UKRI invests in policy innovation partnerships for local growth

Coworkers with stacked hands at the office.

Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) will establish network to harness the power of research and innovation to benefit all four nations of the UK.

The £23 million LPIPs 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. It has been developed as part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) creating opportunities and improving outcomes theme.

The scheme will build cross-sector partnerships that aim 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

Two-phase funding

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 local challenges the LPIP programme will explore during phase one include addressing skills gaps in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands, and boosting innovation in new green technologies in South Yorkshire’s supply chains.

Ultimate engine for local growth

Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman MP said:

Research and innovation is the ultimate engine for local growth in the UK, as shown by the impact of high-tech and science clusters across every region of the UK, from Cornwall to the Highlands. But in order to build on this potential, we need detailed knowledge of what works in the places where growth is needed the most.

The Local Policy Innovation Partnerships represent a fantastic opportunity to gather that knowledge and insight, ensuring cross-pollination of ideas and sharing of expertise between stakeholders at both a local and a national level, delivering real benefits and growth.

Place-based solutions

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Interim Executive Chair Professor Alison Park said:

From bridging skills gaps to promoting cultural recovery and building a greener economy, the LPIPs present an exciting new way of using the UK’s strengths in research and innovation to contribute to developing place-based solutions to some of the UK’s most pressing local and regional challenges.

This first round of funding will enable the LPIPs to build the robust, wide-reaching partnerships necessary to give their proposals the best possible chance of delivering real results for communities and the country as a whole.

The partnerships will work with a £3.6 million LPIP hub hosted by the University of Birmingham that will help them formulate solutions to local challenges and bring research, policy, and third and private sector stakeholders together.

The LPIPs programme is funded via:

The LPIP hub

The LPIP hub is a national consortium, led by City Region Economic and Development Institute, at the University of Birmingham.

The hub will work with the 10 phase one LPIPs to deliver high-quality collaboration with local and national partners, developing the evidence for further investment in phase two.

It will do this by:

  • supporting the development of phase two bids, working with national and local government to enhance partnerships
  • enabling LPIPs to access data, evidence and expertise from the broader research and innovation system to address local need
  • ensuring the LPIPs have a strong focus on local research users and the communities they serve
  • evaluating what works across the programme and reviewing impact and change as the scheme develops

The LPIP hub will also act as a gateway for national policymakers and government bodies to gain local insights from the LPIPs and interact with them.

Maximising the impact from research and innovation

LPIP hub Principal Investigator Associate Professor Rebecca Riley said:

The Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) are an exciting and innovative way of bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders to find practical, policy-led solutions to issues of pressing national and local importance.

The LPIP Hub, which I lead, will act as a crucial conduit between the partnerships and national policymakers, enabling them to exchange insights, knowledge and best practice to maximise impact from research and innovation at both a local and national level.

The hub team will include members from across 15 research and policy organisations, covering over a dozen top research organisations from across the UK, including specialists in economics, medicine and urban policy.

Addressing disparities

The phase one awards are based in a mixture of urban, rural and coastal areas in all four nations of the UK. They are building proposals for phase two that aim to identify practical policy solutions to issues of pressing national and local importance, such as regional disparities, cultural recovery and local innovation and growth.

The 10 LPIPs that have received phase one funding are hosted by:

  • Aberystwyth University
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Leeds
  • University of London
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Stirling
  • Ulster University
  • University of the West of England

Further information

LPIP summaries

West Midlands LPIP, Professor AE Green, University of Birmingham

The West Midlands LPIP partnership will provide a strong link between academics and stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors. It will narrow the ‘academic-practitioner’ gap.

This LPIP will focus on:

  • the economy, including delivering ‘good jobs’, addressing skills gaps, internationalisation, resilience, innovation and research and development
  • community, including tackling inequality and levelling-up, citizen or local community engagement in strategy development, cultural recovery
  • the environment, including innovation in clean energy transitions

The West Midlands LPIP brings together eight universities and 18 non-academic partners from local and sub-regional government, the private sector and the voluntary sector.

Partnerships for East Coast Communities (PECCs), Professor KJ Daniels, University of East Anglia

Partnerships for PECCs aims to generate sustained action to build good jobs in the coastal economies and strong coastal identities around East Anglia in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

PECCs will bring together local communities, civil society and business institutions, with county and borough councils and East Anglian coastal universities to investigate how to:

  • improve work inclusively by considering high skill sectors and low wage sectors along the east’s coastline
  • develop a sustainable green economy along the east’s coastline
  • protect and renew the coast
  • improve health outcomes along the eastern coast

Rural Wales LPIP, Professor MJ Woods, Aberystwyth University

The Rural Wales LPIP aims to:

  • strengthen collaborations and knowledge exchange in rural Wales
  • develop integrated and innovative solutions to challenges facing places in rural Wales
  • empower local communities to respond to local challenges through community-led research and innovation, contributing to inclusive sustainable development

It will engage with communities in five pilot areas around Corwen, Newtown, Trawsfynydd, northern Ceredigion and north-west Pembrokeshire to:

