Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: strategic coordination hub for Local Policy Innovation Partnerships

Apply for funding to establish a strategic coordination hub (SCH) for Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIP).

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding.

The strategic coordination hub will work with the LPIP to:

  • convene stakeholders across the research and policy ecosystem
  • draw together understanding of local challenges
  • act as a front door to national policy stakeholders
  • support engagement across the network
  • assess the transferability of their findings across the network and beyond, including support through a commissioning fund.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £3.6 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for 44 months.

The LPIPs will be commissioned through a two-phase competitive process, alongside this SCH opportunity. The full LPIP programme will make up to £20 million available over four years.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The funding opportunity will open in October 2022. More information will be available on this page by then.

Who can apply

This opportunity is led by ESRC in partnership with AHRC and Innovate UK. It is open to interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral collaborative teams with expertise in any disciplines supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Principal investigators must be based at an institution eligible for UKRI funding.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

Teams may involve multiple institutions. The lead organisation will be responsible for submitting the grant application.

Co-investigators from government and local government, third sector and non-profit organisations and business are eligible for this opportunity.

Collaborations beyond academia are required for this opportunity.

What we're looking for

LPIP programme will fund a network of interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral partnerships to address social, community, economic and environmental priorities.

The strategic coordination hub will convene across the research and policy ecosystem to help connect LPIPs to the research, expertise and evidence needed to inform effective responses to local priorities.

Building on existing research capability and infrastructure, it will act as an intermediary, learning about the local context and challenges faced in each partnership’s area. It will support the dissemination and translation of learning and evidence across and beyond the network of LPIPs, supporting access to data and communicating outcomes to policymakers and practitioners at local, regional and national level.

Objectives

The network will support the following programme objectives:

  • connecting and catalysing: strengthening partnerships and collaborations between researchers, policymakers and other relevant local stakeholders, attracting resource and capability for research and innovation, knowledge exchange and skills to address local policy challenges
  • local insight and understanding: identifying and understanding the opportunities and challenges in different places and their relationship to the national context
  • solutions focused: working with stakeholders to implement evidence informed actionable solutions that reflect local opportunities and challenges, and supporting local leaders to test and trial innovative interventions to drive inclusive and sustainable growth.

Outcomes

Together, the LPIPs and strategic coordination hub will support the following outcomes:

  • a ‘what works here’ approach to local policy priorities, supporting areas with:
    • economic growth
    • levelling up
    • net zero
    • innovation
    • skills
    • societal resilience
  • enhanced local research and innovation advice providing a single front-door for local expertise and advice in partnership areas, streamlining access to local public policy research and innovation capability
  • supporting local action through contributing to local implementation, testing and evaluation of evidence-informed policy change
  • improving UK and national policymakers’ understanding of local challenges and opportunities through improved access to stakeholders, local evidence and insights into ‘what works here’
  • creating stronger and more diverse partnerships by investing in the capability and capacity required for multi-partner collaboration, bringing the right stakeholders together at the right time to progress local priorities
  • empowering local communities and enriching knowledge exchange practices by ensuring people and grassroots groups are engaged, listened to and able to influence local agendas.

Each partnership will bring together local stakeholders from a range of sectors and disciplines to address a selection of key local agendas which contribute to inclusive sustainable local growth, including:

  • inclusive and sustainable local economic performance
  • living and working sustainably in a greener economy
  • innovation
  • skills
  • communities in their places
  • felt experiences and pride in place
  • cultural recovery.

Priorities will be defined through high quality, meaningful stakeholder and community engagement. They will consider how these agendas intersect, bringing a holistic approach to the challenges faced.

Each LPIP will design its own agenda and work programme and devise an appropriate approach and methods, including novel approaches to public and community engagement.

Functions

The strategic coordination hub will undertake the following functions and activities across three interrelated strands of activity.

