The University of Strathclyde has signed up to a new declaration setting out proposals for the UK’s post COVID-19 economic recovery.

The Core Cities declaration, by 11 UK cities and 21 of the universities they host, outlines how its signatories can boost and broaden research and development spending, create high- skilled jobs and help to level up the UK’s nations and regions.

Glasgow and the other 10 Core Cities deliver 26% of the UK’s economy and play host to 40% of all UK university students.

Research and development

City leaders and University Vice Chancellors have come together to set out a declaration to government ministers, with proposals for establishing new City Innovation Partnerships (CIPs) to develop targeted local research and development investment programmes.

They also call for greater local flexibility in the delivery of skills, employment and job creation programmes, the introduction of a Cities Trade Package, and a new UK Urban Trade and Investment Strategy to reposition the UK internationally.

Strathclyde Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “At Strathclyde, we have a long and productive history of working in close partnership with Glasgow’s civic leaders, through organisations such as the Glasgow Economic Leadership Board, Sustainable Glasgow and, currently, the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group. The Core Cities declaration is a continuation of this.

“Glasgow has a major part to play in addressing the challenges of post-pandemic recovery and Strathclyde is at the forefront of these endeavours. Through our leading roles in Glasgow City Innovation District, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, we are well placed to help fulfil the declaration’s aims in skills delivery, research and development and unleashing innovation. 

“The declaration is also a significant opportunity to address the vast challenge of climate change and to shape the sustainable approach which is essential not only to UK cities but to the entire world. We are a leading international technological university, and our ethos of being socially progressive means that we remain committed to making a difference to the citizens, institutions and business community in our own wonderful City of Glasgow.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a very challenging time for both universities and our cities, but we must start to plan for a better future.

“Our core cities and their universities each have distinct industrial and research strengths. They also have enormous potential to generate innovation-led economic growth to benefit the towns and communities in their wider regions. But we need government to work with us to realise that potential.

“In what I hope will be the start of a productive dialogue with government, this joint statement sets out how they can collaborate with local on-the-ground expertise to drive national post-COVID recovery, rebalance R&D investment, and level up the economy.

“As the UK continues to explore new global markets and opportunities post-Brexit, we also want to take advantage of our cities’ and institutions’ growing reputation as major hubs for innovation and research excellence.”