How universities can contribute to place-based policymaking

Developing Insights North East


Bridging the worlds of research and policymaking

Insights North East is a collaboration of anchor institutions in North East of England to use university research for place-based policymaking and practice. The project focuses on ensuring that future research agendas are demand-led and shaped by the specific needs of the region.

It is managed by Newcastle University and delivered through a core partnership with the NHS, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle City Council, and Northumbria University.

Urban Foresight was commissioned to work alongside the core partners to develop and secure funding for Insights North East. Our expertise in project development and delivery, collaboration with anchor institutions, and securing research and innovation funding was instrumental in the success of the project.

Our work started with a comprehensive mapping of university research capabilities to determine the initial areas of focus. The identity of Insights North East was established, and three core research and policy priorities were identified: net zero, inclusive growth, health and wellbeing.

A robust business and governance model was then constructed for the project. This formed the basis of a successful funding application to Research England, which was also coordinated by Urban Foresight. This secured a £5.5 million grant.

Insights North East was launched in 2023. As an action research project, it will share its learning with the higher education, health and public sectors across the UK and internationally. This will support the design of more local solutions to close the gap between publicly funded research, policymaking and practice.


Image credit: Charlie Green