Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Strategic coordination hub for Local Policy Innovation Partnerships

Apply for funding to establish a strategic coordination hub (SCH) for Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs).

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding.

The strategic coordination hub will work with the LPIP to:

  • convene stakeholders across the research and policy ecosystem
  • draw together understanding of local challenges
  • act as a front door to national policy stakeholders
  • support engagement across the network
  • assess the transferability of their findings across the network and beyond, including support through a commissioning fund

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £3.6 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for 44 months.

The LPIPs will be commissioned through a 2-phase competitive process, alongside this SCH opportunity. The full LPIP programme will make up to £20 million available over 4 years.

This opportunity has a mandatory intention to submit stage which was due by 17 November 2022 at 4pm. Proposals will not be accepted from applicants who did not provide an intention to submit before this deadline.

For information about the British Academy Innovation Fellowship collaboration, see ‘What we’re looking for’.

Who can apply

This opportunity is led by ESRC in partnership with AHRC and Innovate UK on behalf of UKRI. It is open to interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral teams with expertise in any disciplines supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The successful team will lead a strategic coordination hub (SCH) to convene and coordinate across a network of Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) addressing social, economic and environmental challenges within their area. The team must demonstrate access to academic, policy and knowledge exchange expertise required to successfully deliver the investment.

Principal investigators must be based at an institution eligible for UKRI funding. Teams may involve multiple institutions. The lead organisation will be responsible for submitting the grant application.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

Researchers may submit 1 application to this funding opportunity as principal investigator but may be involved in other applications as a co-investigator. Applicants applying to both the LPIP and SCH opportunities must demonstrate sufficient capacity to deliver both effectively if successful. This will be checked at application processing stage.

Co-investigators from government and local government, third sector and non-profit organisations, and business are eligible for this opportunity. Collaborations beyond academia are required for this opportunity.

Applicants will identify the most appropriate role and level of involvement for each participating organisation. This could be as:

  • co-investigator
  • research officer
  • policy adviser
  • support staff
  • project partner
  • other appropriate roles

Equality, diversity and inclusion

In line with the UKRI diversity principles, equality and diversity must be embedded at all levels and in all aspects of research practice. We are committed to supporting the research community in the diverse ways a research career can be built with our investments. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

With this in mind, we welcome applications from those who:

  • job share
  • have a part-time contract
  • need flexible working arrangements
  • are currently committed to other longer, large existing grants

ESRC conducted an equality impact assessment for this opportunity which can be found under ‘supporting documents’ under ‘additional info’.

What we're looking for

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
  • innovation
  • skills
  • 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

This includes:

  • 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

This includes:

  • 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

This includes:

  • 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:

  • workshops
  • 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.

Funding available

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.

Application requirements

Applications to this opportunity must articulate a clear approach to each of the following.

Stakeholder collaboration

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.

Work plan

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
  • innovation
  • skills
  • 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

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.

Eligible costs

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.

How to apply

Intention to submit

Please complete the intention to submit form by 17 November 2022 at 4pm. This is mandatory. Proposals will not be accepted from applicants who have failed to provide an intention to submit.

Please include the names of the principal investigators, co-investigators and any collaborating organisations confirmed at this stage. This is to help us manage conflicts at the panel assessment stage and will not involve any expert assessment.

Full proposal

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

You can find advice on completing your application in:

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Submitting your application

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

When applying:

  1. Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’
  2. Select ‘call search’
  3. To find the opportunity, search for: LPIPs Strategic Coordination Hub 2023

This will populate:

  • council: ESRC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: Research Grants
  • call/type/mode: LPIPs Strategic Coordination Hub 2023

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

All applications need to be submitted through the lead research organisation which in turn must be Je-S registered.

All applicants should consult the team responsible for proposal submissions at their research organisation to confirm how much time they will need to process the application and complete the submission process.

Please leave enough time to ensure that all co-investigators are fully registered on the system. Non-academic co-investigators should seek support from the research office partner during the registration process. This process from start to finish can take up to a month.


ESRC must receive your application by 12 January 2023 at 4pm.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.


The proposal should consist of a completed Je-S form and the following 5 attachments.

Case for support

The case for support forms the main body of your proposal and should clearly address the application requirements as set out above:

  • stakeholder collaboration
  • work plan
  • leadership, management and governance
  • interdisciplinarity and expertise

It must be a maximum of 12 sides of A4.

