Building purposeful and productive partnerships for growth

Posted on 2 February 2021

WE LEAD’s Director joins IED webinar panel to explore how Universities, businesses and public services can collaborate to boost growth.

On 2 February 2021, WE LEAD’s Director, Professor Kiran Trehan, was a panellist on the Institute of Economic Development’s webinar which was entitled ‘How can economic development professionals work most effectively with Higher Education Institutions to drive growth?’

The event was designed to explore how universities, business and public services can collaborate to drive productivity and economic growth, and the role of knowledge exchange. It was chaired by Greg Ward, IED Director with panellists:

  • Mark Pearson, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise, Research and Innovation, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement at the University of York
  • Jon Guest, Senior Economic Policy Manager at Sheffield City Region

During the event, Kiran explored areas such as what does it actually mean to work together to create conditions for economic prosperity. She spoke about addressing the collaboration gap and trying to create purposeful and productive partnerships so that universities, business, the public sector and economic development professionals can work collectively to improve the economy and the communities they serve.

After a panel discussion, each panellist was asked for their reflections:

Jon Guest spoke about the importance of partner organisations working together around their strengths, such as outreach, research, innovation and regeneration culture. He also highlighted the critical importance of being able to access relevant data.

Mark Pearson highlighted that there needs to be an understanding between partner organisations and universities of the timescales needed to develop programmes of work but the most important thing is to keep working together.

Kiran Trehan concluded with three keys points:

In continuing to work together there needs to be the development of a more integrated, nuanced, agile, responsive approach to innovation.

Stronger pathways need to be created between university departments and different organisations to ensure research and development is integrated and they can work closely together to apply new ideas.

When trying to create a thriving entrepreneurial business culture, whilst navigating through the bureaucracy it is important to show real inclusive leadership and think about training in much more imaginative ways which may then help to drive productivity and competitiveness both in local and regional economies.

Visit the Institute of Economic Development website for further insights from Kiran about this event and to see the webinar

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