New YU Report: Universities and ‘Place Promotion’ in West Yorkshire

Report written by James Ransom, YU Associate

This discussion paper provides an overview of some of the key issues shaping the contribution of universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) to the promotion of place, and to attracting inward investment and increased trade into Yorkshire and the Humber, and in particular West Yorkshire.

It should be read against the background of the government’s commitment to increase total research and innovation (R&I) investment to 2.4 percent of national GDP, in particular as foreign-owned businesses in the UK spend more on this activity than domestically-owned businesses.

In addition, it also provides a contribution to discussions that have taken place at various times in the region as to how universities and HEIs help to attract and embed business investment and trade within and across city/sub-regions, regions and the Northern Powerhouse. The report also seeks to inform the emergent 2021-2025 Leeds City Region Trade Strategy.

This work is intended to stimulate debate and to provide a basis for potential actions going forwards. Overall, the region’s universities are well-positioned to strengthen their strategic relationships with Combined Authorities, metro mayors, local government, LEPs, business and others, and to collectively showcase nationally and internationally the unique strengths of higher education (HE) in the region as an asset to attract investment and jobs. In particular, some practical and immediate actions could include providing a feed of relevant university-focused news reports for local inward investment web portals, promoting the local higher-level skills base, and utilising international students and alumni more strategically.

Download the full report. (Opens in new tab).

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The creative industries matter to London, Yorkshire and the nation

As published in HEPI on 15 June 2021.

This blog has been kindly contributed by Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer of London Higher, and Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities – the umbrella bodies representing universities and higher education colleges across their respective regions. You can find Diana and Peter on Twitter at @dianajbeech and @obrienpeter72.

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Boosting regional research and development: The role of regional university networks

As published by HEPI on 14 May 2021

This blog has been kindly contributed by Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer of London Higher, and Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities – the umbrella bodies representing universities and higher education colleges across their respective regions. You can find Diana and Peter on Twitter at @dianajbeech and @obrienpeter72

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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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Graduate labour market analysis and post-pandemic skills (Part 1 of 2)

Monika Antal, Executive Manager

Recently, I ‘attended’ The graduate labour market post COVID-19: priorities for university careers services and the role of universities, employers and government in preparing students event, hosted by the Westminster Higher Education Forum. With the economic crisis presenting new challenges for many young people seeking employment, including graduates, here is what I found out:  

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When a local economy collapses, we can’t just rely on the grit of communities

James Ransom, YU Associate

I’m a little late in reading Janesville: An American Story, Amy Goldstein’s tale of an industrial Wisconsin town in the depths of the Great Recession. The book received wide praise when published in 2017, telling the story of a community trying to pick itself up in the years following the closure of a major General Motors assembly plant. But the story has particular resonance now, as we stand on the cusp of another wave of economic upheaval. Here are three reflections.

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Future Ready Skills Commission Interim Report Feedback by YU

The aim of the Future Ready Skills Commission (FRSC), sponsored by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is to develop a blueprint for an education and skills system that can deliver against local economic priorities, the fulfilment of individual potential and the promotion of inclusive growth.

Together with FRSC, YU organised a roundtable in October to inform the evidence gathering stage of the review. The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Tim Thornton, and attended by senior representatives from each of YU’s twelve member institutions, as well as commissioners and the secretariat from the FRSC.

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In what sense an innovation problem?

Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities

Yesterday I attended the annual conference of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), in Leeds, entitled, ‘Transforming Lives Through Innovation’. The previous day I was at the White Rose Consortium’s Industrial Strategy ‘Working in Partnership’ final conference, which showcased the contribution of the social sciences to meeting industrial strategy opportunities and challenges. The timing of the two conferences came a matter of hours after the first of four speeches by the Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore, setting out how the Government intends to achieve its ‘2.4% R&D/innovation investment’ target by 2027.

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Driving social mobility? Competitive collaboration in degree apprenticeship development

Guest blog by Claire Newhouse, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills, Leeds Trinity University

Degree apprenticeships present an opportunity for universities to contribute directly towards improving productivity by increasing the number of people in local and regional economies with higher-level skills.  They offer a new income stream for universities, but they also provide a means for diversifying HE entrants.  The dual role for apprenticeships, as a mechanism for boosting productivity and enhancing social mobility, is not without tension, although it can, at times, be taken for granted by government. 

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Higher-level skills for the future

Guest blog by Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield

One of the key strengths of the Leeds City Region is its unique concentration of world-class universities, and the diverse contributions that each makes towards the higher-level skills and innovation agendas. As part of the wider Yorkshire region, Leeds City Region can rightly-claim to be a ‘skills magnet’, which is able to attract new forms of inward investment and act as a seedbed for regeneration and growth.

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