Local Policy Innovation Partnership Programme
The programme will fund a network of interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) to address social, community, economic and environmental priorities that contribute towards inclusive sustainable economic growth.
The strategic coordination hub (SCH) will convene across the research and policy ecosystem to help connect LPIPs to the research, expertise and evidence needed to inform effective responses to local priorities.
Building on existing research capability and infrastructure, it will act as an intermediary, learning about the local context and challenges faced in each partnership’s area.
It will support the dissemination and translation of learning and evidence across and beyond the network of LPIPs, supporting access to data and communicating outcomes to policymakers and practitioners at local, regional and national levels.
Applications should consider approaches to operating flexibly in a changing policy environment ensuring priorities and the proposed SCH model can respond to stakeholder needs.
The network will support 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
Together, the LPIPs and 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
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 sustainable local growth, including:
- inclusive and sustainable local economic performance
- living and working sustainably in a greener economy
- communities in their places
- felt experiences
- pride in place and cultural recovery
Priorities will 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. Each LPIP will design its own agenda and work programme and devise an appropriate approach and methods, including novel approaches to public and community engagement.
See the full specification for the LPIPs.
The SCH will undertake the following functions and activities across 3 interrelated strands of activity.
Connecting across the policy and research ecosystem
- connecting and convening across the UK landscape research and policy landscapes. The SCH will work with the LPIPs and stakeholders to improve access to relevant evidence, data and research from wider investments, programmes and projects, building and enhancing connections which support the translation of evidence into local policy and practice
- working with LPIPs to identify cross-network priority challenges around sustainable, inclusive growth
- working with LPIPs to identify and address evidence gaps that are not currently covered by existing investments and programmes, and where new research activity may add value
- acting as a point of engagement for locally focused infrastructure that are not part of the funded LPIP network
- facilitating direct connection between LPIPs and relevant UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded investments in research, knowledge exchange and data infrastructure and collection. This will be determined by the needs of the network, for example:
- facilitating direct connection between LPIPs and Innovation Accelerators, see Levelling up the UK (GOV.UK)
National policy engagement
- facilitating engagement with national government, acting as the front-door to the network, facilitating national policy stakeholders to access local policy intelligence, evidence and experts in LPIP areas
- supporting policymakers at a UK and national level to engage with the work of the LPIPs, and help them understand local conditions and possible solutions to local challenges (especially those that require UK or national input)
- facilitating translation of national policy agendas (for example, boosting productivity and growth, moving to net zero, improving educational outcomes and adult skills, and increasing pride in place) to local level priorities
‘What works’ learning agenda
- facilitating the dissemination of learning which can be applied in different contexts, realising value beyond the network
- supporting LPIPs to navigate the process of accessing administrative data or linked datasets through secure research environments
- supporting LPIPs to understand and judge evidence quality and transferability, and support partnership efforts to address local barriers to the use of evidence in policy and practice
- leading on learning of what works in co-creation, co-development and knowledge mobilisation in a local policy context, sharing best practice across the network
- supporting LPIPs to develop evaluative frameworks that will support the network
The hub will additionally provide thought leadership to funders, advising on ‘what next’ around models of local policy innovation informed by their learning from the programme.
The hub will manage a competitive, flexible funding pot which it will use to support activity that focuses on transferability of findings to other contexts across and beyond the network, to generate wider benefits beyond individual LPIP areas.
Priorities will be identified in collaboration with the network, and LPIPs will be eligible to apply individually or as consortia. Examples of activity include but will not be limited to:
- evidence development
- testing the transferability of findings in new areas including partnering with organisations outside the LPIP’s network
The pot will be ringfenced within the main SCH award and its size will be determined by applicants. Proposals must outline how the flexible pot will be operationalised and governed. Funds for the flexible programme should be included in the total cost of the proposal at a maximum of 30% of the total value of the grant.
Projects funded from the flexible pot must undergo a competitive process, following the principles of peer review, and comply with full economic cost rules applied to the SCH grant. ESRC should be consulted throughout the funds commissioning process to ensure best practice is followed. Projects funded are expected to engage with the wider programme of activities and report their progress and outcomes to the grant holder for reporting purposes.
The hub model and structure should allow for scaling of capacity to be able to manage additional activities including ringfenced funding pots and people exchange opportunities.
The full economic cost of your project can be up to £3.6 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
The LPIP programme will be delivered in 2 phases. At phase 1, a maximum of £500,000 is available to support up to 10 seed-corn awards of a maximum of £50,000 (at 100% full economic cost) each for a duration of 5 months, during which time they will each develop proposals to the full stage opportunity.
Bidders are encouraged to bid for the level of award appropriate to support their team to develop a proposal for a 3-year phase 2 award. The purpose of this first phase is to resource and support capacity across stakeholders to undertake the partnership development and landscape or evidence analysis required to design the phase 2 work programme.
It is expected that the SCH will work in the following ways in phase 1 (April to October 2023):
- establish the foundations of the leadership team and operational model and governance to allow the SCH to scale up for full operations in phase 2
- work with the LPIP seed-corn awards to support the development of high-quality applications to phase 2
- work with the seed corn LPIP projects to refine SCH model
In phase 2, 4 full stage LPIP awards will be made to the strongest partnerships with potential to deliver insights and solutions tailored to local policy agendas. The SCH will be fully operational by November 2023, with the full leadership team recruited, to deliver all specified functions.
