Policy Support Fund

At the University of Leeds, the Research England Policy Support Fund is used to provide researchers with the opportunity to better engage with policy professionals.   

In 2022–23 it was in part used to support the strategic partnership with Leeds City Council and thirteen projects were selected that aligned with Leeds City Council's Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) or were of interest to Leeds City Council.  

Information on these projects is provided in the following sections. 

For the 2023–24 round, in addition to the open call, we will be looking to support projects which seek to address the Council’s refreshed priority topics of: culture, digital, food, inclusive growth, and place. 

Applying for the Policy Support Fund, 2023–24 

The key aim of the Research England fund is to support universities to link effectively with policy research priorities and opportunities at local, regional, national and international levels.  

The open call has a total maximum budget of £400k and is open to projects engaging with policy at any level. 

The Leeds City Council call has a total maximum budget of £200k and is seeking proposals that specifically address the Leeds City Council Areas of Research Interest. The Leeds City Council ARIs have been refreshed for 2023–24 in the priority areas of: culture, digital, food, inclusive growth, and place. 

Successful awards will commence on 1 October 2023, and must be fully spent by 31 July 2024. 

To apply

Applications should be submitted to the Knowledge Exchange team by 5pm on Wednesday, 13 September by emailing the Knowledge Exchange Team at knowledge-exchange@leeds.ac.uk.

For further information on all the calls, University of Leeds colleagues can visit the Research and Innovation Service sharepoint.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Knowledge Exchange Team at knowledge-exchange@leeds.ac.uk if you have any questions. 

Our latest Leeds City Council-facing projects 

In the latest round of Research England funding, thirteen projects were awarded support, with ten of these aligned with Leeds City Council's Areas of Research Interest (ARIs).  

Most of these were supported through the Policy Support funding stream, with two supported by the Participatory Research funding stream. 

Mapping advertising assets across Leeds 

Victoria Jenneson, Michelle Morris, Charlotte Evans

This research was the first investigation of exposure to outdoor advertising in Yorkshire. 

The data, explored through the Mapping Advertising Assets Project (MAAP) dashboard, has increased understanding of outdoor advertising exposure across the city of Leeds, and uncovers inequalities in the amount and types of advertising children and adults are exposed to according to where they live. 

This work has been extended with an award from the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

Reuse to reduce food waste: understanding policy barriers preventing food upcycling

Alessandro Biraglia, Gulbanu Kaptan, Luca Sabini 

The project investigated existing policies around food production and waste management in the United Kingdom and how they can affect, positively or negatively, the reuse of discarded foodstuffs and by-products, also defined as “upcycled foods”. 

Two reviews were conducted. The first involved a comprehensive categorization of UK and unrepealed European Union policies that were then ordered along the DEFRA Food Waste Hierarchy to identify where intervention could be enacted to stimulate the upcycled food industry.  

The second review encompassed the identification and categorization of businesses that already operate some form of food upcycling in the UK, together with the creation of a database of the food businesses present in the Leeds Council Area. 

This led to a workshop on 20 June 2023 between academics, policy officials, businesses and third-sector organisations to actively discuss the challenges and opportunities of upcycled foods and generate a roadmap to pursue future implementations. 

The full report of the findings and the outcomes of the workshop will be also disseminated later in the year through both the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council channels. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel.

Evidence-based policy secondment delivering the Leeds Food Strategy 

Neil Boyle and Louise Dye

Neil worked within the Leeds City Council’s Support Climate, Energy and Green Space policy team on a placement to support evidence-based policy activities related to delivery of the aims and priorities identified in the Leeds Food Strategy (LFS).  

This entailed the provision of insights towards the proposed introduction of a carbon-labelling system to LCC catering venues, for example public buildings and schools, as identified in the Leeds Food Strategy action plan. 

A small 5-week pilot study at Temple Newsam Café was conducted to gain insight into the drivers of food choice, attitudes to low carbon foods and carbon labelling. The data will be used to inform the targeted behaviour change interventions and carbon labelling that will be trialled within the facility going forward. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel

Best practice in Food Hubs

Effie Papargyropoulou, Foodwise Leeds 

Effie’s research evaluated how Food Hubs benefit communities and the food system, working with FoodWise Leeds and 50 food hubs in the Leeds city region. These hubs included food banks, food pantries, community kitchens, community gardens and community care hubs. 

An initial survey developed an understanding of the impacts of food hubs and the challenges they face. Focus groups were conducted with a sample of food hubs across Leeds to co-design an evaluation tool. The evaluation tool was put into practice to develop ten case studies of the impact of food hubs in Leeds.  

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel, you can also read a post about this project on the Policy Leeds Medium blog. You can also find the policy brief, case studies, and evaluation toolkit coming out of this project on the Best Practice in Food Hubs webpage

Addressing inequalities in food and health experienced by those from African Caribbean backgrounds in Leeds 

Sally Moore, Peter Ho, Tanefa Apekey (University of Sheffield), Ether Bissell (Feel Good Factor)

This project worked in partnership with staff at a community organisation in Leeds, to evaluate the feasibility and potential impact of a culturally-adapted healthy eating education and cooking intervention. 

