Published on 15 April 2019
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Why knowledge belongs everywhere – Dr Eric Lybeck wins 2019 Bennett Prospect Prize

The 2018/19 Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize has been won by Dr Eric Lybeck, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester.

The £10,000 prize for early career policy analysts and professionals seeks to answer a critical public policy question. This year it was: “What kinds of policies will enable left behind places to catch-up?”

Many of the entries highlighted the problem of disconnection between the booming economies of cities, which benefit from effects of new technologies and a highly skilled workforce, and those of left behind areas, which increasingly see a ‘brain-drain’ as skilled workers migrate away to more desirable areas. This creates a circular problem: as investment and people increasingly leave, the worse the issue becomes.

Dr Lybeck’s entry advocated for plans to promote growth in the knowledge economy in left behind places. 

He proposes creating new ‘knowledge’ hubs in left behind places through CRAFT houses, incentivising a broad range different professionals and artists to migrate to these areas, whereby creating areas of connection to the city economies. 

CRAFT acronym was co-developed in workshops that took place in Exeter, Devon in 2018, involving civic sociologists, city council officials, architects, tech entrepreneurs, financiers, philanthropists, artists and more. The term stands for the range of vocations to start with: C – Communications and Law, R – Research and Teaching, A – Art and Architecture, F – Finance and Trade, T – Tech and Sustainable Engineering.

You can read his article in Prospect online.

Professor Michael Kenny, Director of the Bennett Institute commented:  “The question of how to re-invigorate local economies and services is key to addressing a wide number of policy issues – from local health and education, to democratic disruption as the people in these areas make their voices heard worldwide. We were delighted to see so many proposals from early career policy professionals addressing these questions with practicable solutions. We look forward to sharing Dr Lybeck’s proposal with the public policy community in the UK.”   


Moving the Knowledge Economy: Establishing a CRAFT House Network 
Eric Lybeck (University of Manchester) 

2018/19 runners up:

The case for a place-driven approach 
Elena Bagnera (Centre for Public Impact)

Regionally Adjusted Domestic Product – A New Statistic for Seeing the Shape of the Economy 
Edward Pemberton (University of Sheffield)

Local missions: place-based, strategic finance supporting a peripheral UK 
Connor Mckenzie (MillionPlus)

The rationale for and design of the Place Premium 
Jamie Thunder (WPI Economics)  

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s).

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