A new, ambitious project will connect world-leading research expertise in Yorkshire’s universities to policymakers in Councils, Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships in the region.
Research England has awarded £3.9m in funding, over three years, to a consortium led by Yorkshire Universities to establish the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network (Y-PERN).
Y-PERN’s objectives are twofold. First, it will provide policymakers with immediate insights and evidence on how to tackle the most pressing economic and social challenges facing the region. Second, the project will help to build sustainable analytical capacity and capability that will widen and deepen knowledge and understanding about Yorkshire’s future growth and long-term development.
Yorkshire Universities works to strengthen the combined contribution of the region’s universities and higher education institutions to Yorkshire’s people and places. Recent work supported by Yorkshire Universities has underpinned the rapid development of the region’s Space Cluster and the testing of new approaches to planning and strengthening workforce recruitment and retention in the Health and Care Sector.
Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Chair of Yorkshire Universities, said: “This is a unique initiative, which involves all twelve member institutions of Yorkshire Universities, drawing upon diverse and complementary research strengths. Y-PERN aligns perfectly with our new 2022-25 Strategy, which is focused on informing public policy with practice that is underpinned by research, innovation and knowledge exchange.”
By providing regional leaders and Government with direct access to research, Y-PERN will inform major policy interventions and investment decisions. The Network will also provide insights into what types of public policy have worked in the past, and what might be successful in the future.
Y-PERN will be driven by a team of Policy Fellows located within Hull and East Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and York and North Yorkshire, and advised by an independent panel of academic experts. Leeds University Business School will manage the project on behalf of the partnership that includes Yorkshire Universities; Yorkshire and Humber Councils; South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority; West Yorkshire Combined Authority; Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership; and York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
What impact will Y-PERN have?
Yorkshire’s universities contribute £3bn each year to the region’s economy and play a critical role in generating jobs, creating innovation, talent, and enterprise, and driving productivity.
Y-PERN will harness the research talents and expertise of all Yorkshire’s universities. National and local government will be encouraged to use the findings Y-PERN presents in policy interventions that can improve the region’s prosperity, infrastructure and inward-investment.
Comments from other partners:
Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds, said: “We are delighted that Research England has awarded funding for Y-PERN. The University of Leeds is committed to civic engagement and the application of research for the benefit of communities, businesses, and the wider environment. This network will significantly contribute to our ability to support regional economic recovery from COVID.”
Professor Andrew Brown, Academic Lead for Y-PERN, and Professor of Economics and Political Economy at Leeds University Business School, said: “Y-PERN will support a wide array of academic policy engagement activities. It will aid the joined-up, evidence-based and place-based policy approach that is vital to help policymakers understand and tackle the economic challenges we face. There has never been a more crucial time to mobilise the depth and breadth of academic expertise in Yorkshire – as Y-PERN is committed to doing. I am delighted that this major investment will provide a real step-change in the collaboration between academics, policymakers, and the communities that they serve.”
Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire, said: “Y-PERN is an exciting new venture for Yorkshire, bringing together the expertise from our universities and the local knowledge of our authorities, and we are pleased to support it. It will add capacity and resource to our vital work around skills, employment, sustainability and data analysis. The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority already works closely with our universities, Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield, and this will help us build on those relationships, and boost their impact.”
Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, said: “West Yorkshire is home to some of the best universities and academics in the world. This exciting and unique project enables us to gain invaluable expertise and insight for our work, which helps us better understand the issues facing our communities. I look forward to seeing this initiative rolled out across the whole of Yorkshire.”
James Newman OBE, Chair of Hull and East Yorkshire LEP, said: “The University of Hull has contributed significantly to the activities of LEP in Hull and East Yorkshire. The University is a much-valued anchor institution, and through its research and innovation activity, it is supporting the region’s net zero ambitions as the UK’s largest provider of clean energy and carbon capture solutions. I welcome the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP being part of this consortium and working with academic researchers to help realise our vision for a more successful and resilient region.”
Helen Simpson OBE, Chair of York and North Yorkshire LEP, said: “This is an exciting time for York and North Yorkshire, following the signing of the Devolution Deal in the summer. The University of York and York St John University are key partners in our local coalition. Our devolution proposal was, in part, successful due to the input of the two local universities. Y-PERN offers the potential to enhance the LEP and new local institutions’ relationships with higher education, which will be vital if we are to achieve the goals in our long-term plans for York and North Yorkshire.
Kersten England CBE, Chief Executive of Bradford Council and Chair of Yorkshire and Humber Councils, said: “Some of the challenges facing us across Yorkshire and the Humber, such as protecting the most vulnerable, tackling inequalities and creating sustainable growth and prosperity, have no simple solution. We have a keen enthusiasm to draw upon the best research possible and collaborate to make sure it reaches all parts of the region. Y-PERN will do this and help take our existing partnership with universities to the next level.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in England’s universities. It distributes over £2 billion to universities in England every year; works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation.
Yorkshire Universities has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire. There are an estimated 15,900 academics based in the twelve member institutions of Yorkshire Universities, which are: Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.
Through the cross-party Yorkshire Leaders Board and Yorkshire and Humber Chief Executives group, Yorkshire & Humber Councils work effectively together, for the betterment of the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as for local citizens, businesses and communities, ensuring a role and voice for the region in national debates. These arrangements bring together the twenty-two councils across the region, along with the two Mayors in South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, and the combined authorities in those areas.
Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07912 268087.