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New members for City Region Innovation Board to drive growth

The Liverpool City Region (LCR) Innovation Board has announced five new members, marking an important further step in its mission to maximise the commercialisation of the City Region’s world-leading assets.

First formed in 2012, and since 2015 led by Dr. Jon Hague - Vice President Operations and Open Innovation, Unilever Global R&D, the Board is responsible for driving the strategic development of the City Region’s ambitious, innovation agenda facilitated by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The new faces are from a diverse range of signature LCR-based companies and innovation-focused organisations:

  • Jonathan Brown, Managing Director, Energy, at Cammell Laird
  • Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency
  • Jeremy Stevens, Strategy and External Communications Director at Shop Direct
  • Clemens Wangerin, Managing Director at vTime.

These significant new appointments come immediately prior to the publication of the government-commissioned “LCR+” Science and Innovation Audit (SIA), which evidences world-leading strengths in combatting infection, chemistry and new materials, and high performance computing and artificial intelligence.

The aim of the Board has always been to translate knowledge and ideas into commercial activities, and to accelerate the growth and competitiveness of Liverpool City Region’s economy. This is within the wider devolution context and the election of the first ever Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, who has taken on lead responsibility himself for the innovation and digital agenda.

It is also against the backdrop of £2bn direct or indirect investment in innovation infrastructure recently completed or in the pipeline across the region, these include - £113million government UK funding for the Hartree Centre, £200million support from IBM linked to the deployment of its Watson artificial intelligence platform, the £64million Materials Innovation factory, £15million Sensor City incubator, and £335million new Royal Liverpool University Hospital - all in Knowledge Quarter Liverpool – plus Unilever’s new £24m Advanced Manufacturing Centre. 

Jonathan Brown, Managing Director, Energy, at Cammell Laird, said: “I am delighted to be joining the Innovation Board at such an exciting time with the formulation of UK Industrial Strategy, Brexit and the newly elected Metro Mayor. It’s a great opportunity to contribute to shaping the acceleration of economic growth throughout the city region and beyond.”

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, said: “The Innovation Agency works with small businesses, clinicians and academics in Liverpool City Region and beyond and every day we experience the inventive, entrepreneurial culture and passion to innovate to improve health care for residents. I am delighted to have a role in supporting and promoting the fantastic knowledge, skills and ambition within Liverpool City Region, particularly in the life sciences sector.”

Clemens Wangerin, Managing Director at vTime, said: “Throughout two decades spent working in the region, I have been involved in managing, creating and delivering world-class, innovative and pioneering products and services for game consoles, mobile devices, and new forms of computing like virtual and augmented reality. I'm looking forward to adding some of that experience into the considerable pool of talent and expertise already on the board and hope to help shape tangible future outcomes.”

Welcoming the new members, Chair Dr Jon Hague said: “Liverpool City Region has an excellent record in research and innovation with potential to improve further. By strengthening the board and bringing in more private sector involvement this will accelerate our aim to commercialise the region’s scientific, industrial and innovation assets and maximise economic growth.”