Local Policy Innovation Partnership Programme
The programme will fund a network of Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) to address social, community, economic and environmental priorities that contribute towards inclusive sustainable economic growth.
LPIPs will connect local policy and research partners, providing research, evidence, data and expertise to take advantage of opportunities and find place-based solutions to challenges that matter to local people and communities. Partnerships will be equitable and sustainable with co-creation and co-delivery at their heart.
Applications should focus on creating a single LPIP in a defined geographical area. Each LPIP will develop and implement a programme of activity to support inclusive and sustainable local growth, and improve the quality of life in local communities across the UK. Each LPIP will have a regional footprint with capability to conduct local work within that region (see the ‘geographical coverage’ section for more information).
Applications should consider approaches to operating flexibly in a changing policy environment ensuring priorities and the proposed LPIP model can respond to stakeholder need.
Interactions between the LPIP network, national stakeholders and wider initiatives will be coordinated and led by a strategic coordination hub (SCH) (to be awarded via a separate application process).
In support of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) strategic priority to strengthen clusters and partnerships as part of its world-class places objective, LPIPs will deliver the following programme objectives:
- connecting and catalysing: strengthening partnerships and collaborations between researchers, policymakers (local, regional, national) and other relevant local stakeholders, attracting resource and capability for research and innovation, knowledge exchange and skills to address local public challenges
- local insight and understanding: identifying and understanding the opportunities and challenges in different places and their relationship to the national context
- solutions focused: working with stakeholders to implement evidence-informed, actionable solutions that reflect local opportunities and challenges, and supporting local leaders to test and trial innovative interventions to drive inclusive and sustainable growth
To support the delivery of these objectives and ensure the strongest applications are funded, the LPIPs will be commissioned through a 2-phased competitive process.
The phase 1 opportunity offers initial seed-corn funding so that applicants may dedicate time to developing partnerships. The funding is intended to resource the development of high-quality proposals to the phase 2 opportunity, by ensuring that partnership building is resourced, reflecting the essential role of partners in the public, third and private sectors.
During phase 2, each successful LPIP will deliver a co-designed programme of activity that reflects the opportunity aims and objectives. For a detailed overview, see ‘phase 1 activity’ and ‘phase 2 activity’ below.
Phase 1 activity
The purpose of phase 1 is to provide resource and support capacity across stakeholders to undertake partnership development and landscape evidence analysis required to design the phase 2 work programme.
Applicants will be expected to deliver the following activities and outputs during phase 1:
- building, strengthening or diversifying partnerships between research organisations or research teams and local stakeholders
- dialogue and co-creation with communities to further understand needs and surface opportunities for collaboration
- design and deliver workshops
- mapping of relevant local and national administrative data
- landscape and evidence analysis to build the evidence base for the phase 2 application
- establish an appropriate model for phase 2
Applicants are encouraged to consider examples of existing good practice in community and stakeholder engagement and partnership development, drawing on a diverse evidence base including but not limited to:
Phase 2 activity
The purpose of phase 2 is to select the strongest partnerships with potential to deliver insights and solutions tailored to local policy agendas.
Successful phase 2 applicants will deliver an iterative programme of activity to maintain stakeholder relationships and partnerships, and commission new activity to inform actionable solutions.
Each partnership will bid for resource to staff the LPIP, an initial work programme and a commissioning fund through the second phase application process. Each LPIP will manage its commissioning fund independently to fund projects.
There will be a wide variety of projects given the range of types and scale of challenges they could be supporting. Every project should be working to common and clearly identified goals aligned with the priority areas of focus set out below. Project development and delivery must be underpinned by community participation.
Examples of potential activities and outputs for delivery during phase 2:
- demonstrator and consultancy type projects for local policy development and implementation
- landscape and evidence analysis including secondary data analysis
- designing and evaluating evidence informed interventions
- community engagement to develop and deliver projects, including establishing local ‘citizen science’ and other community-led initiatives
- developing regional data resources
- local reports, policy briefings and resources (for example, think-kits and toolkits)
- workshops and training programmes
- building local evidence bases to support policy development and applications for locally focused funding, including commissioning new activity to address gaps in evidence base
Applicants to phase 2 will be required to build in sufficient capacity to undertake and engage with LPIP monitoring and evaluation.
