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Bradford welcomes funding for universities to support levelling-up


Pointing up

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced investment to develop a Local Policy Innovation Partnership (LPIP).

The LPIP programme has been designed to support local and national policymakers in tackling levelling up challenges, driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and reducing regional disparities in the UK. 

The University of Bradford is working with the University of Leeds and other universities across the region as part of the The Yorkshire and Humber Local Policy Innovation Partnership (YPIP). 

David Spicer, Professor of Small Business Development and Organisation Studies at the University of Bradford, said: "Bradford University has a long tradition of building strong relationships with other partners in the city and region and we are delighted to be extending our existing partnership and work with the University of Leeds and the other Universities across the region as part of the Yorkshire and Humber Local Policy Innovation Partnership (YPIP). This builds on our existing work with these universities through the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement Research Network (Y-PERN), and work already underway seeking to connect research and policy across the region."

The LPIP programme which has been developed as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Creating Opportunities and Improving Outcomes theme and aims to build cross-sector partnerships to address policy challenges that matter to local people and communities by: 

  • generating insight and understanding into local challenges and opportunities 
  • working with stakeholders to implement evidence-informed, actionable solutions. 

The LPIPs have been funded through an independently reviewed, innovative two-phase competitive process. In phase one of the programme, 10 LPIPs have received up to £50,000 of seed corn funding each. This funding will enable them to build local partnerships and co-develop a research agenda to deliver strong proposals for phase two, where up to four LPIPs will receive up to £4.8 million each. 

The Yorkshire and Humber Local Policy Innovation Partnership (YPIP) priority areas of focus are:  

  • boosting local economic performance through inclusive growth 
  • living and working sustainably in a greener economy, including connecting ‘big picture’ climate change goals 
  • innovation and green technologies 
  • communities in their places 
  • data and informatics. 

YPIP will draw in expertise and input from across the Yorkshire and Humber region, through the partnership of: 

  • Yorkshire Universities
  • Yorkshire and Humber Councils
  • the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network. 

The core YPIP project team includes: 

  • Principal investigator: Professor Gary Dymski (University of Leeds)
  • Co-director: Kersten England, Lead Chief Executive, Yorkshire and Humber Councils
  • Co-investigators: Professor Joe Cook (University of Hull), Professor Vania Sena (University of Sheffield), Professor Kiran Trehan (University of York), and Dr Richard Crisp (Sheffield Hallam University).  

Professor Gary Dymski of Leeds University Business School and the lead for the Yorkshire and Humber Local Policy Innovation Partnership (YPIP), said: “As we develop our 12-university consortium of all the universities located in Yorkshire and the Humber, we are learning how all our university partners are already fully committed to working locally with their diverse policy stakeholders.  

“As our project’s academic and non-academic members get to know each other better, we are all excited by the prospect of what we can achieve in working together to enable our region to achieve more robust, inclusive, and sustainable growth.” 

Kersten England said: “I'm delighted that we have been awarded Phase 1 funding. This provides us with a significant new investment in the Yorkshire research ecosystem. The Yorkshire Policy Innovation Partnership is a brilliant opportunity to deepen the collaboration between Yorkshire local authorities and Universities and our work to create the best possible quality of life with and for the people, communities, and businesses of the region.  

“I've seen how communities, practitioners, academics and decision-makers working together to understand and tackle issues produces groundbreaking insights and innovative solutions. UKRI funding, if secured for Phase 2 activities, would enable us to 'hard wire' this approach and get deeply into the practicalities of how we enable a fair transition to net zero - growth that benefits everyone - and build strong, vibrant community life across our region.” 

Programme of activities

The phase-1 project will undertake an intensive programme of activities across the region incorporating key stakeholders in local and combined authorities and in the business and community sectors. These activities will centre on eight face-to-face workshops, two in each of Yorkshire and Humber’s four sub regions, along with other ancillary events. These encounters will have three aims.  

First, they will provide regional stakeholders with the opportunity to identify integrated insights and solutions in five priority policy areas: (i) local economic performance, (ii) living and working sustainably in a greener economy, (iii) innovation, (iv) communities in their places, and (v) data and informatics.  

Second, they will identify how the region’s universities can fill in evidence gaps and respond to the research challenges implicit in meeting these priority policy goals.  

Third, they will enable dialogues and discussions at both the local (sub-region) and regional levels, so that clear regional priorities emerge.  

Policy-focused research

These activities will generate a coherent region-wide plan for targeted policy-focused research that responds to regional priorities and provides cutting edge ideas that can be emulated or adapted elsewhere in the world. 

Professor Dymski continued: "Our entry in this competition builds on some unique strengths. Not only are there exciting initiatives drawing together communities, businesses, and universities in our region, such as the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, but the 12 universities that have joined together to form YPIP have already jointly launched a fully-funded programme to provide research infrastructure for local and combined authorities throughout Yorkshire and the Humber."