North West potential for innovation boom

Posted on 28 Mar 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

The North West Business Leadership Team’s (NWBLT) report, Exploiting the Excellence, reveals North West business stands to benefit from investment in research and development capacity available across the region.

The report highlights the area as a hub of potential in the fields of materials, energy and high performance computing, urging financial support for innovation in local business and an international marketing strategy to entice international business relocations and investment.

Juergen Maier, NWBLT Chair and MD of Siemens Industry UK, said: “What is clear is that as a region we have the infrastructure in place to be at the heart of an innovation boom. If this is to happen we need to leverage business investment and marry it with our great universities to ensure we can create growth through technology.

“We also need to marshal our resources as a region and market these strengths in critical markets globally. Our region has a strong history of innovation and real talent when it comes to research and development. Our call to action should be more focus, establishing more areas of world-class research – which in turn will result in more investment from international companies.

“The report notes a number of world class innovation strengths in the North West. Amongst these are Advanced Materials and High Performance Computing. The NWBLT will therefore be making a strong case for the £42m Alan Turing Institute for big data announced in last week’s Budget to be centred around the North West’s existing excellence in this area.

“Similarly, research activities around Graphene should be focused around the North West’s current world-class activities on Advanced Materials. By creating such eco-systems we have the best chance for the UK as a whole to lead the world in these areas and create an innovation revolution that maximises local jobs and wealth creation.”

The report also noted that businesses and local universities develop successfully through investing in core innovation infrastructure and the North West should firmly establish itself as a global centre of excellence.

The report will be published today at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, with keynote speeches from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, and Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The NWBLT companies, which employ more than 50,000 people in the region, collaborated with universities alongside local enterprise partnerships to highlight the region’s capability to be at the heart of what it is calling “an innovation revolution”.