Boost for Liverpool City Region science and industry
Liverpool City Region has successfully bid to be in the next wave of Science and Innovation Audits aimed at boosting economic growth in the knowledge sector.
The Government’s announcement is a shot in the arm for the sector, which includes the Knowledge Quarter and Paddington Village in Liverpool and one of the UK’s leading science and innovation campuses at Sci-Tech Daresbury.
Liverpool City Council will be working with project delivery partners at the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the University of Liverpool and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury to exploit synergies and identify collaborations, investments and interventions to strengthen and attract businesses. Liverpool JMU will also be involved.
The comprehensive mapping exercise will be focused on making the most of three “smart specialisation” areas of expertise which have the potential to create hi-tech jobs and new, internationally significant clusters:
- Materials chemistry – including closer collaboration between Unilever’s global research and development facilities and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) hub in Port Sunlight, the University of Liverpool’s top-rated Chemistry Department, and the Materials Innovation Factory – a partnership between the two
- Infection – achieving new intellectual property, spin outs and business growth from the work of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool Health Partners, the University of Liverpool and the pharmaceutical firm Seqirus i tackling infectious diseases
- High performance computing – utilising the supercomputer and expertise at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre Daresbury (in partnership with IBM and its “Watson” platform, plus Tech North to drive cross sector innovation and business growth
Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Joe Anderson, said: “Liverpool City Region has a first class track record in the fields of research and innovation and we have the potential to be a world-leader.
“Our universities are carrying out ground-breaking research and educating tomorrow’s workforce, while some of our businesses are global leaders in the pharmaceutical and household goods sectors.
“The Audit will enable us to look at how we can link up different sectors so they work together to make the most of their expertise and make the maximum impact from bids for investment.
“A good example is Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, which provides us with a huge opportunity to attract hi-tech businesses which can cluster around the pioneering work being done in the hospitals, universities and science labs.”
Asif Hamid, Interim Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP said: “This is fantastic news for the City Region. The Science and Innovation Audit will provide a coherent picture of the local innovation strengths and assets and highlight the important contribution that science and research excellence can make to an effective Industrial Strategy and contribute to the ongoing development of the Northern Powerhouse.”
Welcoming the announcement, Dr.Jon Hague, Chair of the LEP Innovation Board and Vice President Operations and Open Innovation for Unilever Global R&D, said: “The LCR+ Audit will accelerate the Innovation Board’s work to commercialise the City Region’s distinctive scientific, industrial and innovation assets and capabilities, and maximize cluster development and economic growth in areas where we have genuinely world-leading potential, notably Materials Chemistry, Infectious Diseases, plus High Performance Computing and Cognitive Computing.
“What makes this particularly exciting is both the level of direct private sector involvement in the process, e.g. by Unilever, IBM and Seqiris, plus what the close collaboration with leading bodies across the North and beyond, such as the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) Catapult, could lead to.”
The audit is expected to begin in the new year and be completed by spring 2017