Yorkshire’s future depends on higher and further education

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director

The last twelve months have seen COVID-19 impact in ways we could never have imagined. No one can fail to be shocked by the stories of how the virus has devastated lives, communities, businesses and places, but perhaps at the same time we are also inspired and thankful for the efforts of those on the front-line who have kept essential services functioning.

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Twelve examples of how to extend university ‘civic’ engagement

James Ransom, YU Associate

In July 2020, Yorkshire Universities, the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network and the NHS Confederation published Levelling Up Yorkshire and Humber: health as the new wealth post-COVID. The report set out the bold actions that are needed by local and national leadership to embed a renewed focus on health, tackle long-standing regional inequalities, and boost future investment in Yorkshire’s health and life sciences assets as we begin living with and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Response by Yorkshire Universities to the Skills for Jobs White Paper

Responding to the launch today of the Skills for Jobs White Paper, Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of YU, said:

“Education, training and skills are vital to the prosperity of regions like Yorkshire. The commitment by the government to invest more resources in technical education, and introduce new mechanisms for individuals to participate in lifelong learning, is important, especially as the nature of employment and the economy undergoes continued change.”

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Innovators without borders

James Ransom, YU Associate

Recently, Nesta launched a report exploring how cities and regions collaborate internationally on innovation. If done effectively, international collaborations offer the opportunity to hit multiple policy priorities: levelling up regions, boosting investment in R&D towards 2.4 percent of GDP, and strengthening overseas relationships post-Brexit.

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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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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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