Applications to this opportunity must articulate a clear approach to each of the following.
You must include clear and deliverable stakeholder engagement plans that will enable the team to deliver key functions of the SCH. The team will be expected to have clear mechanisms in place for gathering and disseminating intelligence and learning across LPIPs, UK and devolved governments, relevant organisations from the public, third and private sectors, and existing UKRI and government investments and programmes.
Roles for each partner organisation within the team must be clearly defined, with a clear rationale for how each will add value to the team. Applications must show how the balance of stakeholders will support the required functions of the SCH.
You must demonstrate an awareness of the place of the SCH in the current landscape of UKRI infrastructure and show how you will develop high quality communication plans for engaging with existing UKRI investments in order to ensure the LPIPs network adds value and builds on existing capability.
You must demonstrate an approach to working with LPIPs in phase 1 to refine the delivery model in light of stakeholder needs. Applications must have built-in capacity for this engagement, and for supporting development of LPIP phase 2 applications.
You should include a work plan with clear milestones. Planned activities and outputs must be clearly defined and reflect awareness of stakeholders needs. Activities must align to the key functions of the SCH.
You must specify the size of the flexible, competitive pot (up to 30% of the total value of the grant). The application must set out a clear approach to managing the fund in line with principles of transparent and responsible use of public funds.
Leadership, management and governance
The successful grant will be led by a strong leadership team who can articulate a clear vision and strategic objectives for the LPIPs network. They will have demonstrable experience of working with a range of partners to support the application of knowledge to policymaking and be able to convene relevant actors from across landscape to leverage expertise.
The proposal must identify a core team who will lead the SCH from phase 1 which can be expanded as required. The phase 1 team must include a non-academic co-investigator. The full SCH team must be in place for phase 2 and the application should demonstrate options for how applicants will build this team.
Proposals must identify a principal investigator who will lead the team. We encourage applicants to include appropriate non-academic organisations, for example government, public sector, third sector or locally focused policy body, within the leadership team. The proposal should explain clearly the division of roles between the principal investigator and the rest of the leadership team.
The principal investigator must contribute a significant proportion of their time to the overall leadership and coordination of the grant.
The proposal must specify a delivery model for the SCH, detailing how the structure will enable the delivery of SCH’s core functions. Equity across the different functions and effective leadership of evidence and in-practice learning from across the interdisciplinary areas of society, economy and environment are essential considerations.
There must also be a clear approach to engaging the different regions and devolved nations within the network. UKRI strongly encourages a collaborative model. This could involve identifying and working with locally placed partners in research organisations or stakeholder organisations who will support the transfer of evidence. You may consider a model with staff based in 1 location but dedicated to different areas, a devolved approach or a hybrid model.
The proposal should also specify a management structure for the hub, detailing how the project will be managed day to day, and how hub management will be resourced, with appropriate expertise.
Proposals should identify how their management arrangements will dovetail with the network’s governance structures ensuring effective strategic and operational oversight on a day-to-day basis. See ‘additional funding conditions’ below for more details.
Interdisciplinarity and expertise
The full SCH leadership team must demonstrate breadth of expertise required to engage across the range of thematic areas in scope for the network. These thematic areas are described in more detail under ’additional info’:
- inclusive and sustainable local economic performance
- living and working sustainably in a greener economy
- communities in their places
- felt experiences and pride in place
- cultural Recovery
- locally identified priority
You may identify alternative approaches to bring in and utilise additional expertise in an on-demand basis through advisory structures or associate networks.
In addition to broad domain expertise, the director and leadership team will have significant expertise in knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilisation as required to generate and disseminate learning across all thematic areas.
The SCH will have flexibility to recruit further experts to the team once LPIP priority areas of focus are defined and geographic coverage of LPIP awards is known.
British Academy Innovation Fellowship
ESRC, AHRC, Innovate UK and the British Academy are collaborating to provide a 12 month Innovation Fellowship in support of LPIP SCH:
- a British Academy Innovation Fellowship opportunity will be made available in 2023 to 2024 that will be embedded in and hosted by the SCH for 12 months latest start date February 2024. The fellow will be fully funded by the British Academy
- the SCH as the host of the fellowship will work with the British Academy to shape the requirements and participate in the recruitment of the fellow once the SCH award has been made
- potential fellows will apply to and receive their award from the British Academy. Applications to the LPIP SCH opportunity must take account of this opportunity in their proposals
- the British Academy Policy Innovation Fellowship will focus on how the UK can develop effective multi-level governance structures which encourage participation, engagement and cooperation to strengthen our capacity to identify and respond to local, regional and national needs and the major policy challenges ahead
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 role of the SCH is contingent on UKRI making a minimum of 3 full stage LPIP awards at the end of phase 1. In the event that an insufficient number of high-quality applications are received, UKRI may seek to revise the work programme of the SCH, in collaboration with the successful team, to deliver a related set of objectives within the agreed funding level.
The proposed governance for this programme will consist of 2 groups bringing together relevant 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.
The SCH 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 including capacity to undertake and engage in evaluation.
The SCH will be required to have representation from relevant UKRI investments within its advisory structures, in order to embed connections.
For a full account of eligible grant costs, please see the Je-S guidance for applicants: strategic coordination hub (PDF, 334KB) 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.
Funding is available for 44 months.
The UK LPIP strategic coordination hub will be expected to start by 18 April 2023.