Greater Manchester is among five areas set to take part in the first ever Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) - confirmed in the Budget.
Designed to map out local research, innovation and infrastructure strengths across the UK, the audits will help identify and build on the potential of every region across the country by making sure investment is properly targeted and uncovering opportunities for businesses to tap into.
The University of Manchester is scientific lead in a public-private consortium that it jointly leads with the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, represented by New Economy Manchester.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson selected applications to pilot the audits from:
The Science and Innovation Audit will enable us to identify the best ways to maximise the benefits from our core strengths in health and advanced materials and to seek further fast growth opportunities in the digital, energy and industrial biotechnology sectors
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “From the Square Kilometre Array at Jodrell Bank 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 five areas were chosen out of 26 applications after last November the Business Secretary called on universities, research and innovation organisations, businesses, and Local Enterprise Partnerships (and their equivalents in the Devolved Administrations) to form consortia and volunteer for the first audits.
These audits will use big data as a tool for mapping key strengths in science and innovation across the five areas. This will help test the potential for these areas to build and develop world-leading ideas, products and technologies that will create jobs, increase UK productivity and drive growth.
Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at The University of Manchester said: “The Science and Innovation Audit will enable us to identify the best ways to maximise the benefits from our core strengths in health and advanced materials and to seek further fast growth opportunities in the digital, energy and industrial biotechnology sectors. We look forward to working with all of our partners in building a globally renowned regional innovation ecosystem.”
More areas will be taking part later in the year, with a further wave of audits taking place over the summer and another launching in the autumn.
To be kept updated on the science and innovation audits please email: ScienceInnovationAudits@bis.gsi.gov.uk