IPPR North announces new director to lead the organisation

The leading think tank for the north of England has announced its successor to lead IPPR North moving forward.

Sarah Longlands has been announced as the new director of IPPR North following her time in the organisation as a senior research fellow. Described as an expert in regional and local economic development, Longlands has previously led on work including a ‘Great North Plan’ a ‘Natural Assets Strategy for the North’ and collaboration with the People’s Powerhouse movement.

Prior to joining IPPR in 2016, she worked as a director of Policy at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), based in Manchester. Longlands will be the first woman to lead the organisation.

Commenting on the appointment, director of IPPR, Tom Kibasi said: “I am delighted to announce that Sarah has agreed to take on this important leadership role. Her commitment to strengthening the economy, institutions and civil society of the north of England, and to ensuring a broader range of voices is heard in the debate about how to achieve this, make her the ideal person to lead IPPR North.”

Longlands said she was “delighted” and “honoured” to be taking up the role.

She added: “I am looking forward to working with the team to build upon the strong foundations that have been established under Ed’s fantastic leadership over the last eight and a half years. The need for organisations like IPPR North is more urgent than ever and I am particularly keen that it speaks on behalf of the people and places that have so far been left out of the Northern Powerhouse debate.”

She takes over from Ed Cox, who leaves after nearly nine years as director. Speaking to Infrastructure Intelligence last week, Cox said he was taking up his new role with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce to ensure its creativity and thinking can be applied across the north in order to drive more radical change that he believed was so desperately needed. He has praised his successor and believes the appointment ensures IPPR North remains in safe hands.

He added: “Sarah is exactly the new director IPPR North needs and deserves. As one of a growing number of women who are reframing the Northern Powerhouse debate, her skills and experience bridge from the classic fields of local economic development and planning through to democratic engagement and the importance of putting people first. The future of progressive policy-making in the North’s leading think-tank is in very safe hands.”

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