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University research showcased at launch of new Combined Authority

Posted on 5 February 2024

The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority was officially launched at the Guildhall - with leading University of York researchers invited to showcase their work.

The BioYorkshire stand

The new Authority will see more than £540 million coming to the region over 30 years, with further funding for research, housing, transport, skills and net zero schemes moving from central government to be controlled and invested locally.

Research on show

Leaders from City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council highlighted the combined strengths of the city region and rural powerhouse, and the opportunities ahead for greater devolution in the north.

Initiatives showcased from the University included:

  • BioYorkshire, which is finding innovative solutions for a cleaner and greener future
  • Institute for Safe Autonomy, working to safely explore how robotics and autonomous systems can benefit people and the planet.
  • XR stories, which strives to champion a new future for digital creativity in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, Partnerships and Engagement at the University of York, who attended the launch, said: “Empowering our region through devolution not only attracts substantial investment and allows for greater authority, but also positions us strategically to tackle local challenges, fostering innovation and growth.

“This investment will be instrumental in realising our vision to generate employment, uplift the regional economy, and propel North Yorkshire towards its ambitious target of becoming one of the pioneering areas in the UK to achieve net zero."

“The University is excited to play its part in this journey.”

A new combined authority

The Combined Authority will be led by the first Mayor for York and North Yorkshire, following elections on Thursday 2 May 2024.

The Mayor will work with City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council to deliver devolved funds and attract new investment. In May, the existing Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner role will also become the responsibility of the Mayor.

North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “We have waited a long time to bring the benefits of devolution to hundreds of thousands of people in York and North Yorkshire.

 “These benefits will make a real difference to people’s lives, whether that is creating more affordable housing, improving skills and training, creating better career opportunities and promoting the green sector to protect the environment.”

Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council, added: “It was fantastic to join local stakeholders to mark the first day of the Combined Authority and the start of a new era for our region. I want to thank everyone across York and North Yorkshire who has been involved in making this happen.

 “One of York’s Council Plan priorities is to make the most of devolution and we are looking forward to getting on with the job in the coming weeks, months and years by working closely with our North Yorkshire partners and the new Mayor.”

 Levelling up

Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said: “[The] launch event is an important milestone in delivering our devolution deal and unlocking more than half a billion pounds of committed long-term funding for the area over the next 30 years.

“Implementing this devolution deal and establishing the new Combined Authority means powers and funding will be transferred from London to God’s own county of York and North Yorkshire. More decisions will now be taken locally with investments made to address key local priorities and drive delivery of key projects.

“Devolution continues to be a key priority for this government, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Combined Authority, councils and the new Mayor in due course as the region begins this new exciting chapter.”

Historic Guildhall 

The launch event was hosted at the historic Guildhall. The University received the keys to the iconic building in 2022, with the newly-renovated city-centre building now operated by York Science Park (YSPL), a subsidiary of the University of York, which offers support for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to grow.

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