LPIP must also build-in the ability to scale its capacity to respond to future opportunities to manage additional funds (for example, ringfenced pots or fellowships).
The SCH will provide support to LPIP proposal development during phase 1. Applicants to phase 1 should therefore demonstrate a willingness to engage with the SCH and build capacity into the grant application appropriately.
Each partnership will bring together local stakeholders from a range of sectors and disciplines to address a selection of key local agendas which contribute to inclusive and sustainable local growth, including:
- local economic performance
- living and working sustainably in a greener economy
- communities in their places
- felt experiences
- cultural recovery
A partnership’s priorities should be defined through high quality, meaningful stakeholder and community engagement. They will consider how these agendas intersect, bringing a holistic approach to the challenges faced. This will involve 3 major components:
- identifying and prioritising challenges at the local level that are good candidates for support from research and innovation stakeholders and experts
- supporting the application of knowledge and evidence through connections with experts, review and synthesis work, developing relevant evaluative frameworks, improved access to and use of available data, and funding research or testing solutions to help address the challenges
- application of diverse data usage and collection methodologies to connect with knowledge embedded in local communities to deepen understanding of challenges
Together, the LPIPs and the SCH will support the following outcomes:
- a ‘what works here’ approach to local policy priorities, supporting areas with economic growth, levelling up, net zero, innovation, skills and societal resilience
- enhanced local research and innovation advice providing a single front-door for local expertise and advice in partnership areas, streamlining access to local public policy research and innovation capability
- supporting local action through contributing to local implementation, testing and evaluation of evidence-informed policy change
- improving UK and national policymakers’ understanding of local challenges and opportunities through improved access to stakeholders, local evidence and insights into ‘what works here’
- creating stronger and more diverse partnerships by investing in the capability and capacity required for multi-partner collaboration, bringing the right stakeholders together at the right time to progress local priorities
- empowering local communities and enriching knowledge exchange practices by ensuring people and grassroots groups are engaged, listened to and able to influence local agendas
LPIPs will undertake an appropriate mix of evidence synthesis and translation, knowledge exchange, public and community engagement, skills and capabilities development, data analysis and, where appropriate, novel primary research, depending on the needs of the area.
Each LPIP will design its own work programme and devise an appropriate approach and methods, including novel approaches to public and community engagement.
LPIPs should include the capability for responding to urgent challenges including conducting ‘rapid response’ type work.
Engagement with the UK LPIP strategic coordination hub
The UK LPIP strategic coordination hub (SCH) is being commissioned through a separate opportunity. It will act as an intermediary, learning about the local context and challenges faced in each partnership’s area and:
- connecting to broader research and innovation initiatives that can support the LPIPs in addressing those challenges
- supporting the dissemination and translation of learning and evidence across the network of LPIPs
- communicating outcomes to policymakers and practitioners at a beyond LPIP stakeholder communities at local, regional and national levels.
The SCH will play a crucial role in connecting LPIPs to the research, learning, expertise and evidence needed to inform effective responses to local priorities. With the support of the SCH, LPIPs will be expected to engage with a range of organisations and investments to support their work programme to source the data, insights and expertise they require at local level, for example (this is not an exhaustive or prescriptive list):
See the full strategic coordination hub opportunity.
The full economic cost of your phase 1 project can be up to £50,000. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost. ESRC will fund up to 10 phase 1 awards for 5 months.
The full LPIP programme will make up to £20 million available over 4 years, including the Strategic Coordination Hub.
All applicants successful at phase 1 will be invited to submit a proposal for phase 2. Phase 2 applications will be subject to a separate assessment process. We anticipate awarding a minimum of 3 grants of a minimum value of £4.3 million (at 100% full economic cost) per award, with a duration of 36 months.
