Working in partnership with Leeds City Council: connecting research and policy for the benefit of the city

A new review from the Leeds Social Sciences Institute analysed the collaborative work between the University and Leeds City Council (LCC). Historically, the university and LCC have worked closely together to conduct research that informs and supports the work of the council, benefiting the city and its citizens.

The new report ‘Unlocking the Potential of Civic Collaboration’ investigated University and Council employees’ experiences of the partnerships, the benefits they bring, and the factors that had been successful in aiding the collaboration between both organisations.

The review highlighted the extensive positive impacts of these collaborative partnerships, Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, said “We want to continue developing this collaborative relationship further to ensure that the skills, knowledge and experience in both organisations can be used for mutual benefit and to help the city”.

The review identified over 100 collaborative research projects that have taken place since 2015. We are delighted that our Leeds4Trees partnership between LEAF and LCC was highlighted in the review. The interdisciplinary team that makes up LEAF have been working closely with Leeds City Council, and colleagues from the United Bank of Carbon, to enhance our understanding of the role of street trees, and trees in and outside of woodlands.

Our Leeds4Trees project includes  a tree canopy cover assessment of Leeds, the Leeds Forest Observatory, our i-Tree study of the University of Leeds campus trees, an exploration of natural capital valuation in Middleton, and our ongoing work to inform LCC policy on woodland creation and replacement rates for trees that are removed. We are really pleased to have been able to support LCC in developing their response to the climate emergency and excited to see their aspiration to double tree canopy cover across the city by 2050.


LEAF’s partnership with LCC is extremely valuable to the work we carry out. By collaborating with our colleagues at the Council we can design our research to maximise real-world impact and understand how our research will be interpreted and utilised.  We look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership with Leeds City Council to ensure that knowledge and skills are exchanged between our organisations and disciplines.