A special day celebrating a special place

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director

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.

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Professor Shirley Congdon appointed Yorkshire Universities Chair

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, has been appointed as the new Chair of Yorkshire Universities (YU). Professor Congdon will take over from Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, whose term of office ends on 31 July 2020. Professor Congdon will be the first woman to take up the role.

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YU’s response to the public consultation on the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal

Yorkshire Universities’ (YU) core mission is to strengthen the contribution of the higher education (HE) sector to place-based development, and to build strong and effective relationships with public, private and voluntary sector partners. Our members in West Yorkshire and the wider Leeds City Region play a vital role in the economic, social and cultural life of the region. In this letter, we provide some comments on the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal, which has been open to public consultation.

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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. 

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‘Starting and scaling up business…in a period of recovery’

Monika Antal, YU Executive Manager

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:

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Innovation Deals

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director

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.

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