As part of the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s (NTCA) knowledge exchange activities, we are piloting an Area of Research Interest (ARI). The aim of the ARI is to connect policymakers, public management and service professionals with researchers, and to support the use of research evidence by NTCA. These connections will help broaden, deepen, and diversify the research evidence available for use in policy and practice.


NTCA is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland and a directly elected Metro Mayor. Devolution gives us the chance to make our own decisions about our own future so we can target investment where we know we need it most. We want to make the strong connection between economic growth and providing people with the skills, education and confidence to benefit from the opportunities that will follow. 

Our work spans many areas, including: 

  • Jobs innovation and growth 
  • Clean energy and connectivity 
  • Education, inclusion and skills 
  • Social economy and communities 
  • Housing, land and development 
  • Culture, creative and rural 
  • Investment and resources 

Our vision is of a dynamic and more inclusive economy, one that brings together people and opportunities to create vibrant communities and a high quality of life, narrowing inequalities and ensuring that all residents have a stake in our region’s future. 

We are serious about co-production and co-design and have started work to make sure people can share their real-life experiences to help build better policies and programmes. Our work in this area to date includes: 

  • Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change providing opportunities sharing ideas, deliberating on key issues and coming up with a set of recommendations 
  • Poverty Truth Commission bringing together people with experience of living in poverty with civic and business representatives to get a deeper understanding of some of the challenges and to come up with practical solutions 
  • Equalities Assembly listening to people talking about the barriers they face to accessing good work and supporting them to work alongside local employers to bring about real change 
  • Crowdfund North of Tyne supporting local people to create and fund projects which celebrate and improve our local area 
  • A Wellbeing Framework co-designed with 2,000 residents and organisations setting out the building blocks for a better and more inclusive economy focused on growing everyone’s wellbeing. 

At the heart of this approach is a commitment for the Combined Authority to involve citizens as active participants in the decisions, plans, initiatives and services that shape our places. Our approach to sharing power with citizens and community groups recognises that they are often best placed to identify and respond to the challenges they face.  Taking a citizen engagement and connected communities approach offers a preventative methodology to addressing some of the most pressing social, economic, environmental and democratic challenges in the North East. 

Purpose of the ARI 

We’re keen to develop a strong evidence base around the role of citizen engagement and connected communities in helping us achieve our ambition of a dynamic and more inclusive economy.

A strong evidence-base is essential for developing effective policy. It helps us understand where interventions are needed, what these interventions might be, and whether they are working. A good evidence-base also helps us articulate the need for change to politicians, the public and other partners. We are continually looking for new ways to access, enhance and generate evidence to answer our policy questions. We recognise that the academic community is a powerhouse of research, providing a rich source of evidence that can be translated into real-world impact for our people, places and productivity. 

Ways you can get involved 

We would like to invite you to contribute to our ARI (you can do this in a variety of ways) please use this registration form to add your details and we’ll be in touch.