Yorkshire’s universities are crucial to the region’s recovery

09 June 2020

Yorkshire Universities (YU) is a regional partnership with a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire. In a recent statement to government, they are calling for support during COVID-19.


They are asking for government to provide sufficient resources and policy flexibilities for local institutions in Yorkshire to work in partnership with businesses and communities to create a more inclusive, prosperous, healthier and resilient region.


They are also requesting recognition of the distinct role of universities in Yorkshire and the vital contributions they have played during the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been at both a local level- sharing campus facilities and resources, donating vital medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to local health and care services, encouraging staff and students to volunteer in local communities – as well as at a global level, where through collaborations, universities are undertaking research to pave the way for possible antiviral therapies, alleviating the symptoms of COVID-19 and working as a data alliance with IBM, Google Cloud and others to find new, faster ways of supporting the response to COVID-19 and the subsequent global recovery.


Yorkshire Universities, who contribute £3billion each year towards the local economy, are also calling on the government to back the higher education sector with a sustainable programme of financial support that would strengthen universities as key anchor institutions and enable them to do more, in support of economic and social recovery and rebuilding in Yorkshire.


They maintain that securing the long-term institutional and financial stability of universities in Yorkshire is paramount given their expected contributions towards economic recovery in the form of skills development and retraining, innovation, knowledge exchange and creating new opportunities for more people to realise the benefits of higher education.


In support of these requests, David Kerfoot MBE, Chair, York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“Before our world was turned on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government gave a commitment to ‘level up’ the UK, and to narrow economic and social disparities between regions.

This agenda matters more than ever as a result of the current crisis and collaborations, both new and old, will be key to getting the economy back on track.

At the York and North Yorkshire LEP, we have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with both the University of York and York St John University. Whilst they themselves will find it tough in the current climate, we look forward to continuing our close partnership working including skills development, knowledge exchange and innovation which will be crucial for our economy to be fit and strong in the future.”


To read the full statement to government, visit https://yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk/2020/06/09/yorkshires-universities-are-crucial-to-the-regions-recovery/

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