Additional attachments

In addition, applicants must attach:

  • justification of resources (maximum 2 sides of A4)
  • Gantt chart (maximum 1 side of A4), including a high-level project plan detailing key milestones and activity
  • CVs (maximum 2 sides of A4) for each named individual
  • letters of support from project partners and collaborators
  • data management plan

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed for the quality and feasibility of approach to each of the following:

Stakeholder collaboration

This includes:

  • approach to working with Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) and stakeholders (research users and beneficiaries at national and local level) is led by insight about need and demand with clear plans for ongoing consultation to shape the strategic coordination hub’s (SCH) strategy
  • quality of plans for meaningful communications and engagement with LPIPs, UKRI investments and a wider network of stakeholders, with clear plans for making support offer and outputs available to all potential users throughout the award
  • a sophisticated, deliverable communications and engagement plan for connecting with existing UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and government investments and programmes
  • clear mechanisms for sharing learning, methods and evidence across environments and areas
  • evidence of cross-sector collaboration, including local and national policy stakeholders, business and third sector. Clear interest from project partners, including letters of support
  • evidence of a clear approach to responsible research and innovation embedded in plans for delivery

Work plan and resourcing

This includes:

  • a clear work plan with activities that can be delivered with the resource and time available
  • justification of resources requested and value for money. Clear explanation for the scale, timing and resources requested
  • an approach to managing the ringfenced, competitive fund for new activity that will contribute to addressing evidence gaps identified by the LPIPs network, including a proposed value

Leadership, management and governance

This includes:

  • a clear vision for the operation of the network of LPIPs, including well-defined objectives that align to the scope and aims of the initiative
  • clearly positioned in the wider landscape, and providing additional unique capability that builds on existing policy and academic networks and UKRI investments
  • coherent leadership, management and governance plans, including effective integration of interdisciplinary team expertise and skills and clearly defined roles
  • suitable model for strategic coordination delivery
  • clear approach to hub management, including identification and evaluation of risks with appropriate mitigation strategies in place, and strong management expertise to support hub delivery
  • evidence of planning for partnerships and networks developed to be sustained beyond the funding cycle

Interdisciplinarity and expertise

This includes:

  • the core team comprises breadth of expertise to engage across the range of thematic priorities specified for the opportunity, with clear plans for how subject experts from the wider landscape will be convened
  • evidence of team’s research and knowledge exchange leadership, and track record for interdisciplinary research translation in national and local policy contexts

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by expert peer reviewers. Applicants will have an opportunity to respond to peer review comments.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview panel, and panellists will review and score applications independently in advance of the panel meeting. Following interviews, scores will be refined.

The role of the panel is to make funding recommendations to the funding partners. The final funding decision is made by UKRI.

UKRI reserves the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

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Additional info

Policy context

Reducing regional disparities is recognised by both UK and devolved governments as critical to addressing the economic, social and environmental challenges faced by local communities.

These priorities will be addressed through 12 missions including increased devolution of power in England, improved pay and productivity and improved wellbeing. The ambition is that these will be delivered by 2030.

The UK government also recently published its 2022 Growth Plan capturing the current approach to energy prices, growth and policy decisions including the introduction of investment zones which aim to generate business investment and release land for new homes in communities across the country.

UK government has set out the importance of people and place in delivering the UK’s net zero 2050 legal commitment. See GOV.UK’s:

The government has also set out the importance of the role of place in delivering their vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035 (see GOV.UK’s UK Innovation Strategy: pillar 3).

Each devolved government also sets out its own ‘Programme for Government’ and although approaches across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vary due to their political, social and economic context, they all contain strong themes which relate to reducing regional disparities. Local economic performance, living and working sustainably, innovation, skills, and better places to work and live feature in the priorities of the devolved governments.

We published our UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) strategy in March 2022 identifying 6 core objectives, including world-class places. UKRI is committed to delivering economic, social and cultural benefits from research and innovation to all UK citizens, including by developing research and innovation strengths across the UK in support of levelling up.

This programme will deliver against UKRI’s strategy supporting the development of evidence to inform local, regional and national policies and interventions to address regional disparities and enhance place-based livelihoods and economies.

Research and development: benefits to policy

Developing effective policy interventions which address local challenges requires actionable information in the form of data, evidence of what works and, where appropriate, modelling.

The existing research and policy landscape in the UK is rich in insight, evidence and data but limited support for collaboration and translational activity at a local level can limit capacity to return benefits locally. This initiative aims to leverage the potential in the UK research and development system to better support inclusive and sustainable economic growth, resilience and social development in local communities.

To realise the diverse benefits of research and development, including research, knowledge and data funded by UKRI, researchers need to work with local stakeholders to understand, diagnose, and address specific challenges and opportunities faced at a local level.

