The claim that regional strategies, innovation and the Northern Powerhouse (the future of which is in doubt) need universities is right but the implication that this can only be driven by research-intensive universities is wrong (“Universities, knowledge and innovation vital for 'Northern Powerhouse'”, Opinion, 19 September). In fact, many modern universities deliver more translational research, greater numbers of highly qualified graduates in the regions and have more contracts with small and medium-sized enterprises as well as multi-national companies such as Nissan.
What is required to drive the government’s industrial strategy is not the promotion of one type of university over another but rather a more dynamic funding system for translational research and innovation that values the role of all universities and not just a few. Our recent policy paper, “Is science and research funding in higher education meeting the challenges of the 21st century?”, sets out the challenges and outlines some solutions.
Chief executive, MillionPlus