The Sheffield City Region and Lancashire have been selected as one of the UK’s first Science Innovation Audit sites 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 innovation partners in the Sheffield City Region and Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and is led by the University of Sheffield and Lancaster University.
The 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.
The 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.
Business secretary Sajid Javid said: “From Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Park to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, 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.”
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.
In addition, it will investigate how 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.