taken place at various times in the region as to how universities and HEIs help to attract and embed business investment and trade within and across city/sub-regions, regions and the Northern Powerhouse. The report also seeks to inform the emergent 2021-2025 Leeds City Region Trade Strategy.

This work is intended to stimulate debate and to provide a basis for potential actions going forwards. Overall, the region’s universities are well-positioned to strengthen their strategic relationships with Combined Authorities, metro mayors, local government, LEPs, business and others, and to collectively showcase nationally and internationally the unique strengths of higher education (HE) in the region as an asset to attract investment and jobs. In particular, some practical and immediate actions could include providing a feed of relevant university-focused news reports for local inward investment web portals, promoting the local higher-level skills base, and utilising international students and alumni more strategically.

Download the full report. (Opens in new tab).

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Why we need more inward investment to meet our R&D targets

James Ransom, YU Associate

The contribution of business is vital if the UK is to meet its target of R&D investment reaching 2.4 percent of GDP by 2027. International comparisons suggest that this is an ambitious target, that will be difficult to meet: achieving R&D funding goals is the exception rather than the norm. Adão Carvalho assessed how effective R&D intensity policies were across 45 countries, and found that 84 percent missed their targets. For 17 percent of countries, R&D intensity actually decreased over the period of the target.

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Calling all marketing lecturers – opportunity to contribute to an interuniversity marketing competition

Leeds Trinity University are hoping to run a Yorkshire-wide interuniversity marketing competition in semester 2. This will be similar to the format CIM’s ‘The Pitch’ competition but will only be available to level 4 students studying at a university in Yorkshire.

The proposed competition will encourage students to work together in small groups in response to a marketing challenge. Students will gain valuable skills including teamwork, leadership, problem solving and marketing analysis. It will also be a valuable addition to student CV’s.

If you are interested in finding out more, or being part of the working group to create and launch the competition, please contact Gaynor Cross, Marketing Lecturer.

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Tender opportunity: Safety of women and girls

PERN would like to produce a detailed report – drawing on national and international interventions – to gain insight into interventions to improve the safety of women and girls in West Yorkshire. This report will be a part of a wider policy roundtable that is being supported by West Yorkshire Combined Authority to find opportunities for evidence-based, collaborative policy development.

Find out more about this tender.

The deadline for submitting proposals to this tender has been extended to 5pm on Monday, 18 October 2021.

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Tender opportunity: Insight into ‘working class voices’ in economic policy

PERN are seeking to commission a report examining working class voices in (regional) policy making. Whilst we would like to hear your suggestions for the report’s scope and format, we want to understand the prevalence (or lack) of working-class perspectives in policy making, barriers to working class input into the policy process and potential routes for inclusivity.

Find out more about this tender.

Deadline for submitting proposals: 5pm on Monday, 20 September 2021.

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PERN Academic Steering Group / Women in Economics joint submission to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee

Responding to a call by the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, which is holding an inquiry entitled, ‘An Equal Recovery’, the Place-based Economics Recovery Network (PERN) academic steering group, and Women in Economics research community initiative have submitted written evidence to the Committee.

You can read the submission here.

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Solidarity or spectacle – two paths to levelling up

James Ransom, YU Associate

Politicians are fond of comparing the UK to Germany – usually as a model of how we could do something better. A recent example is Boris Johnson’s speech on levelling up from last month. “I remember going to former East Germany in 1990 just after the wall had gone down”, he said, “and I remember being amazed at how far behind west Germany it then was – a place of strange little cars with two stroke engines and fake coffee”. But then he adds, “to a large extent Germany has succeeded in levelling up where we have not”.

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Yorkshire and Humber Councils and Yorkshire Universities agree new Memorandum of Understanding

Yorkshire and Humber Councils and Yorkshire Universities have agreed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), providing a framework for a long-term, strategic partnership between local government and higher education in Yorkshire and the Humber. The MoU sets out how Yorkshire and Humber Councils and Yorkshire Universities will work together to identify and develop new opportunities for stronger collaboration between the sectors.

Commenting on the MoU, Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council and Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Councils Chief Executives’ Group, said:

“Local authorities and Universities will be at the heart of recovery as we tackle the big issues facing Yorkshire – building a globally competitive and connected economy that works for everyone; responding and adapting to climate change; addressing inequality and securing the investment in infrastructure, research and in our communities that we need to succeed. The MoU builds on our existing strong relationships and acts as a platform for sharing innovation, learning and intelligence”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford and the Chair of Yorkshire Universities, said:

“As civic anchor institutions, universities and local authorities work closely in different towns and cities in Yorkshire. This MoU provides a basis for extending and adding value to these existing local relationships, so we can harness and bring together our respective capacities and capabilities to support recovery and build more sustainable and equitable growth and development in the region.”


Yorkshire and Humber Councils is a partnership of the 22 regional local authorities and 2 combined authorities, that come together to identify and tackle the strategic issues facing councils and places across the Yorkshire and Humber area, focusing on capability and capacity issues, sharing good practice and using their collective voice to lever influence.

Yorkshire Universities (YU) is a regional partnership with a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire. The twelve members of YU are: Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.

A copy of the MoU here can be found here.


@YorkshireUnis                                         @yhcouncils


Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities

Clair Parker, Senior Partnerships Officer, Yorkshire and Humber Councils


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