Awards at phase 1 and phase 2 will be made at 80% full economic cost, and the research organisation must agree to find the balance of full economic cost from other resources.
Applicants will be expected to bid for a level of funding that is commensurate to the maturity of the existing partnership and degree to which shared priorities are established.
It is expected that partnerships at an earlier stage of development will require a higher level of resource to develop shared agendas, and identify opportunities for wider collaboration and extending their reach to a diverse set of stakeholders.
At phase 1, applicants are required to demonstrate a clear pathway to expanding and diversifying partnerships. Teams must also demonstrate potential to make a significant contribution to developing insight in the selected thematic areas.
You must set out an approach to each of the following.
Partnership building, stakeholder and community engagement
You must demonstrate how existing relationships and networks will be developed and expanded during the phase 1 award. You should specify the types of activity they plan to undertake and show how the proposed new activity will add value to the existing partnership. You should include an approach to involving partners and communities in proposal development throughout phase 1.
You are expected to build on existing partnerships by engaging beyond usual stakeholders, ensuring equitable partnerships and supporting interdisciplinary approaches to deliver policy and practice impact. This may require new groupings of researchers and stakeholders, drawing on strong, existing leadership across related areas.
Capacity for people exchange across the partnership should be built in to the LPIP model. Consideration should be given to embedding stakeholders that are often excluded from the research and innovation ecosystem.
The balance of stakeholder expertise in the partnership, including new and existing relationships, should be clearly aligned to the priority areas of focus. LPIPs are not required to have the full range of partners in place for the phase 1 application. There is flexibility to expand partnerships as challenges are further defined during the phase 1 award.
At phase 2, applicants will be required to demonstrate a level of in-kind support appropriate to the nature and scale of the work. We strongly encourage cash co-investment but it is not a requirement.
At phase 1, you must provide an indication of the geographical area that the partnership will cover and its relevance to the challenges referenced in the proposal. Each LPIP will serve an applicant-defined geographical area that aligns with the challenges identified. The choice of geography will be underpinned by relationships and partnerships that also support the choice of priority areas of focus.
Each LPIP should have the capacity and capability to conduct work such as deep-dive analysis at a smaller local geography within its defined geography.
Traditional national, regional and local authority boundaries do not always reflect the social or economic geography most relevant to the challenge being addressed. You may therefore choose to use existing definable geographies, for example using electoral, administrative, health or other boundaries see UK geographies (Office for National Statistics) but are not restricted by them.
You must provide a clear approach to defining the geography, and reflect the geographic coverage requirements at phase 2:
- LPIP applicants should consider the International Territory Level (ITL) 1 of their lead applicant institution as an indicator of scale, but not a determinant of the boundary (for example an LPIP may cross ITL 1 boundaries). This is not a rigid requirement, but seeks to encourage a regional equivalent approach – see the International Territorial Levels 1 and 2 (January 2021) Map in UK
- applicants in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should reflect the geographies that are most contextually relevant to them as an indicator of scale but not a determinant of the boundary. They may choose to draw on for example, the scale of Regional Economic Partnerships in Scotland, the 4 regional strategic geographies in Wales or combinations of the 11 local authority areas in Northern Ireland. Geographies proposed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must be reasonably interpretable as areas and regions, and broadly equivalent in scale to the requirements placed on applicants in England
- the geographic requirements are not rigid. Applicants should ensure that the core partnership on which the LPIP is based reflects the local context. The core LPIP partnerships at the start of the programme do not need to extend across the whole geographical area, but the LPIP needs to demonstrate capability to engage credibly within the regional equivalent area identified. The LPIP may increase its reach and partnerships within the geography identified over the lifetime of the programme, or in response to local or national priorities or challenges shifting. It is not expected that all the necessary relationships will be fully established or at full maturity at application stage
Partnerships may bring together communities with shared characteristics from different areas or regions, for example coastal areas. Multiregional partnerships will be considered, however applicants must demonstrate:
- sufficient resourcing to deliver the LPIP objectives
- that the proposals do not substantially replicate existing local, regional or national capability
- that the proposed model is fit for purpose for stakeholder needs
You may partner with institutions beyond their area if there is a strong justification that the partnerships are required to address the challenges referenced in the proposal.
