Lancaster University is leading one of the UK government’s 12 new regional science and innovation audits (SIAs) to develop a new approach to regional economic development.
The Science Minister, Jo Johnson, announced the North West Coastal Arc Eco-Innovation Science and Innovation Audit as part of the Wave 3 of the SIAs during his speech at the Higher Education Funding Council (England) Conference.
Lancaster will work with partner universities, businesses and other institutions, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, to analyse the region’s research and innovation strengths and identify mechanisms for the area to become world leading in the development of low carbon and eco-innovative products, processes and services.
Professor Stephen Decent, Lancaster University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, said: "Lancaster University is delighted to lead the North West Coastal Arc Eco-Innovation Science and Innovation Audit. This will be led by the Lancaster Environment Centre, one of Europe's premier centres for Environmental Science research and innovation, and builds upon our university's Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.
“Eco-innovation delivers new opportunities for businesses by utilising research and translating that research into commercially important innovation, based upon achieving more efficient uses of natural resources, delivering a low carbon economy, reducing impacts on the environment, and enhancing economic and technological resilience to environmental pressures.
“The Science and Innovation Audit brings together a world-class team of universities, businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local and regional government across the North West of England, North West Midlands and North Wales."
Lancaster is also a partner in the Northern Powerhouse in Health Research SIA, led by Northern Health Science Alliance.
Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “Now in its third wave, the Science and Innovation Audits are providing valuable insight into the ground-breaking work taking place across the UK and the contributions we are making to solve challenges across the world.
“The work of the successful regions undertaking their SIA in this wave will support the development and delivery of our Industrial Strategy and allow local places to build on their strengths. This will ensure that the UK remains competitive in the global market and is best placed to continue leading scientific discoveries and taking them to market.”
This follows on from Lancaster’s role in the UK’s first round of Science Innovation Audits 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 Sheffield City Region and Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and is led by Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield.
Lancaster University also contributed to a government-commissioned report which has shown that the north of England generates an annual turnover of £91 billion and employs more than 400,000 people in the regional bioeconomy. The north of England report, led by the University of York in collaboration with Lancaster University and other northern universities and colleges, research institutions, Local Enterprise Partnerships and businesses, showed that the region has the facilities, specialised research and innovation capability and industrial capacity to deliver a world-leading bioeconomy.
The founding consortium of the North West Coastal Arc Eco-Innovation Science and Innovation Audit includes all the region’s LEPs (Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, Liverpool City, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire), the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and the Mersey-Dee Alliance, together with companies of all sizes, and across a wide range of sectors. It brings together the complementary research strengths of nine regional universities, Lancaster, Liverpool (both members of the N8 partnership), Bangor, Chester, Cumbria, Edge Hill, Keele, Liverpool, John Moores (LMJU), and University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and other national research assets, together with Further Education (e.g. Lancashire’s Energy HQ at Blackpool & The Fylde College, Myerscough College).