What now for the North?

Lord Mandelson Launches Manchester Metropolitan University think tank

In the age of Brexit, Devolution, and the Northern Powerhouse – the need for evidence-based policy has never been greater.

29 March 2017 – Lord Mandelson, Chancellor for Manchester Metropolitan University has launched MetroPolis, the University’s own policy think tank.

Announcing a series of Chancellor’s Fellowships with partner organisations and a continuing programme of events and training courses, Lord Mandelson said: “The University has outstanding research in many areas that are relevant to public policy. MetroPolis and the fellowships will underpin improvements in the delivery of effective public services. I am very much looking forward to seeing the impact of these fellowships on policy development that will benefit the economy and society.”

Manchester Metropolitan University is part of the largest Higher Education campus in the UK with more than 200 researchers rated ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’.  MetroPolis will provide a platform for government, policy-influencers and local authorities to access the kind of research that will enable informed decision-making.

Professor Chris Fox, Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit and co-founder of  MetroPolis said: “Manchester Metropolitan has always celebrated the spirit of fresh thinking and a willingness to take risks.  It’s an institution that projects thoughtful solutions and ideas to confront wicked problems.”

The first issue of a bi-annual magazine was also launched, including features on the need for evidence in policy making, criminal justice reform, disability rights and strategies to develop Britain’s high streets. More about the MetroPolis magazine can be found here.

The event featured several of the MetroPolis team of academics, speaking about their research and it’s policy impact. As well as Lauren McNeill, PhD student here at Manchester Metropolitan University, who was recently awarded both the Gold award for Biological and Biomedical Sciences as well as the prestigious Westminster Medal from Stem for Britain.

Michael Taylor, co-founder of MetroPolis and External Affairs Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor, said: “For Manchester and the North, there is a very real danger that important economic and social challenges will not receive sufficient attention and care from a government rather consumed – and overwhelmed – with the challenge of delivering Brexit. Yet if anything, at a city regional level and in the frontline of public service delivery, there are real pockets of innovation and dynamism. Brexit may bring fears and concerns, but this shows how the North can be a vibrant and dynamic home for new policy ideas.”

Fellows will work within the offices of elected parliamentary members, policy organisations, major charities, public sector bodies and local and national government. The placements enable clear pathways to open up between research and policy impacts. There will be a number of Fellows placed over the next few years, focusing on a variety of research/policy areas.

The first of which are Dr Rob Ralphs, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and co-convenor of the interdisciplinary Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours (SUAB) research group at Manchester Metropolitan University. Rob will be working with Volteface, a think tank looking at alternatives to current drug policies.

Left to right: Dr Rebecca Askew, Dr Rob Ralphs, Paul Birch and George McBride

And Professor Heinz Tuselmann, Professor in International Business at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and the Director of the Centre for International Business and Innovation (CIBI). Heinz will spend the Fellowship period as Visiting Academic Expert at the Investment and Enterprise Division of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and as member of the UNCTAD team at the United Nations UNCTAD in Geneva.

Professor Heinz Tuselmann