Cities and the shaping of public policy post Covid-19

The University of Manchester has announced a new multi-million pound four-year project looking specifically at policy-making in Westminster and Whitehall and also at cities and regions post Covid-19 with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology as a key partner.

The University is to take part in the national project in partnership with UCL and universities of Cambridge, Nottingham and Northumbria as well as Parliament, Government and policy organisations to explore ways of improving academic-policy engagement.

According to the University, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for reliable evidence which can inform public debate and policy. It is also vital, it says that with increasing pressure on public finances, that local and central governments can be confident that policy interventions will be effective and successful.

In addition to the £3.9 million of funding from Research England, the partner institutions will contribute further resource to bring the total value of the project to nearly £10 million. The project will support academic-policy engagement at scale and will engage universities and policy stakeholders from across England. The will ensure it states, that a greater balance in the interests and expertise will be represented and ensure the project will address issues of policy beyond Westminster, to reflect the diversity of England's communities.

The funding will ensure the establishment of a virtual Centre for Universities and Public Policy to provide a collaborative platform for networking and sharing knowledge.

Professor of Government Practice and Vice Dean for Social Responsibility in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Manchester, Andy Westwood said:

'Covid-19 has shone a light on existing processes and systems, but now we need to extend relationships across all areas of academia - not least as we begin to think about building an economic and social recovery from the pandemic'.

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