We engage and develop relationships with regional bodies, NHS, local MPs, councillors and other partners to build evidence to support policymaking

We believe transformative change needs to be evidence-based. We engage with the public and our civic partners so we can ensure policymaking is driven by both lived experience and analysis of data to identify which policy levers can be used to make a positive impact.

We regularly host politicians and policymakers from across Birmingham, the West Midlands and further, to share our work and to understand and horizon-scan for policymaking needs, challenges and opportunities.

Through our research, experience and ambitions across our colleges, we provide strong and innovative thought-leadership across the region, and across a range of elected and non-elected policymakers and policy organisations and mechanisms.

Our mission is to make enterprise and diversity everyone's business

Prof Monder Ram, Director & Professor of Small Business, CREME, Aston Business School

How is Aston University helping logistics be more sustainable?

Prof Ed Sweeney, Head of Department of Engineering Systems & Supply Chain Management

How Aston University is helping us reach net zero

Patricia Thornley, Director, Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute

Work to support a government department in understanding Germany

Dr Ed Turner, Reader in Politics, Seconded to the Foreign Office 2018 to 2020

How Aston University is tackling fussy eating in children

Prof Claire Farrow, Director of the Applied Health Research Group

Working with political representatives

region society campus

Campus Visits

We regularly welcome elected and non-elected political and policy representatives to campus. These include from Government, Shadow Cabinet, Parliament, West Midlands Combined Authority, local authorities such as Birmingham City Council, and other local, regional and national mechanisms, individuals and organisations who drive transformational policy change.

Among many ministerial visits, including now Prime Minster Rt. Hon Rishi Sunak, who helped launch our Help to Grow Programme, we welcomed Greg Clarke MP, as Chair of the Science and Tech select committee, and Universities Minister Michelle Donelan MP to discuss maintaining providing a good university experience for students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon Gillian Keegan MP visited campus, and described being ‘blown away by the cutting-edge training and apprenticeships’ at Aston University. Shadow Secretary of State for Education Bridget Phillipson MP also visited campus, enabling us to have a detailed discussion around education policy priorities.

region society vc

Regional Representatives

We work with all levels of Government, and local and regional authorities play a big role in our work: from devolved funding and project bids and allocations; to collaborative, everyday working and information-sharing.

We have regular check-ins with the West Midlands Combined Authority, providing a two-way opportunity for information-sharing to ensure the CA and Aston University, as well as other universities, work together to achieve the best outcomes for our students and local communities.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street works with us in numerous ways, including: having officially opened our CRÈME (Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship) conference, working with us to support major transformational and regeneration projects such as the Birmingham Innovation Quarter, and supporting the implementation of our policy reports, such as our Time to Change report.


Local and City Representatives

We work closely with Birmingham City Council, as well as other local authorities across the West Midlands, to ensure transformational change impacts those across the city and region. We work with Birmingham City Council both individually and through networks such as the Birmingham Anchor Network.

We worked closely with now Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr John Cotton on key issues including our work as a University of Sanctuary and Birmingham Anchor Network. We continue to work closely with members across the Birmingham City Council Cabinet, and work closely with our local councillor, Cllr Lee Marsham, on issues such as local transformation and clean air.

help to grow

National and Parliamentary Representatives

National UK policy impacts our students, university, city and communities, and we place high importance on feeding into national policymaking and working with national representatives to advocate for inclusive and effective legislation for higher education and our students within. 

We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the importance of our Help to Grow programme with now Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, and update our local Member of Parliament Shabana Mahmood MP on Aston’s transformational plans as part of our 2030 strategy. We were delighted to have Aston Honorary Graduate Paulette Hamilton MP officially open our new £1.5million healthcare simulation suite at Aston Medical School, particularly as Paulette is both a local Member of Parliament, and a former nurse of 25 years. 

Information for policymakers

Digital skills offer

How Aston University’s skills development, research and facilities are contributing to the emerging digital economy and digital society.

Building a greener future

Aston University’s impact of sustainability research and business support on society. 

Policy Projects


Chief Project EU

Chief Project EU aimed to build effective dialogue between policymakers, young people, education practitioners, civil society activists and community leaders to facilitate a future Europe based on inclusive notions of cultural heritage and cultural identity.


Black New Street

Black New Street successfully gained sponsorship from the Economic and Social Research Council to highlight key challenges and opportunities for black business owners in Birmingham, focusing on the legacy of those business owners. Presented by Punch Records and CRÈME (Centre for Research into Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship), watch the video.



Dr Lowe worked with the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication (CRRC) at BPAS (a major provider of abortion care). This work resulted in the development of ‘bufferzones’ to protect women.


Financial Wellbeing Partnership

The Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing worked in collaboration with local authorities to create a collaborative approach to engage service providers and explore the financial impact of harmful gambling. This work resulted in the creation of a 'Financial Wellbeing Partnership'.

child feeding

Child Feeding Guide

Our psychologists have undertaken extensive research and work in the area of child feeding. Claire Farrow, Professor of children’s eating behaviour and Director of the Applied Health Research Group at Aston University, worked in collaboration with Loughborough University. The outcome of this collaboration was the Child Feeding Guide, which was the first evidence-based resource for parents and healthcare workers to manage and respond poor nutrition and fussy eating in children and influenced policy guidelines across four continents.


Aston Institute of Forensic Linguistics

We share our expertise with public sector professionals to improve policy and practice through Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The Aston Institute of Forensic Linguistics provided opportunities for training, development and awareness around the use of forensic linguistics in online child sexual abuse investigations.


Expert Panel on Transport Studies

We were proud to host the ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Transport Studies’, which both celebrated Aston University’s contribution to transport put transport back into the spotlight with current policy challenges and opportunities through its expert panel.


Policy Support Fund

The Policy Support Fund (PSF), aims to support research activity to facilitate and empower evidence-based policymaking. Aston University academics undertake research with a wide range of policy and political structures and organisations, from local government to central government and parliament, from working with the justice system to health and education bodies.

Previous projects have included:

  • Developing policy recommendations for improving children’s diets in Birmingham by introducing new foods to children in group settings
  • Local Food Security and International Understanding
  • Financial Wellbeing of Older Migrants in Birmingham
  • Community Engagement on Local Authority Sustainability Initiatives
  • Birmingham Live Music Project Stage 2: Local Live Music Ecologies in the UK Post-Pandemic

This year’s policy support fund is now closed. Find out further information.