The intervention featured co-developed healthy eating recipes and resources involving traditional African Caribbean food

Preliminary analysis found a positive response from participants and staff towards the intervention. Participants indicated they anticipated continuing to use the resource and reported increased awareness and familiarity of healthy eating guidance. Staff reported they are likely to continue to use of the resources, including when supporting people from diverse backgrounds with healthier eating. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel

Promoting inclusive growth via developing exporting 

Yingqi Wei, Frank McDonald, Emma Liu, Han Jin 

This project aims to co-develop an inclusive growth framework via developing exporting to significantly strengthen export performance and inclusive growth in West Yorkshire.  

Working with WYCA, the team co-designed a survey to understand enablers and barriers for export activities in West Yorkshire that was then circulated to local firms. This was followed by a workshop on 4 July with researchers, businesses and policy makers to discuss the survey findings and potential interventions. The team is finalising a report that will include both findings based on firm survey and roundtable discussions. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel, and find more details on the Promoting inclusive growth via developing exporting project page

Include! Digital inclusion within community organisations 

Joanne Armitage, Helen Thornham, Emma Treggedin (Space2) and Dawn Fuller (Space2

This project looked at how communities can feel greater ownership of place and culture through using digital technologies, and how this could be supported by the Digital Inclusion Practices and Policies of Leeds City Council. 

Working collaboratively with Space2 to develop participatory activities, Include! investigated what a community-centred, participatory, and creative version of digital inclusion would look like. With the Research England funding, the researchers explored this through a series of workshops with community participants, Space2 facilitators, and digital artists. 

This work was supported through the Research England Participatory Research Fund. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel.

Centre for Cultural Value (CCV) – Building policy impact 

Anna Kime, Ben Walmsley 

Anna, Policy Officer at the Centre for Cultural Value, has been embedded in the LCC Culture Programmes team working across Investment, Impact and Inclusion policies. 

This has involved contributing to the re-design of the LCC Cultural Investment Programme, leading the revision of a data collection strategy to help LCC to capture and articulate the value of their work, and working with the Health and Wellbeing and Inclusive Growth teams to ensure cultural investment supports LCC's Best City Ambition. 

Anna will continue supporting the team until October 2023, focussing on communicating policy to the sector and the city and paving the way for the Cultural Strategy 2030 refresh due in 2024. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel.

Mapping cultural engagement with schools in Leeds to inform cultural strategy

Briony Thomas, Jamie Marsden, Gaby Paradis (Leeds City Council), Chris Ansell (Leeds 2023), Giles Dring and Michelle Brook (Open Innovations

This project sought to determine current levels of cultural engagement in schools, to help inform Leeds City Council’s priority for culture. 

They specifically examined the future legacy of LEEDS 2023 and the current cultural investment priorities for children, families and young people. This project conducted a pilot survey and developed a prototype open data resource that maps cultural engagement in schools across the city, enabling correlation with other open data sets, such as from the Office of National Statistics. 

Findings are made available as open data on the project website, which is currently undergoing final development for launch this Autumn. You can also watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel

Integrating intercultural cities through belonging in green spaces

Gehan Selim, Pam Birtill, Rebecca Brunk, Jill Dickinson 

Working with community partners and Leeds City Council, this project worked to build a policy toolkit supporting the use of green spaces to build intercultural spaces and belonging. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel, you can also read a post about this project on the Policy Leeds Medium blog

Sustainable development and participatory placemaking: understanding city spaces 

Joanne Hawkins 

This project explored what sustainable development means using placemaking. Placemaking engages with how connections are formed in relation to physical spaces, a sense of place, and the associated interventions for such places in local policy and development decisions.   

Engaging local residents and organisations across Leeds, Joanne gained insight into the spaces across Leeds that matter to residents. The findings will be used to produce a publicly accessible briefing, and an interactive map showcasing highlighted spaces and why they matter, helping Leeds City Council and others shape local cultural and spatial policy.   

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel

A participatory approach to enhanced surface water flood forecasting 

Cathryn Birch, Ben Maybee, Emma Cowan, Joe Holden 

This project builds on research developing an enhanced surface water flood forecasting tool for Yorkshire, in collaboration with the local flood response community.  

The work aimed to scale up the regional forecast system to cover the entire of England and Wales, allowing the forecasts to be incorporated into a Met Office UK summer testbed in 2023.  

The researchers are also building on the networks built with Yorkshire flood responders to pull together a national forum, which will engage and unite the national surface water flooding community. 

This work was supported through the Research England Participatory Research Fund. 

You can watch a presentation on this project on our YouTube channel.

Promoting inclusive Human Resource management practices for NHS ethnic minorities colleagues’ wellbeing

Lynda Song, Ahmed Mostafa, Aleksandra Irnazarow 

Working with experts from NHS trusts, Leeds City Council, Healthwatch Leeds and beyond, this project looked how innovative Human Resource Management practice can improve inclusivity in the healthcare services to increase the wellbeing of its minority ethnic staff and service users.

This has led to the development of a training intervention on cultural competence for middle managers working in the NHS, social care, and public health organizations, developed in collaboration with third sector organisation Healthwatch.  

This project build on previous research exploring human resource management practices to improve the wellbeing of healthcare workers from BAME backgrounds in the context of COVID-19.  

You can watch a presentation on this project on the Policy Leeds YouTube channel

Get in touch

For more information about how we’re working with strategic partners to create a research informed approach to policy, please email Juliet Jopson at policyleeds@leeds.ac.uk  

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