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Meet the team

Kevin Richardson, Local Growth Consultant

Kevin joined HEFCE as Local Growth Consultant in April 2014. He acts as the key adviser on policy and strategy relating to all local growth issues. Well known across the sector, he supports HEIs as anchor institutions to make their optimal contribution to local growth.

Kevin is responsible for the liaison with relevant departments of central government and national agencies. Previously, as secondee to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Kevin represented the interests of local partners across England within the cross-departmental team, developing the current programme period for ESIF. Kevin was the lead author of the national strategy for Smart Specialisation in England.

Kevin is a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University in the school of Geography, Politics and Sociology. Previous to his position at BIS, Kevin managed the Central Policy Unit at Newcastle City Council for more than ten years. He began his working life as an underground coal miner.

Contact Kevin at k.richardson@hefce.ac.uk

Michael Wood, Deputy Local Growth Consultant

Michael works on the local growth agenda across both the university and health sectors in England. He started with HEFCE as Deputy Local Growth Consultant in January 2017 on a part-time basis, with his other role being NHS Local Growth Advisor for the NHS Confederation.

Prior to this he was Senior European Policy Manager at the NHS European Office for more than seven years, influencing EU legislation and helping NHS organisations to access EU funding and to embed innovative service delivery models from abroad. He has also worked for the Deputy Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and for a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Michael helps the university and health sectors influence strategic local economic planning, including the development of institutional place-based strategies and relationships with external partners such as government departments, local and combined authorities, funders and local enterprise partnerships.

Michael has a BA (hons) in politics with economics from Loughborough University.

Contact Michael at m.wood@hefce.ac.uk or at @NHSLocalGrowth

Dr Peter O’Brien, Deputy Local Growth Consultant 

Dr Peter O'Brien is Deputy Local Growth Consultant. In addition to his HEFCE role, Peter is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University, where he is a member of the ESRC/EPSRC-funded iBUILD infrastructure programme. His recent research on the governance and funding and financing of urban infrastructure has drawn upon empirical analysis of City Deals, Devolution Deals, Northern Powerhouse, global city-regions and the management and strategic use of public land and property assets. 

Peter has also been a practitioner in local and regional government, having been Director of Tyne and Wear City Region, Interim Head of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Secretariat and Assistant Chief Executive of the North East Assembly. He brings significant experience and expertise in the local growth agenda, having worked closely with and alongside national, regional and local government institutions, business, trade unions and voluntary and community sectors in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. 

Contact Peter at p.obrien@hefce.ac.uk

Page last updated 14 June 2017