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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

Regional policy and R&D: evidence, experiments and expectations

  • 13 May 2021
  • By Sarah Chaytor, Grace Gottlieb and Graeme Reid
  • HEPI number 137

Too many earlier attempts to use R&D investment for ‘levelling up’ have started with big ambitions but not survived long enough to deliver economic benefit. The purpose of regional R&D investment needs greater clarity.

This report unpicks assumptions about the spread of research funding across the UK and finds them wanting. Comparable countries appear to have higher levels of research concentration than the UK. Variations within regions can be greater than between regions.

Proposals for more resilient regional R&D initiatives include: adopting a clear vision and metrics for success; ensuring regional metrics capture the impact of research; supporting partnerships between diverse universities; stronger local leadership and accountability within a national framework; and ensuring financial sustainability for university research.

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