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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

New Director announced to lead IPPR North

Sarah Longlands has been appointed Director of the leading think-tank for the North of England.

An expert in regional and local economic development, Sarah has worked at IPPR North as a Senior Research Fellow, taking the lead on ground-breaking 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 2016, Sarah worked as a Director of Policy at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), based in Manchester. She takes over from Ed Cox, who has led IPPR North since 2009.

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.”

Incoming Director of IPPR North, Sarah Longlands said:

“I am delighted and honoured to be taking up the position of Director of IPPR North. 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.”

Outgoing Director of IPPR North, Ed Cox said:

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.”



For further details or to arrange to interview Sarah Longlands, please contact IPPR North and Scotland Media and Campaigns Manager Rosie Corrigan on 07585 772633 / [email protected].


Sarah’s policy expertise is in local economic development, place resilience and land use planning. She believes passionately in the role of local government, having started her career in Durham and North Yorkshire. 

She holds a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow where she examined the dominant influence of the economic growth narrative on the work of planning authorities in the UK and particularly how it alters attitudes to people and place.  

At IPPR North, she has led its work on small and medium sized cities and towns, participative democracy and civil society.

Ed Cox is leaving to take up a new role at the RSA.

About IPPR North

IPPR North is the leading think-tank for the north of England, developing bold ideas for a stronger economy and great public services to really take back control in the North. For more information, visit