They also need to support the capability of local stakeholders to work with research and data. Crucial to delivering successful place-based policies are national and local policy stakeholders (public, third and private sector), including communities. Through partnership working, the research, data and expertise needed to understand local conditions and issues can be identified and partners can develop an understanding of ‘what works’ for a given place.

Definitions of priority areas of focus

Inclusive and sustainable local economic performance

This involves the following:

  • there are substantial economic disparities across the UK, which are found within and between its nations, regions, counties and local areas, characterised by differences in skills, wages and productivity
  • responses to local challenges requires understanding of both systemic and local economic factors, and must be informed by insight about which strategies are most likely to lead to increased levels of growth, wellbeing and quality of life
  • the UK economy faces major structural change, from COVID-19 recovery, to exiting the EU and the transition to net zero, and there is a need to understand how opportunities can be harnessed to generate growth in different areas, while delivering a socially and spatially just transition to a green future
  • data and analytical capability are needed to identify areas where policies and spend should be targeted according to potential and opportunity, in turn leading to the creation of new metrics that help understand economic outcomes for people, businesses and places
  • research is also needed to demonstrate what works in the diffusion of innovation in the context of ‘left-behind’ places
  • evaluation capability is required to support the trialling of innovative interventions, including new methods to account for displacement effects, and understand potential unintended and adverse consequences more broadly

Living and working sustainably in a greener economy

This involves the following:

  • the UK has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, supporting a greener circular UK economy. National and local governments, businesses and public and third sector organisations require high quality evidence concerning the policy and practice changes, investment strategies, and population behaviour shifts needed to deliver a sustainable and biodiverse environment and a net zero society
  • to bring about the scale of transformation needed, place-based pathways to net zero are required across the UK. These will combine strategies for the following. These strategies will realise the economic and societal benefits of protecting, renewing and restoring our natural environment:
    • the creation of new jobs
    • the development and application of new technologies and low-carbon solutions
    • improvements in population health and wellbeing
    • the adaptation of the existing built environment and heritage assets, infrastructure, transport and housing
  • there is now an opportunity for the evolving social, economic, cultural and environmental evidence base to be applied to the specific circumstances that exist within each area, and for new multi-sector collaborative partnerships to be formed to bring together the collective expertise needed to identify new opportunities and solutions
  • co-produced guidance for policy decision making at local, regional and national levels requires examination of individual, community and organisations’ behavioural practices, understanding of place-specific climate-related and bio-diversity challenges, and challenges that restrict access to finance and investment. Collaborative working can lead to the design and evaluation of interventions which will facilitate the transition to more sustainable and equitable high-impact low carbon and nature positive behaviours


This involves the following:

  • the discovery, adoption and diffusion of innovations is a key driver of productivity and growth. A successful innovation ecosystem is 1 where businesses can navigate and access the facilities, funding and advice needed to support innovation. Business, universities, public institutions, charitable organisations and private sector investors are all key partners contributing to the innovation ecosystem
  • local economies are enriched by clusters of innovative businesses which attract investment and skilled workers to the area. Intervention and support to build local innovative capacity must be tailored to the needs of business and informed by insight about local, system-wide and sector-specific factors that shape current and future opportunities in the area
  • sectoral challenges are often geographically bounded and dependent on relationships between places (supply chains, infrastructure, transport and access to training, markets goods and services). Business, public and third sector partnerships are essential in addressing these challenges
  • place-based innovation policy can support local institutions to address the needs of the community in the context of local economic development objectives. Greater connectivity to research enables business access to new knowledge, skills and cutting-edge technologies that deliver sustainable economic impact


This involves the following:

  • the supply and demand of skills in a particular location is rarely aligned. Skill acquisition, a major component of supply, occurs through education, training, apprenticeships, employment and experience. However, access to these acquisition routes will vary depending on transport and education infrastructure, local labour market characteristics and employer provision of opportunity
  • placed-based approaches to tackling supply and demand challenges for emerging and traditional skills must be built upon understanding of community needs, education attainment shortfalls, business and sector requirements, training and employment pathways, and the aspirations and talents of individuals
  • local growth can be supported by improved alignment between demand for skills and the skills that exist in a location, and employers and education providers. Evidence development and mobilisation driven by place-based partnerships is well placed to support local understanding of the acquisition, supply and demand challenges that are the highest priority for local areas
  • evidence and data can inform approaches to targeting education and training resources across a lifetime of learning, supporting firms to invest effectively in skills and training, and boost educational attainment and wellbeing

Communities in their places

This involves the following:

