Local & Regional Development

Local and Regional Development is a broad-based term that defines the economic, social and environmental evolution and development of local places and regions. The Yorkshire Universities’ Strategy (2022-25), underpinned by its place-based vision and mission sets out how we will support and encourage Local and Regional Development in Yorkshire over the coming months and years, with a view to the region addressing systemic inequalities and reaching its full potential through increased productivity and improved prosperity.  

Universities and the Higher Education Sector are uniquely placed to provide the tools and contribute towards the interventions required to achieve successful and enduring Local and Regional Development. These include:  

  • skills, training and talent development;  
  • research and innovation;  
  • knowledge exchange; business support;  
  • infrastructure and finance investment; and  
  • wider engagement and impact with local and regional institutions and governance arrangements. 

At Yorkshire Universities, our role is to help think, convene and facilitate member contributions towards Local and Regional Development from short, medium and long-term perspectives, thus connecting topics that impact on daily lives now, such as the cost-of-living crisis, to broader structural opportunities and challenges facing Yorkshire. 

Regional Development Group

The Regional Development Group (RDG) acts as the interface of collaboration and partnership between YU member institutions and between universities and other partners in Yorkshire working together on place-based development.

Dr Liam Sutton

Chair of the RDG and Associate Director, Research & Innovation, University of Bradford

Liam leads Research and Innovation Services at the University of Bradford, holding responsibility for ‘end-to-end’ support services for research and innovation projects, and for nurturing a research environment of excellence and inclusion at England’s top-ranked University for social mobility. Liam is co-author of Bradford’s strategies for both Research and Innovation and Business and Community Engagement. 

Liam’s ambition for the Regional Development Group is that we make the diversity of our sector count in the economic, social and cultural development of our region. 

Members of the RDG 

  • Andrew Jones
    Head of Careers, Employability and Enterprise, Leeds Arts University 
  • Claire Newhouse
    Dean of External Engagement and Impact, Leeds Trinity University
  • Emma Calverley
    Director of Knowledge Exchange, University of Hull  
  • Pilar Pousada Solino
    Director, Research and Innovation Services, University of Hull
  • Sarah Hall
    Director of Strategy for Research Impact, University of Leeds
  • Marc Eatough
    Head of Regional Development and Engagement, University of Leeds
  • Marc Fleetham
    Director of Business Development and Knowledge Exchange, York St John University 
  • Dr Nick Lancaster
    Director of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, University of Huddersfield
  • Susan Cooke, Associate Deputy Director – Regional Enterprise, University of Huddersfield 
  • Patsy Gilbert
    Vice Principal and Director of Performance, Leeds Conservatoire 
  • Simon Baldwin
    Associate Director of Knowledge Exchange, Leeds Beckett University 
  • Natalie Allen
    Head of Business Partnerships within Research and Enterprise Services, Leeds Beckett University
  • Professor Wayne Cranton
    Dean of Research, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Yasmin Knight
    Assistant Director Partnerships and Regional Engagement & Head of Regional Engagement, University of Sheffield 
  • Amanda Selvaratnam
    Associate Director for Research and Enterprise, University of York
  • Mark Gunthorpe
    Head of Economic Development, University of York

Memorandum of Understanding with Yorkshire & Humber Councils

In July 2021, Yorkshire and Humber Councils and Yorkshire Universities 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. 

A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.

West Yorkshire Economic Development Group

The Yorkshire Universities (YU) West Yorkshire Economic Development Group (WYEDG) is an informal, advisory forum focussed on economic development policy and strategy, and which brings together representatives from Higher Education and the West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (WYMCA). The group provides a collective forum for nine YU member institutions in Leeds City Region to come together to discuss with WYCA economic development matters that have specific HE dimensions, particularly providing specialist input on research and innovation, and knowledge exchange. WYEDG also has the functions of supporting sub-regional policy and strategy development and consultations, as well as operationalising priorities set through YU’s strategic engagement with WYMCA.

Uni Connect Partnership

Set up in 2017 by the Office for Students, the Uni Connect programme brings together 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local organisations to offer activities, advice and information on the benefits and realities of going to university or college.

Our member universities are involved in four local Uni Connect Partnerships:

The four Uni Connect programmes across Yorkshire, who come together with Yorkshire Universities as a network, have a key role to play as they are bringing together a wide range of educational providers, schools, colleges, local authorities and employers around the aim of reducing gaps in HE participation.

Since its inception in the Yorkshire & Humber region, Uni Connect has supported over 179 schools delivering targeted support to just under 80,000 young people in Yorkshire.


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