University is a key partner in UK first project
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a key partner in one of the UK’s first Science and Innovation Audit sites.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson have selected Lancashire and the Sheffield City Region to work together to identify investment opportunities and enhance research innovation and infrastructure across Britain.
The Advanced Manufacturing Corridor (AM Corridor) was proposed by a consortium which represents key innovation partners in the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Sheffield City Region.
The pioneering consortia is one of five chosen for the first Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) which will test the potential for these areas to build and develop world-leading ideas, products and technologies which will create jobs, increase UK productivity and drive growth.
"This Science and Innovation Audit will enable us to identify further opportunities to help boost skills and innovation within Lancashire’s business base and respond to local productivity challenges."
Its focus will be on the globally relevant science and technology areas that underpin advanced manufacturing now within the AM Corridor and as it evolves in the future.
The audit will investigate how much science and innovation is being produced, how good it is, and most importantly, how its outputs can build on existing investments and successes to drive the UK’s productivity from the North. It will also look into the skills needed for companies to make the most of the opportunities afforded by the current revolution in manufacturing, which brings with it the need to upskill quickly.
It will also look at new forms of higher education can be rolled out to support the adoption of new technologies in both original equipment manufacturers and supply chain companies including new apprentice based approaches to higher education.
Professor Mike Thomas, UCLan Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University already makes a very strong contribution to the local and regional economy. This Science and Innovation Audit will enable us to identify further opportunities to help boost skills and innovation within Lancashire’s business base and respond to local productivity challenges. In particular, the development of our £30m Engineering Innovation Centre on our Preston Campus, which is due to open in September 2018, is ideally placed to respond to the audit agenda and to help increase our strategic partnerships with local businesses and organisations. We are also looking forward to working together with Lancaster University, BAE Systems, the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and other partners.”
"Auditing the strengths in our regions will help us to build a long term strategy for global competitiveness and help ensure that hotspots generate more than the sum of their parts."
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK has hot-spots of expertise that are propelling us forward in global innovation. Auditing the strengths in our regions will help us to build a long term strategy for global competitiveness and help ensure that hotspots generate more than the sum of their parts.
“Science and innovation are crucial to increasing regional productivity and growth which is why we’ve protected the science budget in real terms until 2020, and why we are developing a National Innovation Plan.”
A further wave of audits will be taking place over the summer and another will launch in the autumn.