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News article

Trailblazing Yorkshire-based research project secures £5m funding

Published: 13 February 2024

  •   Featured
  •   Research
Students in front of a large wooden clad modern building

A trailblazing Yorkshire-based research project to drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth has secured £5m funding. The work will include a major climate change study piloted in York and North Yorkshire, and a new data portal giving communities vital information.

The project, the only one to be funded in England, and one of just four in the UK to be awarded UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) investment, will be delivered between now and December, 2026. It follows a successful bid led by The University of Leeds on behalf of Yorkshire Universities and other public, private and community sector organisations based in the region.

The funding is part of UKRI’s work to create opportunities and improve outcomes locally. It will be spread over three years, enabling academics to work directly in the field with community groups and policymakers. A series of research areas across Yorkshire and Humber have been identified as priorities in an extensive pre-bid consultation exercise.

It will be delivered by a consortium working together as the Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership (Y-PIP). This comprises universities in the region 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.

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 included:

  • A new Yorkshire and Humber Office of Data Analytics to give the public and organisations access to up-to-date, reliable and easy to digest economic, social, and environmental data
  • A new Research Centre for Inclusive Growth to help businesses bolster inclusive business practices
  • Sustainable Living in a Greener Economy Study initially piloted in York and North Yorkshire, given the number of historical buildings in the area, before being rolled out to other parts of Yorkshire and the Humber
  • 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.

Ahead of the successful Y-PIP bid, an extensive consultation exercise took place. Workshops were held across Yorkshire, and which saw 38 public sector, 22 private sector and 30 voluntary and community sector representatives, including residents from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds to identify shortfalls, agree priorities and share experiences around the key issues ranging from employment to health and wellbeing.

Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Vice Chancellor of York St John University and 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.”

Professor Matthew Reason, Director of York St John University’s Institute for Social Justice welcomed the news:

“The focus of this partnership is on empowering communities to be more involved in the policies and initiatives that affect them and the places in which they live. This aligns strongly with the ethos of the Institute for Social Justice to work in a co-productive manner with people and partners to produce impactful research and meaningful change.

“We look forward to the collaborative opportunities Y-PIP will provide for us to expand and deepen this work.”

Read more on the UKRI website

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