Skip to content

£5m project to ensure university research informs public policy decisions


A drone picture looking down on Richmond Building University of Bradford

The University of Bradford - along with 11 other higher education institutions in Yorkshire -  has been chosen to be part of a new £5m project that aims to ensure academic research informs public policy decisions.

The Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership (Y-PIP) is one of four projects funded thanks to a £20m investment by UKRI (UK Research & Innovation), and the only one in England (the others being in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

The funding, part of UKRI’s work to create opportunities and improve outcomes locally, and spread over three years (between now and December 2026), will enable the region’s academics to work directly in the field with community groups and policymakers on a series of research areas across Yorkshire and Humber identified as priorities in an extensive pre-bid consultation exercise.

University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon said: “We welcome this funding for Yorkshire institutions and universities and we welcome the opportunity to influence policy decisions based on evidence-based academic research. This is one of the ways we can show research undertaken at universities can make a difference to people’s lives.”

Professor David Spicer

Professor David Spicer, pictured above, from the Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences, from the University of Bradford, said: “This funding will enable us to have a real impact in terms of helping the local economy, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and entrepreneurs. We have extensive experience of helping organisations implement academic research around things such as circular economies, AI and data, and achieving net zero. This investment also comes at an opportune time for the city, as we prepare for Bradford City of Culture 2025.”

Y-PIP will be delivered by a consortium working together as the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership (Y-PIP) – which comprises all Yorkshire Universities’ members plus local and mayoral combined authority representatives, the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network (Y-PERN), the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission (YHCC), Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration, and, crucially, local community groups.

Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Chair of Yorkshire Universities, said: “This is a brilliant example of Yorkshire Universities’ core mission to promote and use research and evidence that relates directly to the issues that matter to communities, businesses and policymakers in the region.

“This pioneering research project, working in tandem with the existing Y-PERN infrastructure, and building on our strategic partnership with Yorkshire and Humber Councils, will see academics work in partnership with communities to identify policy and practical solutions to help overcome social and economic barriers to learning, jobs and community cohesion, and to realise the many opportunities that Yorkshire has to offer.”

Bradford city centre


Officials at Yorkshire Universities said the new funding would enable its members and partners to build on the success of existing work with Y-PERN, and confirmed funded projects include:

Creative Economy Pilot in Bradford

Ahead of its Capital of Culture year in 2025, this project will examine how Bradford, the youngest city in Europe, can bring greater diversity and dynamism to and within local creative industries.

This work will explore how artisans and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups in Bradford can create start-ups, establish business clusters, develop region-wide networks and access new funding within the arts and creative industries. The findings and lessons from the project will be rolled out to other parts of the region. Support will also be provided for younger residents intent on building careers via the creative economy and entrepreneurship.

Yorkshire and Humber Office of Data Analytics

Managed by the University of Sheffield, with support from Y-PERN, YHCC and Y-PIP, to give the public and organisations access to up-to-date, reliable and easy to digest data about the region’s evolving economic, social, and environmental parameters. It will include an accessible online portal, real-time data and information analytics.

Research Centre for Inclusive Growth

Extensive stakeholder engagement and roundtable events will be held with employers, business groups, chambers of commerce and community groups across the region to provide an in-depth understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by businesses in attracting and retaining greater diversity of talent, led by Sheffield Hallam University, experts in this field.

Sustainable Living in a Greener Economy Study

Led by experts from the YHCC, and the University of York’s Stockholm Environment institute, and working in tandem with community groups and policy makers, this research will examine how heritage buildings can meet Net Zero targets and be more energy efficient without damaging structures or impinging on their character. The study will initially be piloted in the City of York and in the rural areas of North Yorkshire, given the number of historical buildings in this part of the region, before being rolled out to other parts of Yorkshire and the Humber.

Additional quotes

Science Minister Andrew Griffith said: “Harnessing the strength of our brightest and best researchers and innovators system will drive growth across the UK, while strengthening our Union.

“If we build on the potential of research and science clusters in the areas that need the most support, we can address local challenges and take advantage of new opportunities, ultimately creating hubs of highly-skilled jobs and growth.

“The second phase of the Local Policy Innovation Partnership programme will do just that, supporting researchers to continue finding solutions to problems that matter to communities and foster sustainable growth throughout the UK.”

Professor Alison Park, Head of UKRI’s creating opportunities, improving outcomes theme, said: “Local Policy Innovation Partnerships demonstrate UKRI’s commitment to bringing together a diverse range of partners, from local and devolved government, communities and businesses.

“Through these long-term collaborations, we will accelerate the use of research and innovation to reduce regional inequalities and drive sustainable, inclusive growth.”