  • build a regenerative economy
  • empower communities for cultural recovery
  • support the net zero transition by addressing rural community and business challenges
  • enhance wellbeing in place supporting local wellbeing plans responding to local challenges

Rural Wales LPIP is led by Aberystwyth University and supported by collaborating partners including:

  • Ambition North Wales
  • Growing Mid Wales
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • One Voice Wales
  • Severn Wye Energy
  • the Welsh Local Government Association

The London Research and Policy Partnership, Professor B Rogers, University of London

The London Research and Policy Partnership aims to bring together academics, policymakers, businesses, and third sector groups. It will focus on the economic, social, and environmental research opportunities of a just transition to net zero, with a particular focus on retrofitting to decarbonise London’s homes.

Priority areas include:

  • green jobs, skills and enterprise, including opportunities for developing new business and skilled workers to decarbonise and support growth
  • better homes, including working with communities to decarbonise London’s homes

This project will be led by the London Research and Policy Partnership (LRaPP). LRaPP was launched in July 2021 to promote joint working between policymakers and university researchers in addressing London’s critical policy challenges.

Lead partners include:

  • the University of London
  • the Greater London Authority
  • London councils
  • University College London
  • Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement

Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership, Professor GA Dymski, University of Leeds

Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership will focus on building diverse partnerships with priority local stakeholders that can support the development of region-wide approaches for achieving more robust, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

The 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

Yorkshire and Humber Policy Innovation Partnership 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

Stirling LPIP, Professor R Simmons, University of Stirling

The Stirling LPIP will develop a science-based capacity to optimise outcomes for water resources in the Forth Water Basin in Scotland

It will address:

  • the economy, including how to optimise outcomes from water resources, in the pursuit of sustainable and inclusive economic growth
  • community, including how to raise stakeholder capacity to enable and connect new opportunities from partnership, including community resilience and empowerment
  • the environment, including how to build productive and harmonious relationships between human and natural systems

This LPIP is a partnership between University of Stirling, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Water.

Social Mobility Innovation Partnership: City Regions, Mrs T John, University of the West of England

The Social Mobility Innovation Partnership: City Regions LPIP will focus on social mobility with an initial geographic coverage of the Greater Bristol area.

It will build partnerships through co-creation and engagement, beginning with third sector community organisations as a foundation. Its priority areas are:

  • access to education, skills and meaningful employment opportunities to improve local outcomes
  • addressing sustainable living and places challenges through social mobility drivers for example access to the natural environment, domestic energy, and transport mobility
  • culture and identity in community engagement and participation in local change

The Social Mobility Innovation Partnership is a partnership led by University of the West of England with:

  • the University of Bristol
  • Bristol City Council
  • West of England Combined Authority
  • Black South West Network
  • Babbasa
  • Bristol Green Capital Partnership

Co-creating a sustainable and inclusive future for Northern Ireland (NI) through skills development and innovation, Professor K Miller, Ulster University

The NI LPIP will build a network to develop solutions and share best practices which address skills gaps and inequities across a range of sectors and communities.

It will bring together a stakeholder partnership and community networks to work on initiatives which aim to address NI’s skills-based challenges.

They will:

  • assess and map existing evidence, identifying challenges and collating insight and understanding of good and promising practice relating to skills in NI
  • develop a network across diverse NI stakeholders and community representatives with skills-based agendas, and to explore models of collaborative working
  • work with stakeholders to identify responses to the identified skills challenges in NI

The NI LPIP project brings together a large team across Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast and a diverse range of partners, spanning the whole of NI.

Glasgow Aligning Local Policy Partnerships (GALoPP): connecting people, ideas, sectors and policies for inclusive sustainable futures, Professor S Hilton, University of Glasgow

GALoPP aims to catalyse opportunities for innovative and actionable solutions around local policy design within the Glasgow City Region.

It will create the Glasgow City Region Future Look Network of academic, policy, practice, and community partners to undertake solutions focused engagement to identify and map local policy priorities.

It will address:

  • productivity, employment and skills
  • health and social deprivation
  • empowering communities

GALoPP will build on partnerships of the GALLANT project, which is a partnership of University of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council that involves 28 public and private sector partners.

The South-West Coastal LPIP (SWC-LPIP), Professor S Asthana, University of Plymouth

The SWC LPIP builds on the successful partnerships of the University of Plymouth’s Strategic Research Institutes for Marine, Health and Sustainability and the Centre for Coastal Communities.

It aims to bring cross-sector and cross-boundary partners together to co-design solutions to address the complex and interlinked problems facing coastal communities in the south-west of England.

It will address:

  • digital innovation and skills
  • connecting communities to place by working with stakeholders to raise awareness of key challenges and increasing their capacity to be active consumers and producers of knowledge
  • living and working sustainably in a greener economy by addressing the needs of the blue economy from fisheries and tourism, and protecting, renewing and restoring our marine natural environment

Top image:  Credit: FG Trade, E+ via Getty Images

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