Business Minister Lord Prior has launched the latest wave of Science and Innovation Audits today (Thursday 21st September 2017), including one developed for the East of England.
The East of England Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) was led in Hertfordshire by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with leading research institutions Rothamsted Research and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, and focused on its comparative strengths in agri-tech and life sciences.
Hertfordshire LEP was part of a consortium of LEPs including Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough, New Anglia and South East to develop the SIA for the East of England. The SIA covers a geography spanning Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
Science & Innovation Audits are a ‘deep dive’ survey of cutting-edge innovation taking place in industry and the public sector. They have been conducted to better inform central Government of regional strengths for potential future funding streams, and to assist with foreign direct investment.
The audit, which was launched at Venturefest East in Newmarket, focused on the region’s comparative strengths in: Life Sciences; Agri-Tech; Advanced Manufacturing and Materials; and ICT. These four themes are represented in Hertfordshire by major market leaders including: global pharma giant GSK; major research institutions Rothamsted Research, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and BRE; Johnson Matthey, chemicals and sustainable technologies; and IT companies such as EE, Hatfield, and Imagination Technologies, Kings Langley.
The region as a whole is attracting the interest of the corporates, with major recent investors including, in Hertfordshire, the setting up of Galvani Bioelectronics in 2016, a joint venture between GSK and Google, dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines.
Furthermore the Cell Therapy Catapult, chose to build its £55m state-of-the-art Cell Therapy manufacturing centre at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst campus, which is expected to encourage further inward investment as well support the SME biotech and life sciences companies based in the region.
Business Minister Lord Prior said: “The Science and Innovation Audits we are publishing today highlight the innovative strengths in regions across the UK and the significant growth and investment opportunities they present.
“Together with our record investment of an additional £4.7 billion for research and development to 2020/21, we are working closely with regional businesses and partners to ensure the ambitions set out in these reports are delivered to maintain our status as a science powerhouse.”
Paul Witcombe: Enterprise and Innovation Manager, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted that Hertfordshire and its science base has made a significant contribution to the development of the region’s Science and Innovation Audit. Our leading research organisations, Rothamsted Research, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and the University of Hertfordshire - with the LEP - have had key roles in identifying Hertfordshire’s contribution to mapping the region’s comparative strengths in the four audit schemes and in particular Agri-Tech and life sciences.”
Miranda Knaggs, Interim CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said: “The SIA has enabled us to map for the first time the full extent of life sciences expertise and connectivity across the East of England. The picture that emerges is of a remarkably rich and dynamic ecosystem, full of growth potential and a major contributor to the success of the UK life sciences industry.”