Yorkshire & Humber Policy Engagement & Research Network (Y-PERN)

Y-PERN is a novel network-based approach to inclusive and place-based academic policy engagement and


What is Y-PERN? 

The project has recently been awarded £3.9m of funding from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, a £27 million annual fund that supports institutional strategic developmental projects in higher education research and knowledge exchange.

Y-PERN is a novel network-based approach to inclusive and place-based academic policy engagement and research. By enhancing the effectiveness of inclusive regional development policy and strategy, Y-PERN will play a critical role in fulfilling the commitment made in the Memorandum of Understanding between Yorkshire Universities (YU) and Yorkshire and Humber Councils (YHC) to work together to identify actions and solutions to some of the major opportunities and challenges facing the region. 

The group includes Yorkshire Universities (a group of 12 Higher Education Institutions) and Yorkshire and Humber Councils (22 Local Authorities and 2 Mayoral Combined Authorities) to work together on Levelling-Up. 

Aims and objectives 

Y-PERN has four main objectives:

  • To strengthen existing collaborations & networks between universities in Yorkshire to enhance the direct contribution of academic research to policymaking addressing the key economic opportunities and; challenges facing all parts of the region. 
  • To create academic-led ‘communities of practice’ across Yorkshire to drive increased academic policy engagement and research and shared learning across local and regional partners, thus contributing towards stronger systems-based and place-based leadership in different sub-regional and regional geographies.
  • To build the case and increase further demand for a sustainable network resource that mobilises academic expertise to support the strategic objectives and priorities agreed by the region.
  •  To explore the potential of the Y-PERN approach to add value to existing approaches across other regions, and for future scaling up to a national policy engagement and research network.

Outcomes and wider benefits

Y-PERN will deliver a step-change in strategic collaboration between the region’s HEIs and civic bodies, aiding the identification and selection of strategic priorities in local and sub-regional authorities, shaping future policies for sustainable and resilient recovery and growth, so improving the wellbeing of people in the region.

Y-PERN will play vital role in stimulating greater alignment and connectivity between different analytical functions and capabilities within Yorkshire (e.g. CBI, ONS, Chamber of Commerce), whilst also providing a source of expertise and insight into regional and sub-regional dimensions of the Yorkshire economy that will be of interest to Government and its agencies. Crucially, the Y-PERN will shorten the lifecycle for turning robust evidence and findings into direct policy interventions, and create stronger and longer lasting societal impact from academic research. 

Y-PERN will create a stronger and lasting societal impact from academic research and further strengthen and add value to the universities’ regional role and civic mission. Finally, the place-based principles of Y-PERN mean it will naturally be connected to other regional policy engagement bodies across the country, such as West Midlands-REDI and Insights North East, seeking to extend the Network to mutual benefit of all these regional bodies and the regions that they serve.

Y-PERN will build important insights into what works, helping demonstrate the national benefit of integrating local, regional, national and global scales an systems through scaling up to a national policy engagement and research network, e.g. working with Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE) and Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN).

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.