Chapter 19: The City-Region Economic Development Institute - establishing a successful place-based research institute to support regions in turbulent times and beyond
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Research institutes with a strong applied and policy focus are a vital part of the evidence development landscape; they provide vital evidence for policymakers and bring academic rigour and long-term perspectives in a short-term world. However, the rapid pace of policy development at all levels of government - local, regional, national and international - generates demands and challenges for researchers based in academia. Finding an appropriate balance between research and policy is essential. Policy-focused research institutes can serve as effective impact pathways but take a significant investment in developing hybrid structures, strategic planning, and blended skill sets to deliver successfully. This chapter discusses how to establish, fund and grow a new research institute in academia. It advises those interested in developing an institute, looking at aspects of establishing the purpose, audience and client base; understanding the mechanisms of influence; key challenges and how to overcome them; and the importance of co-creation and collaborative approaches and the relationship with policy research experts. We give 'top tips' for those seeking to develop an institute and provide an example of establishing one from the perspective of City-REDI at the University of Birmingham.

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