How Leeds Universities & Businesses Are Working Together to Drive Change

· Ali Turner · Education

Together, we can accomplish anything.

university of leeds

Leeds is blessed with top-notch universities and industry-leading businesses, but what happens when they put their heads together?

Collaboration is the key to innovation. By working together, we can solve problems that when faced in isolation, feel insurmountable. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Leeds. From launching degree apprenticeships to tackle the ever-growing digital skills gap, to strategic data partnerships that offer a unique insight into customer behaviour, find out how businesses and academics have joined forces to drive change.

Understanding customer shopping habits

Leeds Institute of Data Analytics

Credit: Simon & Simon Photography

Asda has teamed up with the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) to form a strategic data partnership that will help them understand and respond to customer shopping habits. Data scientists at LIDA will work in collaboration with Asda to complete world-class research that will inform food strategies on both a city-wide and national level. This is an ongoing commitment to a partnership that has helped the Leeds-based supermarket to understand how the weather impacts shopping habits and how the merchandising of plant-based products can affect customer diets.

“Bringing together research data and retail expertise from both of our organisations will allow us to explore the real world challenges our customers currently face,” James Morgan, Senior Director of Data Management and Information Strategy at Asda, explained. “By modelling environmental and social governance opportunities, we will have the ability to test new ideas and techniques ahead of establishing wider programmes to deliver even better outcomes for customers.”

Bringing new innovations to the operating theatre


Medasil Surgical Limited is a Leeds-based company that manufactures, imports and distributes single-use medical devices for the healthcare sector. They’ve teamed up with the marketing and management experts at Leeds Beckett University on a two-year Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP). The aim here is to set the business up for long-term growth, fuelling new product development and creating a sustainable business model. Together, they will work to up-skill staff and move towards a more agile, data-led approach that informs investment.

“The aim of the project is to create and embed a profitable and sustainable business model that will enable Medasil to innovate and grow,” Dr David Andrews, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Leeds Beckett and project leader of the mKTP, explained. “We will set up new market intelligence and decision-making frameworks to provide them with the necessary strategic insight and management capabilities to grow the business sustainably.”

Training the next generation to plug the skills gap

pwc degree apprentice ship

PwC has teamed up with the University of Leeds to offer a four-year BSc Computer Science: Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship. Not only will students get a traditional university education, with all the usual student experiences, but they’ll also work with the technology teams at PwC, putting their knowledge to the test on real world projects. Students receive a monthly salary from day one, their tuition fees are covered and they get extra benefits like private medical insurance. All 43 graduates from their first cohort went on to be hired by PwC.

“It is a fantastic privilege for PwC to work alongside the University of Leeds to develop the talent and skills that are so acutely needed,” Katherine Bond, Technology Degree Apprenticeships Lead at PwC, explained. “Supporting young people and developing skills in the region is one of our top priorities. We will continue to drive change in the tech sector, and support people from under-represented backgrounds to access the very best career opportunities.” 

Cover image credit: University of Leeds.