Beyond bricks and mortar boards: universities and the future of regional economic development

This report is based on joint work by IPPR North and Universities UK to understand better the impact of recent changes to regional and local structures and the emerging relations between universities and regions. 

The report considers changes in the regional infrastructure following the demise of Regional Development Agencies, and the government’s plan for growth and other changes announced as part of the localisation agenda. These have been considered in the light of other changes to public spending and more specifically the current reforms to the higher education system.

Attention is drawn in the report to the diversity of the sector and the varying roles that institutions can play within their region. The role of Local Enterprise Partnerships and how universities can participate in the new regional structure are also addressed, as are regional funding flows and the opportunities for universities in terms of civic leadership. The report also considers issues relating to business engagement, student enterprise and entrepreneurship, Regional Growth and ERDF funding, and workforce development.

The team

portrait of charlie coyte

Charlotte Coyte

Policy Analyst
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK


A business is born every two hours at UK universities

28 August 2020
​University graduates start 4,000 new businesses and are responsible for supporting tens of thousands of jobs every year.

group of students looking at their results

Record numbers of 18-year-olds and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds accepted into university

13 August 2020
UUK responds to the record numbers of 18-year-olds and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds that have been accepted into university in 2020


The careers services team at Royal Holloway, University of London

How university careers services are supporting graduates through Covid-19

25 June 2020
Gabi Binnie from AGCAS explains how university careers services moved their provision online almost overnight following lockdown, in order to ensure students and graduates continue to be supported.

Seizing the opportunity to offer more people the chance of success through higher technical education

21 November 2019
UUK's Greg Wade on the 'missing middle' of level 4 and 5 qualifications, and shares UUK's recommendations for government.