  • cohesive communities can mobilise social capital, tackle placed-based challenges, and identify avenues to bring about social, economic and environmental improvements in their area. Cohesion is at its strongest when there are aligned goals, morals and values between members of the community, local businesses, and the public institutions serving and governing the community
  • greater alignment can bring about increased levels of community trust in public and private organisations, and greater willingness to contribute to community efforts, invest social and financial capital, engage in local culture and tackle local inequality in opportunity
  • communities can be affected by crime, deprivation, inadequate housing, schooling or other poor infrastructure, lack of investment and declining natural environments. The embedding of co-design and co-production methods recognises communities, local organisations and researchers as equal partners, and will help ensure that the most pressing challenges and evidence needs in a location are identified, and that a breadth of expertise is drawn upon to bring about change
  • the practice of engaging and working with communities and the research and evidence required to understand the role of communities in addressing place-based challenges will be central to the LPIP’s ability to deliver against their locally identified priorities. This collaborative approach to priorities, processes and impact can help understand individual and community behaviours, and shape social policies and local services that grow connectedness, build interpersonal and institutional trust and the wellbeing economy, and increase community resilience, and feelings of safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life

Felt experiences and pride in place

This involves the following:

  • nurturing the social fabric of places is an essential aspect of achieving successful place-based policies and practices. Place-based approaches need to develop a richer understanding of the ways in which people interact with place through their everyday routines, built and natural environments, and patterns as residents, visitors, workers and businesses
  • research is needed on developing key concepts such as pride of place, belonging and attachment, satisfaction, and how people feel in and about place
  • this theme will also make connections between these felt experiences and decision-making preferences, including investment preferences from a range of different communities of practice, interest and use. How communities navigate and feel about place change will be key to understanding the short, medium and longer term impacts of place-based policies or practices
  • an understanding of locational preference, place continuities or changes, innovation and economic development will therefore be grounded in a deep understanding and application of knowledge regarding the everyday feelings about place

Cultural recovery

This involves the following:

  • across the 4 nations of the UK, culture and heritage have a clear role to play in place-based recovery and resilience. Understanding the cultural sector in a holistic manner that can capture the contributions that it makes to society and the economy is key to thinking about re-balancing regions, areas and nations
  • ensuring greater access to culture, understanding how and why people engage with culture, and accessing and evidencing the role of culture as both producer and consumer in the economy and society are vital to successful levelling up agendas both across the UK and within areas and regions

Building on existing UKRI infrastructure


Each Local Policy Innovation Partnership (LPIP) will be designed to address specific local needs and deliver a legacy through building increased capability, partnership and impact. LPIPs will have the freedom to establish the model that works most effectively in their area with partners. However, all LPIPs will be required to ensure they build in the right skills and resource to work across the LPIP network.

Each LPIP will be required to operate a local governance structure that reflects the underpinning partnership capturing public, third and private sector members, as appropriate. Where suitable governance structures already exist, we encourage LPIP proposals to utilise or build on them avoiding duplication and unreasonable demand on partners.

Approach to data

ESRC is the single largest public funder of social and economic research data in the UK. We have invested over £200 million in data collection, creation, curation and delivery over the past 5 years.

ESRC’s data infrastructure strategy sets out ESRC’s commitment to ensuring researchers have simple and seamless access to the best and most comprehensive social science data resources, and are equipped with the leading-edge skills and methods to optimise their use.

ESRC’s data infrastructure provides a foundational pillar for social science research, ensuring high quality data can be used to address challenges in the public benefit and advancing the UK’s reputation as a world leader. We expect ESRC proposals to consider how they can build upon, support and integrate with existing research and innovation infrastructures.

The InfraPortal provides a catalogue of over 750 of the UK’s publicly funded research and innovation infrastructures that are open to use and collaboration. A list of ESRC-funded data infrastructures can be found in the data infrastructure strategy. Resources of relevance to this funding opportunity include:

As a grant holder, you must also follow ESRC’s research data policy and common UKRI principles on research data.


We held 2 information webinars on the Local Policy Innovation Partnerships programme, which provided opportunity to ask questions about the overarching investment, geographic coverage, priority areas, and partnership building.

Local Policy Innovation Partnerships Phase 1: 7 November 2022

Watch a recording of the webinar on Zoom (passcode: mn.s05!a)

Webinar presentation slides (PDF, 3.2MB)

Strategic Coordination Hub: 8 November 2022

Watch a recording of the webinar on Zoom (passcode: 24F&nj+N)

Webinar presentation slides (PDF, 3.6MB)

Supporting documents

Je-S guidance for applicants: strategic coordination hub (PDF, 334KB)

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 110KB)


  • 9 May 2024
    Under 'How to apply', have removed the link to the 'intention to submit form' ( as the link is no longer available.

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