The UK’s 11 ‘Core Cities’ and 24 universities have set out a radical new vision for how the country’s cities and universities can work together with government to help the UK prosper post-Covid.
In a joint declaration, cities and universities have set out how they can boost and broaden research and development spend, create highly skilled jobs and help to level up the UK’s nations and regions. The Sheffield City Region is represented in the declaration by both Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield.
The 11 cities, which include Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast, already deliver 26 per cent of the UK economy and play host to 40 per cent of UK university students.
There are examples of powerfully engaged civic universities in action across all the ‘Core Cities’, with many having created and signed or in the process of creating a Civic University Agreement. This new joint-declaration is designed to complement and strengthen those relationships.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK and leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a very challenging time for both universities and our cities, but we must start to plan for a better future.
“Our cores cities and their universities each have distinct industrial and research strengths. They also have enormous potential to generate innovation-led economic growth to benefit the towns and communities in their wider regions. But we need government to work with us to realise that potential.
“In what I hope will be the start of a productive dialogue with government, this joint-statement sets out how they can collaborate with local on-the-ground expertise to drive national post-COVID recovery, rebalance R&D investment and level up the economy.
“As the UK continues to explore new global markets and opportunities post-Brexit, we also want to take advantage of our cities’ and institutions’ growing reputation as major hubs for innovation and research excellence.”
Richard Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown what universities can, and must, do for their communities. We can be proud of the work many universities have undertaken in responding to the immediate challenges of the pandemic, putting higher education at the centre of the response, but much more is needed.
“Earlier this year, Sheffield Hallam was chosen as the host institution for the Civic University Network, which brings together and promotes best practice across the sector. The Network is proving to be a critical resource in helping institutions get their regional approach right in these challenging times.
“As a signatory of the Core Cities UK Universities Declaration, we hope to strengthen those relationships and use the collective voice of our civic universities and UK cities to continue to work with government and local partners on the challenges and opportunities Covid-19 has presented.”