Local universities are collaborating with regional authorities to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the local community.
The economic ramifications will be reduced by strengthening the resilience of businesses and supporting the agility of the current and future workforces.
Newcastle University, Durham University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University are active members of North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group.
The Group was formed with local organisations including the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the North East and North of Tyne Combined Authorities and the North East Joint Transport Committee.
Jane Robinson, Dean of Engagement and Place at Newcastle University, represents the region’s four universities within the Group. She explained the group’s founding principles to The Courier:
“[The Coronavirus pandemic] has affected our health, our economy, and society more widely; exacerbating existing inequalities.
“As a University, we are deeply rooted in our local communities, committed to social justice and doing all we can to bring our research and expertise together with partners to re-imagine and deliver on a future that offers opportunity for all, in a region which acts as magnet for people to live, work and study.”
Newcastle University’s contribution is focused on innovation. The University’s Urban Observatory has tracked footfall within the city as England was gradually released from lockdown, enabling the city to reopen safely. The Northern Accelerator and Arrow programmes, which facilitate co-operation between university research and local businesses, have received increased funding during this period.
The University also created the online discursive space “Wor Culture” to allow the concerns of individuals in the arts sector to inform policy.
The Group has published an economic response summary report that has outlined the strategies for long-term recovery:
- Support new and existing businesses to innovate and grow, endeavouring to construct a more durable and inclusive economy.
- Aid the reskilling and upskilling of the current workforce by identifying the future skill needs, improving the overall sustainability of the workforce.
- Contribute to high level research initiatives that will attain necessary data to support scenario planning, problem solving and policy making.
- Act as ‘anchor institutions’ by employing local people, supporting local supply chains, attracting and retaining educational talent and contributing to the vibrancy, culture and wider well-being of the region.
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Last modified: 19th October 2020