Connecting across the policy and research ecosystem

This includes:

National policy engagement

This includes:

  • facilitating engagement with national government, acting as the front-door to the network, and facilitating national policy stakeholders to access local policy intelligence, evidence and experts in LPIP areas
  • supporting policymakers at a UK and national level to engage with the work of the LPIPs, and help them understand local conditions and possible solutions to local challenges (especially those that require UK or national input)
  • facilitating translation of national policy agendas to local level priorities. For example:
    • boosting productivity and growth
    • moving to net zero
    • improving educational outcomes and adult skills
    • increasing pride in place.

‘What works’ learning agenda

This includes:

  • facilitating the dissemination of learning which can be applied in different contexts, realising value beyond the network
  • supporting LPIPs to navigate the process of accessing administrative data and linked datasets through secure research environments
  • supporting LPIPs to understand and judge evidence quality and transferability, and support partnership efforts to address local barriers to the use of evidence in policy and practice
  • leading on learning of what works in co-creation, co-development and knowledge mobilisation in a local policy context, sharing best practice across the network
  • supporting LPIPs to develop evaluative frameworks that will support the network.

The hub will additionally provide thought leadership to funders, advising on ‘what’s next’ around models of local policy innovation informed by their learning from the programme.

The hub will manage a competitive, flexible funding pot which it will use to support activity that focuses on transferability of findings to other contexts across and beyond the network, to generate wider benefits beyond individual LPIP areas.

Priorities will be identified in collaboration with the network, and LPIPs will be eligible to apply individually or as consortia. Examples of activity include, but are not limited to:

  • workshops
  • evidence development
  • testing the transferability of findings in new areas including partnering with organisations outside the LPIP’s network.

The pot will be ringfenced within the main strategic coordination hub award and its size will be determined by applicants. Proposals must outline how the flexible pot will be operationalised and governed. Funds for the flexible programme should be included in the total cost of the proposal at a maximum of 30% of the total value of the grant.

Projects funded from the flexible pot must undergo a competitive process, following the principles of peer review, and comply with full economic cost rules applied to the strategic coordination hub grant.

ESRC should be consulted throughout the funds commissioning process to ensure best practice is followed.

Projects funded are expected to engage with the wider programme of activities and report their progress and outcomes to the grant holder for reporting purposes.

The hub model and structure should allow for scaling of capacity to be able to manage additional activities including ringfenced funding pots and people exchange opportunities.

Phase one

It is expected that the strategic coordination hub will work in the following ways in phase one (April to October 2023):

  • establish the foundations of the leadership team and operational model and governance to allow the strategic coordination hub to scale up for full operations in phase two
  • work with the LPIP seed corn awards to support the development of high quality applications to phase two
  • work with the seed corn LPIP projects to refine the strategic coordination hub model.

Phase two

In phase two, a minimum of three full stage LPIP awards will be made to the strongest partnerships with potential to deliver insights and solutions tailored to local policy agendas.

The strategic coordination hub will be fully operational by November 2023, with the full leadership team recruited, to deliver all specified functions.

Requirements

Applications to this funding opportunity must articulate a clear approach to each of the following:

Stakeholder collaboration

You must include clear and deliverable stakeholder engagement plans that will enable the team to deliver key functions of the strategic coordination hub. The team will be expected to have clear mechanisms in place for gathering and disseminating intelligence and learning across:

  • LPIPs
  • UK and devolved governments
  • relevant organisations from the public, third and private sectors
  • existing UKRI and government investments and programmes.

Roles for each partner organisation within the team must be clearly defined, with a clear rationale for how each will add value to the team. Applications must show how the balance of stakeholders will support the required functions of the strategic coordination hub.

You must:

  • demonstrate an awareness of the place of the strategic coordination hub in the current landscape of UKRI infrastructure
  • show how they will develop high quality communication plans for engaging with existing UKRI investments in order to ensure the LPIPs network adds value and builds on existing capability.

You must demonstrate an approach to working with LPIPs in phase one to refine the delivery model in light of stakeholder needs. Applications must have built-in capacity for this engagement, and for supporting development of LPIP phase two applications.

Work plan

You should include a work plan with clear milestones. Planned activities and outputs must be clearly defined and reflect awareness of stakeholders needs. Activities must align to the key functions of the strategic coordination hub.

