Dr Peter O’Brien profile page

Dr Peter O’Brien

Dr Peter O’Brien is the Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities (YU). YU is the regional partnership of 12 universities and higher education institutions based in Yorkshire and the Humber. He represents YU on a range of local, regional and national bodies and committees. Prior to joining YU, Peter was Deputy Local Growth Consultant at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), working on the innovative Local Growth Academy and Leading Places Programmes, which contributed significantly to the concept and practice of the ‘Civic University’ in the UK. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University, where, between 2013 and 2018, he was a Senior Research Associate, with a specific research interest and expertise in local and regional governance and development. At CURDS, he was a member of the ESRC and EPSRC-funded iBUILD Infrastructure Centre, alongside the University of Birmingham and University of Leeds, and he published widely his findings from research on the funding, financing and governance of urban infrastructure.

Peter has also worked as a practitioner and senior policymaker in local and regional development in the north of England, and has held senior executive positions with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Tyne and Wear City Region and the North East Regional Assembly. He is a Commissioner on the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission – the largest regional commission of its kind in the country – and a Trustee on the Board of the University of Sunderland Students Union. Peter began his career as a Policy Officer at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and he worked extensively with trades unions and civil society organisations within and across Central and Eastern European between 1996 and 1999.