James Ransom

April 4, 2022

University regeneration activity in four visualisations

The Levelling Up White Paper promises to ‘transform derelict urban sites into beautiful communities’, to boost people’s skills, and support local businesses. It also includes a commitment to ‘vastly simplify the local growth funding landscape’. Much of this funding will be channelled through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), the s...
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February 28, 2022

No easy return to life as it was pre-pandemic – new HEPI blog

Read it on the HEPI blog. Keep an eye out also for the full report to be launched in a couple of weeks: there’s some interesting findings inside.
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February 2, 2022

The next White Paper arriving in the UK is the delayed Department for Levelling Up strategy calling at the red wall, ‘left behind’ places, and forgotten communities

First thoughts on the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper. No further train analogies. This post originally appeared on the NCEE website. The government published the Levelling Up White Paper today. Given the delays (the paper was expected last year) much ink has been spilled on what it should say. Most agree the challenge i...
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October 14, 2021

New report: Universities and ‘Place Promotion’

Today a report I wrote for Yorkshire Universities was published, looking at how universities can help attract inward investment and boost trade. You probably won’t be surprised to hear it approaches these topics through a regional lens. Here’s a link to the report page, and a direct link to the report (PDF).
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September 29, 2021

Concierges and wine cellars: universities are not the only anchors in town

Hotel Viru in Tallinn, Estonia has a museum on the top floor. There are rows of tape recorders on little desks: KGB listening posts to spy on the international guests staying downstairs. The hidden microphone in a hotel room features in countless spy novels and thriller films; the private space rendered public. We have a fascination wi...
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September 17, 2021

How to slightly reduce the time it takes to transcribe an interview

I wanted to call this post ‘how to dramatically slash interview transcription times’. However, transcription – at least in an academic setting – is often a process of generating new ideas and uncovering layers of understanding at the same time as you go through your recording word-for-word. It’s a messy and time-consuming task, but the...
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August 12, 2021

Solidarity or spectacle – two paths to levelling up

This post originally appeared on the Yorkshire Universities website. Politicians are fond of comparing the UK to Germany – usually as a model of how we could do something better. A recent example is Boris Johnson’s speech on levelling up from last month. “I remember going to former East Germany in 1990 just after the wall had gone down...
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June 16, 2021

An arms race towards local irrelevance

It was good to speak again at the UIIN University-Industry Interaction Conference this morning. Last year I spoke about the pitfalls of local economic impact studies commissioned by universities, and today I talked about how current approaches to local engagement are impeded by outdated strategic planning models. Although ‘place’ needs...
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May 28, 2021

Universities facing Climate Change and Sustainability

Next week the Global University Leaders Council Hamburg holds its biennial conference, this time looking at universities and climate change. There’s a 150 page edited volume supporting the event, including seven country case studies. I supported the production of this publication, through UCL Institute of Education.
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May 27, 2021

New research on university partnerships for Universities UK

This was an interesting, data-driven project for Universities UK looking at the potential impact of university partnerships over the next five years. The training of key workers, the value of local regeneration projects, and business and community engagement are explored. All data is broken down by UK nation and English region. Here’s ...
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May 26, 2021

Are your local universities worth £5 a year?

Five universities in Greater Manchester and the Combined Authority recently undertook polling of over 1,000 local residents. The overall summary is interesting – for example that over half of residents have never visited a local university – but there are some gems hidden in the 230 pages of polling data. Take this, for example, from p...
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May 25, 2021

My communications strategy – do less communications

My blog has moved home. Part of the reason for this is rethinking how I do communications around my research and consultancy work, and my PhD. It’s also part of a drive towards simplifying things. This blog will pick up what I talked about on the old site, but perhaps with shorter and more frequent posts. These will be a mixture of ann...
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