The forthcoming Industrial Strategy may well include a new emphasis on the importance of place. But what challenges need to be overcome in this new approach?
Universities may be taking their eye off the devolution ball as attention turns quickly to the wider and more direct changes in the market and structure of higher education. But devolution is also an ongoing process. Universities will need to stay alert if they are not to be caught offside by their peers.
New student housing puts students at the centre of the complex relationships of ‘intangible knowledge’ that underpin the Northern Powerhouse.
New risk-based forms of finance need different types of project proposals featuring more robust design and development work.
Implementation of devolution deals need collaborative leadership at the local level. Universities are important anchor institutions well-placed to contribute.
New sources of funding are throwing up fresh opportunities which support investment in higher education and regional development.
The overall design of the new European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in England should be seen as one of the first important steps in a devolution revolution.
Whilst the role of universities in local economic growth is not a new story – during the 19th century many universities were established to accelerate regional growth and social prosperity – there is renewed emphasis on how universities and colleges can contribute to local economic growth story.
The second day of HEFCE’s 2015 conference, on 5 February, focussed on the theme of higher education and local growth. First at the lectern was Andy Street, Managing Director of the John Lewis Partnership and Chair of one of England’s 39 local economic partnerships (LEPs).