In January 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper (‘the Strategy’), outlining the Government’s long-anticipated plan to revitalise British industry, rebalance the economy, boost growth and tackle the nation’s long-term productivity crisis, as the uncertain future presented by Brexit looms on the horizon.

At the Strategy’s core are 10 pillars upon which its ambitions are based. Whilst their successful delivery relies on the input of a host of different organisations across many sectors, higher education institutions (HEIs) have a particularly prominent role in many of them, highlighted by the fact that the very first pillar of the Strategy is ‘investing in science, research and innovation’. Indeed, in its official response to the launch of the Strategy, Universities UK stated that universities have a central role to play ‘across all the proposed pillars’, and HEIs receive significant focus in the Strategy itself.

But what role can universities play in making a success of the Strategy? What opportunities does it present for them, and how has the sector responded to the ambitions set out in the plan? Since the publication of the Green Paper, key stakeholders have been offering their feedback about its aims, objectives and approach via an extensive official consultation process. This paper considers these responses whilst exploring what the Industrial Strategy offers to universities and the wider sector.

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