This seminar provided a timely opportunity to discuss how universities can play a leading role in the fast-developing devolution of powers to regions in England.
It followed Government’s announcement, in the Autumn Statement, of the second wave of pilots for regional innovation audits, in addition to the HEFCE-funded Leading Places Project which sought to develop lasting collaborations between universities and their local councils to improve services and boost economic development.
Sessions examined ways in which universities can support local economic growth, including through knowledge exchange, skills development and supporting entrepreneurship among staff, students and the wider community. Delegates also discussed the realities of the so-called ‘brain drain’ of graduates moving to London and the South East and away from the local economies in which they studied.
Delegates were an informed group including key policymakers from across Government, together with university leaders, Catapult centres, research councils, research-focused charities and learned societies, employers and industry associations, consultancies and student groups.