'Significant' sums could be ploughed into universities in Leeds and York

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to plough ‘significant’ investment into some of Yorkshire’s universities, amid doubts over the practicalities of a so-called ‘MIT for the North’.

Leeds had previously been named as a potential site for a celebrated new super-college to rival the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, boosting the region’s skills and economy.

But now, Westminster officials are instead said to be drawing up alternative plans under the direction of the Prime Minister’s most senior advisor Dominic Cummings.

Mr Cummings is said to be “very sceptical” of plans for a new super-college, believing it would make far more sense to increase funding for existing assets rather than create a rival institution which could take years to establish.

Among those touted to The Yorkshire Post as “incredible and world-leading” institutions which may benefit are the University of Leeds and the University of York, particularly in areas around science.

Officials are now set to draw up plans as to how to invest very much increased sums in these universities, as well as others in the North.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last month, Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry had suggested that a technological institute similar to MIT could be coming to Leeds.

The Government was in talks to set up a centre in the North to invent products destined for the global market, he had said, with Leeds as a suggested home.

“MIT in Boston is one of the world’s most dynamic universities and provides its region with a significant boost to its economy,” he told the newspaper.

“We want to set up a world-leading institution in the North to rival Oxford and Cambridge, where the best and brightest will base themselves to create new ideas and sell them.”