Northern Powerhouse: challenges and opportunities



L to R: Michael Taylor, with fellow speakers Yasmin Knight, University of Sheffield, and Bryn Jones, Bangor University.

Michael Taylor, external affairs advisor to the Vice-Chancellor, spoke at the AURIL Conference 2016 in Edinburgh about the different ways in which the University is engaging with partners around the city and the Northern Powerhouse.

The AURIL Conference is a key event in the Knowledge Exchange calendar and provides an unparalleled opportunity to network with the community of professionals engaged in linking between academia and industry.

“Devolution presents us with opportunities as well as challenges,” Michael said. “We are closely engaged with employers around the development of high level skills. But we can also do more to design and shape world class public services through evaluation and consultation.

“The discussion after my introductory presentation also emphasised the importance of staying close to a shifting political landscape. The government insists the Northern Powerhouse is an important plank of their industrial strategy for cities like Manchester. We therefore have to make our case forcefully and with detailed evidence that we can have a decisive impact.

“There are also a large number of complementary projects we can work on with other civic universities to really contribute to the Northern Powerhouse.”

Jennie Shorley, Deputy Director, Manchester Metropolitan’s The Centre for Enterprise, AURIL Council 2014-2016, Get That Grant Research Fellow, said: “We were delighted that Michael was able to speak at the AURIL conference. In this time of unprecedented change for UK universities, our members are keen to learn about how higher education can engage with key political shifts and the opportunities that they present.

“Manchester is at the forefront of devolution and increased local autonomy, and it is essential that universities are active in this agenda across all localities, as the civic anchor institutions that we are! Michael stimulated a lively discussion with members from across the UK, and feedback after the event has been excellent.”