Strategy and work

About YU

Since 1987, Yorkshire Universities (YU) has been the regional voice for higher education (HE) in Yorkshire. YU represents eleven universities and one specialist higher education institution (HEI). The vice-chancellors and principals of these institutions form YU’s board of directors.

The twelve members are the universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Leeds Trinity, Leeds Arts, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, York, and York St John, as well as the Leeds Conservatoire. YU thus convenes a diverse eco-system of universities and HEIs within and across Yorkshire.


Through our strategy, we will work collectively and collaboratively with partners to create more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies and communities in Yorkshire.


As a regional partnership of higher education institutions, we have a shared commitment to place and to supporting aspiration and opportunity.

The 2019-22 Strategy

The 2019-2022 YU Strategy adopts a place-based approach and focuses on three priorities:

  • Ideas – strengthening HE contributions towards increased research and innovation activity in the region;
  • Talent – extending and deepening partnerships to improve higher level skills pathways into continuous development and learning;
  • Communities – ensuring universities/HEIs are recognised as influential anchor institutions.

What do we mean by a place-based approach?

Our definition of a place-based approach, which underpins our mission and strategy, is a person centred, context-specific model designed to reflect the distinct needs of people, business and communities within and across Yorkshire and is driven by the principle of collaboration.

Read about the activities in more detail and see how we progressed in the first year of the strategy in the 2019-20 Annual Report Executive Summary and the 2019-20 Annual Report and Accounts.


Find out more about:

In addition, we run a West Yorkshire Higher Education Economic Development Group and the YU Policy and Communications Network.

We also convene Task & Finish groups to deliver on specific activity within our strategy, such as the Graduate Labour Market Intelligence Task & Finish Group.

Established groups and panels that YU participates in and makes the case for our members and HE in the region include: 

  • Universities UK Task and Finish Group on Universities and Economic and Social Recovery, Leeds Beckett University External Engagement Advisory Group, Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network Strategic Advisory Board, Y&H Strategic Migration Group, Y&H Applied (Health) Research Collaboration Strategy Board, Welcome to Yorkshire Tourism Recovery Task Force, COP26 University Network, Y&H Climate Commission Core Steering Group, AGCAS Regionalisation Working Party.
  • Health and Social Care Recovery Task Force Steering Group with two workstreams linked to it: Skills, Training and Workforce and Research and Innovation. 

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Region (LCR) groups we are involved in: 

  • European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Committee, Inclusive Growth and Public Policy, Innovation Network (and Framework Development), West Yorkshire Skills Partnership, Business Innovation and Growth Panel, Business Communications Group, Employment and Skills Panel, Local Digital Skills Partnership Board, Green Skills Task Force.
  • The YU Chair is also a member of the LCR LEP Board and West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board.