Last week I was on the Gold Coast, in Australia, where I was speaking, as a guest of the Australian Regional Universities Network (RUN), at a conference hosted by Southern Cross University to discuss the role of universities in transforming local and regional economies.
The Higher Education Commission’s seventh inquiry is examining how Degree Apprenticeships (DAs) are being implemented. In 2015, the Government committed itself to overseeing the creation of three million new apprenticeships by 2020, and the development of DAs is seen as an important element of this policy. The reforms surrounding DAs, which combine workplace experiences with HE study, offer the opportunity for an apprentice to gain a full degree by the end of the apprenticeship.
“The advent of the local industrial strategy is placing a renewed focus on ‘place’, encouraging universities and the NHS to work collaboratively to help stimulate sustainable forms of growth and public service transformation. Dr Peter O’Brien, executive director of Yorkshire Universities, explains why this partnership presents a golden opportunity.
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is working with the Government to develop a plan for how best to meet the Government’s target for the UK to increase investment in research and development (R&D) to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, and by 3% in the future. UKRI is also examining “what constitutes reasonable balance” of R&D funding. Against this background, the Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry on the ‘balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending’.
Read the consultation response YU submitted to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee here.
On Tuesday, most children, including my two daughters, went back to school following the summer holidays. The same day, I was at Westminster, where a new term had started for parliamentarians about to embark upon one of the most crucial periods in the UK’s recent history, as the county leaves the European Union at the end of March 2019.
I was in London to attend a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, which had been called to discuss the balance of public investment made by central government in Yorkshire, compared to the rest of the country, and in particular London, and whether Yorkshire receives a ‘fair deal’ from the Treasury.
Recently, YU held a roundtable in Leeds with Universities UK (UUK), which brought together universities, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities, government and national research funding agencies. The purpose was to share information about the development of local industrial strategies in Yorkshire, to illustrate the specific role of the twelve universities in Yorkshire in industrial policy and strategy, and to identify areas of shared interest. UUK had organised eight similar-type events with universities across England, but the session in Leeds was the only one held jointly with a ‘place-based’ collaborative university organisation.
Yorkshire Universities (YU) has announced that Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, will take over from Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, as Chair of the YU Board of Directors from 1 August 2018.
YU has agreed a new strategy that will see the regional partnership focus on widening and deepening the role of Yorkshire’s universities in place-based development, including national and local industrial policy. Sir Chris Husbands’ responsibilities as Chair will include steering YU’s relationships with national and regional government, business and public sector partners.
Yorkshire Universities is something of a unique construct. Formed in 1987, this place-based university collaborative venture has endured despite the periodic upheaval in sub-national economic development governance and planning in England.
At the recent Northern Powerhouse Business Summit, part of the Great Exhibition of the North, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, launched a new pan-regional governance entity – NP11 – a grouping of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the north of England, which will be headed initially by the Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP.
For those not fully-aware of the timeliness of the industrial policy and strategy debate, we are on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution which will result in some of the most fundamental changes to economy and society. Why is this important? Because it will alter how we live, work, and how we relate to each other. Some of us still remember life without the internet and smart phones, right? That is the scale of transformation taking place, but with much more complex and long-term implications.
Last week’s publication of a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Smart Cities illustrates perfectly the importance of defining smart technology in urban metropolitan settings as a multi and inter-disciplinary venture requiring co-investment and co-ordination between science, technology, governance and civic engagement. Here, universities are uniquely-equipped to make major contributions within and across these areas.