Priority areas of focus
Each LPIP will be required to deliver a programme of activity that supports inclusive and sustainable local growth:
- applicants are required to select 1 priority from each of the themes (economy, community and environment)
- applicants may choose to select more than 1 priority from each theme but this is not a requirement
- applicants may also define a further theme within the context of inclusive sustainable economic growth that does not appear on the list. The selection must be driven by local challenges and informed by stakeholder and community engagement
The broad research areas defined by UKRI for this initiative are described in more detail under ‘additional info’.
- inclusive and sustainable local economic performance
- communities in their places
- felt experiences and pride in place
- cultural recovery
This includes living and working sustainably in a greener economy.
Open local priority
This is optional, and is to be decided by applicants.
We recognise that these broad research agendas and priorities identified within them may be highly interconnected. You should highlight connectivity and overlaps between chosen priority areas in the proposal.
You are free to use the options as cross-cutting themes. For example, environment and greener economy could be used as a perspective from which to view local economic performance or innovation. The themes do not have to be considered separately.
You are expected to establish priorities in consultation with local stakeholders and this process should be evidenced in phase 1 applications. You should also detail how they will work with stakeholders throughout phase 1 to co-create and further refine priority areas to reflect challenges that are of high priority to local communities.
It is recognised that the priorities indicated at phase 1 may adjust in further consultation with stakeholders and communities during the phase 1 award. You will be required to demonstrate at phase 2 the evidence including stakeholder and community consultation that has informed the phase 2 priorities.
Leadership and interdisciplinary expertise
Proposals must identify a principal investigator who will act as director. Each proposal must also identify a co-director from an appropriate non-academic partner (government, public sector, third sector or locally-focused policy body). There can be more than 1 co-director.
Proposals must identify a leadership team to lead on proposal development during phase 1, with clearly defined roles. A core team must be in place at the time of application with flexibility to expand this team as required during phase 1.
The mix of disciplinary expertise within the team will reflect the expertise required to address the priority areas of focus identified in the proposal. It is expected that expertise across economics and social sciences, arts and humanities, and environmental sciences will be required. This may be drawn from academic, practitioner or policy partners.
In addition to relevant domain expertise, the leadership team will demonstrate significant expertise in knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilisation. They will be able to demonstrate understanding of existing policy challenges in the geography of interest and how the research relevant to these challenges can be utilised for local benefit. The leadership team will also have demonstrable experience of working with a range of partners, including novel approaches to public and community engagement.
The principal investigator must contribute a significant proportion of their time to the overall leadership and coordination of the grant.
Responsible innovation is an integral part of our vision and we expect applicants to consider the benefits, but also the potential negative impacts from their activities.
Find out more about responsible innovation.
Additional funding conditions
The proposed governance for this programme will consist of 2 groups bringing together select priority expertise from the policy and research communities. A funders and policy advisory group will advise on strategic opportunities for external collaboration. The performance and evaluation of the network will be overseen by a funders management group. UKRI will convene and sit on both groups.
LPIPs will be required to engage with these structures and must build in sufficient resource and capacity to attend meetings (up to 3 per year) and undertake required reporting.
For a full account of eligible grant costs, please see the Je-S guidance for applicants: LPIPs (PDF, 293KB) for this opportunity.
Co-investigators from business, third sector or government bodies will be funded at 100% of eligible costs. The combined costs for non-academic co-investigators must not exceed 30% of the total 100% full economic cost of the grant application.
Refer to ESRC guidance for full details of costs that can be claimed for UK business, third sector or government body co-investigators.
ESRC will fund up to 10 phase 1 awards for 5 months. Phase 1 awards will be expected to start by 18 April 2023.
Phase 2 LPIP awards will be expected to start in November 2023.