Recommendations relating to LEPs by Sir Andrew Witty:
6. LEPs have up to €1 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds to invest in innovation. They should look to direct a large share of innovation funding towards excellent universities and research centres in order to nurture sustainable growth founded in comparative advantage, including through universities supporting innovative SMEs in their localities. LEPs should do this within frameworks which relate funding to economic outcomes. They should collaborate, and support university collaborations, beyond their own areas wherever these will deliver an economic or research benefit.
7. Ministers should write to the chairs of all LEPs with universities in their areas setting out the expectation that these LEPs should have a university presence on the Board. Where a LEP is participating in an Arrow Project led by a university in its area then it may well be appropriate for the university to provide co-chairmanship of the LEP. University members should be prominent in, and may often chair, LEPs’ Innovation or R&D and Innovation sub-committees.
8. The Government should ensure that all the funds available to LEPs to invest in Innovation and R&D are spent on these areas. It should establish an authoritative advisory capability to advise it and LEPs and other relevant decision-takers on how strongly LEP proposals are based in a sound assessment of comparative advantage, and to identify and communicate the best practice of the most effective of LEPs so that the Government and LEPs can work to bring all LEPs up to the level of the best.