You must specify the size of the flexible, competitive funding pot (up to 30% of the total value of the grant). The application must set out a clear approach to managing the fund in line with principles of transparent and responsible use of public funds.

Leadership, management and governance

The successful grant will be led by a strong leadership team who can articulate a clear vision and strategic objectives for the LPIPs network. They will have demonstrable experience of working with a range of partners to support the application of knowledge to policy making and be able to convene relevant actors from across landscape to leverage expertise.

The proposal must identify a core team who will lead the strategic coordination hub from phase one which can be expanded as required. The phase one team must include a non-academic co-investigator. The full strategic coordination hub team must be in place for phase two and the application should demonstrate options for how applicants will build this team.

Proposals must identify a principal investigator who will lead the team. We encourage applicants to include appropriate non-academic organisations, for example:

  • government
  • public sector
  • third sector
  • a locally focused policy body, within the leadership team.

The proposal should explain clearly the division of roles between the principal investigator and the rest of the leadership team.

The principal investigator must contribute a significant proportion of their time to the overall leadership and coordination of the grant.

The proposal must specify a delivery model for the strategic coordination hub, detailing how the structure will enable the delivery of strategic coordination hub’s core functions. Equity across the different functions and effective leadership of evidence and in-practice learning from across the interdisciplinary areas of society, economy and environment are essential considerations.

There must also be a clear approach to engaging the different regions and devolved nations within the network. UKRI strongly encourages a collaborative model. This could involve identifying and working with locally placed partners in research organisations or stakeholder organisations who will support the transfer of evidence.

You may consider a model with staff based in one location but dedicated to different areas, a devolved approach, or a hybrid model.

The proposal should also specify a management structure for the hub, detailing how the project will be managed day to day, and how hub management will be resourced, with appropriate expertise.

Proposals should identify how their management arrangements will dovetail with the network’s governance structures ensuring effective strategic and operational oversight on a day-to-day basis.

Interdisciplinarity and expertise

The full strategic coordination hub leadership team must demonstrate breadth of expertise required to engage across the range of thematic areas in scope for the network:

  • inclusive and sustainable local economic performance
  • living and working sustainably in a greener economy
  • innovation
  • skills
  • communities in their places
  • felt experiences and pride in place
  • cultural recovery.

You may identify alternative approaches to bring in and utilise additional expertise in an on-demand basis through advisory structures or associate networks.

In addition to broad domain expertise, the director and leadership team will have significant expertise in knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilisation as required to generate and disseminate learning across all thematic areas.

The strategic coordination hub will have flexibility to recruit further experts to the team once LPIP priority areas of focus are defined and geographic coverage of LPIP awards is known.

Responsible innovation

Responsible innovation is an integral part of our vision and we expect applicants to consider the benefits, but also the potential negative impacts from their activities. Further information can be found on the UKRI good research hub.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £3.6 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

The LPIP programme will be delivered in two phases. At phase one, a maximum of £500,000 is available to support up to 10 seed-corn awards of a maximum of £50,000 at 100% full economic cost. Each award can have a duration of five months, during which time they will each develop proposals to the full stage opportunity.

Bidders are encouraged to bid for the level of award appropriate to support their team to develop a proposal for a three year, phase two award.

The purpose of this first phase is to resource and support capacity across stakeholders to undertake the partnership development and landscape and evidence analysis required to design the phase two work programme.

Duration

Funding is available for 44 months, beginning in April 2023.

How to apply

There will be a mandatory intention to submit for this opportunity. Full details will be available when the full opportunity is published.

Applications must be made through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Your host organisation must be registered for Je-S, and you must hold a Je-S account.

For more information, please contact your organisation’s research office for further guidance.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed by peer review.

You will have the opportunity to respond to peer review comments.

Shortlisted applicants will be assessed by interview panel in March 2023.

Further details of application requirements and the assessment process will be available when the full opportunity is published.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

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Email: lpips@ukri.org

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