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). YU is charity and company limited by guarantee. The vice-chancellors and principals of these institutions are members of the company and form YU’s board of directors.


Yorkshire Universities works to maximise the contribution of higher education to the region, and beyond, through collaboration, where this generates greater impact and public benefit, and aspiration and opportunity are supported. We are mindful of the external drivers shaping the wider economic, policy and institutional landscape in which HE and that of our members operate, as this enables us to all times add real value to our members’ priorities. YU is a unique partnership based on a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution that universities and HEIs make (individually and collectively) to the economic, social, cultural and civic life and well-being of people and places in Yorkshire.


In November 2017, the YU Board agreed a new strategy, structured around the concept of ‘place’, and which focussed YU on three specific priorities. This approach reflected the growing recognition of universities as ‘anchor institutions’ within national and local industrial policies and strategies, and the distinct role and contribution of universities in places identified as being ‘left behind’. The three priorities were:

  • The productivity of place – focusing on the role of universities in developing and delivering the Industrial Strategy;
  • The governance of place – focusing on the place leadership role of universities in the context of devolution and decentralisation in England;
  • The social, civic and cultural significance of place – focusing on the civic contribution of universities to place-making and societal development and change.

These priorities provided a focus for YU’s activity in 2018-19,  directed towards strengthening the contribution of universities in Yorkshire to place development, and building institutional and organisational capacity and relationships across sectors and between actors, whilst recognising the new policy and regulatory environment that the HE sector in England is operating within. Read more about this in the Annual Review Summary as well as the Annual Report for 2018-19 in more detail.

The 2019-22 YU Strategy

Building on the above, the new 2019-2022 YU Strategy 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

Read more about what we plan to do in each of these priority areas in 2019-2022 in more detail here and learn what the expected outcomes will be.

To see YU Annual Reports & Accounts from previous years please go to the publications page.


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