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NEWS •

Yorkshire Universities awarded £3.9m to connect world-leading research with policymaking in the region

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).

Dr David Richards, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Hull, said: “The Y-PERN network will provide excellent support in helping the region take advantage of the transition to Net Zero and driving economic growth. We are delighted Research England has awarded the funding and we very much look forward to working with the network to further the application of our research for the benefit of the region and beyond.”

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.”

The Y-PERN network will provide excellent support in helping the region take advantage of the transition to Net Zero and driving economic growth.

Dr David Richards

Pro-Vice-Chancellor

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.

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Kersten England CBE, Chair of Yorkshire and Humber Councils and Chief Executive of Bradford Council, 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.”

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 12 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.”

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.

Professor Karen Bryan OBE

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.

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.

Professor Andrew Brown

“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.”

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