For the 2021 local elections, CaSE has written to candidates in the regional mayoral elections, inviting them to embrace the opportunities offered by science and engineering.

The letters continue CaSE's project of work examining the impact of place-based regional investment on local economic growth, which includes the publishing of our Power of Place report. In this work we have seen the importance of local leadership from Mayors and the combined authorities they lead. Local leadership is critical in attracting and enabling R&D projects that lead to local economic growth and wider societal benefits. These projects create high skilled jobs and attract people to the region. 

CaSE has written to the candidates in eight regional mayoral elections; Cambridge and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, London, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and West Yorkshire. We've sent copies of the report to all devolved party leaders and mayoral candidates, and we hope this useful resource helps inform and develop their policies on science and engineering. CaSE has also written to the leaders of the political parties in Scotland and Wales.

Following the elections, we look forward to working with all regional mayors across the UK to ensure that every citizen reaps the rewards that science and engineering has to offer.

Letter to Mayoral Candidates

Dear Mayoral Candidate, 

Today, science and engineering are more crucial than ever, sitting at the heart of tackling fundamental challenges to our society, from recovering from COVID-19 to combatting climate change. We are the Campaign for Science and Engineering, CaSE, the leading independent advocacy group for UK science and engineering, and we are asking you to articulate your ambition for your mayoralty’s scientific future and the policies to achieve this in the run up to May’s election. 

By adopting policies to support research and innovation your region can reap the benefits of science and engineering; supporting the development of new markets, generating high-quality jobs, and distributing their societal benefits, to make your citizens better off, healthier and more secure.  

Last year we engaged our members, and representatives from across academia, industry and local government from areas across the UK. We used this to develop our Power of Place report, exploring how to maximise local economic impacts of R&D investment across the UK and setting out clear recommendations for action. We encourage you to use this in shaping your own policies. 

Our report shows that successful regions have often been driven by strong leadership from a small number of committed individuals. Building a strong regional science, research and innovation ecosystem requires multiple elements of local and national government support, including; 

  • developing an exciting regional brand, with local government identifying and championing existing regional R&D excellence, to attract the talent that underpins it, and the private investment that accelerates it.  

  • local leadership, which works with businesses, researchers, innovators and authorities to assess existing levers, identify barriers, and facilitate better support and collaboration mechanisms.  

  • local and national governments to work together, with civic leaders making the case for sustainable investment to create supporting infrastructure, which enables cutting-edge researchers and innovators to do what they do best.  

We hope this is a useful resource to shape your approach, and if elected, we would be delighted to work with you to inform and develop your science and engineering policies over the next mayoral term. 

Yours sincerely, 

Professor Sarah Main 
Executive Director  
Campaign for Science and Engineering