Sheffield universities lead £316m recovery plan

Sheffield University

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have submitted a joint proposal to the UK government for a £316 million programme to ensure the post-Covid recovery and renewal of the Sheffield City Region.

The three institutions have outlined a new model for economic and social transformation, supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which they say would:

  • Improve business productivity, resulting in a £1.6 billion increase in gross value added (GVA)
  • Support 2,500 companies
  • Generate and support the creation of more than 3,000 jobs
  • Create 1,500 apprenticeships
  • Extend healthy life expectancy by five years
  • Deliver 4,200 training opportunities

The three institutions said the collaborative proposal, submitted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, “would both scale-up existing and create new R&D intensive high-value clusters, generating thousands of highly-skilled employment opportunities.”

The proposal is also designed “to transform the region’s skills base for the advanced economy, tackle complex social and health challenges, boost the agility and sustainability of the business community, and address key environmental questions.”

The plan includes the creation of advanced R&D centres focusing on sustainable manufacturing, nuclear, gene therapy, and cancer therapies; advanced skills programmes which include the creation of 1,500 new apprenticeships, SME support schemes, and advanced economy development.

“The model will also tackle complex healthcare needs and extend life expectancy, including investment in advanced medical technologies and vital Covid-19 recovery research,” said the institutions.

“These activities will be delivered in partnership with other key regional stakeholders including local authorities, FE colleges, the private sector and other healthcare providers.

“The submission to Comprehensive Spending Review demonstrates the commitment of Sheffield’s anchor institutions to work with the government to support the renewal and recovery of the Sheffield City Region.

“The submission responds to the government’s levelling up agenda, and offers a new model for regional transformation based on improved life chances for all, underpinned by education, innovation and health.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “As anchor institutions, we take seriously our responsibility to support our region’s people, businesses and economy.

“We have a proven track record in delivering innovation-led economic regeneration and, by using our collective expertise through this powerful partnership, we can drive real transformational change for our communities.

“The Sheffield City Region has the talent, assets and vision to lead the levelling up agenda and I hope the government will back this ambitious proposal.”

Professor Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This is a genuine partnership of outstanding institutions, rooted in place and committed to the success of our region. Through this considered and cohesive plan, and ultimately with backing from the government, we can support the recovery and renewal of our region through this incredibly challenging period.

“Through our collective strengths, facilities and expertise, our proposal outlines a new model for economic and social transformation which could provide a blueprint for place-based policy – and I would urge the government to look closely at what we have put forwards.”

Kirsten Major, Chief Executive, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our response to Covid-19 has been nothing short of herculean but as an anchor institution we have an equally large task ahead to help reset our city and wider region’s health.

“We are one of the largest employers in the South Yorkshire region and with our University partners contribute almost £2bn to the local economy.

“The link between employment, education and opportunity is key to good population health which means there has never been a more important time for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners across the city to create and drive an achievable but exciting future.

“This new blueprint draws the assets and expertise of three exceptional research and innovation institutions, working together for a common purpose and is based on a nationally-unique model of transformation.”