Greater Manchester business leaders have encouraged the Government to give city-regions a central role in boosting innovation in the upcoming Levelling Up White Paper.
The UK Government’s White Paper is due to be published early next year. It is set to detail how Ministers plan to improve living standards, stimulate business growth and ensure opportunities are accessible to all.
Innovation Greater Manchester is the city-region’s blueprint for working with Government to direct innovation and R&D spending to the most effective projects. Local input and expertise could support efforts to level up and transition to net zero, while helping more businesses in more places to benefit from global exporting and inward investment.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently endorsed the Innovation Greater Manchester approach. The cross-party group of MPs spoke with business leaders from the city-region and held an evidence session exploring the role of technology, research and innovation in the recovery from the pandemic.
The Committee has since written to the Business Secretary urging the Government to consider devolving decisions “on where and how increased R&D funding should be allocated”.
Chris Oglesby, Chair of the Innovation Greater Manchester steering group, said: “Innovation Greater Manchester is a serious, positive offer to work in partnership with Government to level up communities, attract investment and transition to net zero.
“We share the Government’s aim of increasing science funding more broadly across the UK, but we need to ensure this investment lands in the right places. The most efficient and effective way to do this is a collaborative approach, with Government partnering with local businesses, investors, R&D organisations and public sector bodies.
“We were happy to host the Science and Technology Committee in Manchester and welcome its findings – particularly its recommendation that Government draws on local expertise to drive innovation ecosystems in places like Greater Manchester.
“In Innovation Greater Manchester we have the most-developed blueprint in the country for levelling up through innovation and our approach can serve as a model for the rest of the UK.”
Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said: “Innovation policy and R&D spending can play a key role in driving regional economic growth.
“Through Innovation Greater Manchester we can work with Government to target funding at businesses which can pioneer the technologies of tomorrow, in turn creating jobs and attracting wider investment. The blueprint is led by business and modelled on approaches that have worked elsewhere in the world.
“Innovation is at the heart of our Economic Vision for Greater Manchester. By linking industry and academia with local and national governments, we can ensure R&D spending helps the Government deliver the levelling up outcomes it wants to see.”
Ahead of the publication of the white paper, GM LEP has launched a new campaign which highlights Greater Manchester’s existing innovation assets, while looking ahead to projects in the pipeline.
Examples of projects which are levelling up communities and delivering a world-class innovation ecosystem include:
The new North of England Robotics Innovation Centre and Energy House 2.0 will be delivered as part of the £2.5bn regeneration of Salford Crescent being led by the University of Salford, English Cities Fund and Salford City Council.
Crescent’s Innovation Zone will also host a new UK Institute for Advanced Acoustics as well as a range of spaces for businesses to scale and grow.
Along with MediaCityUK and Salford Royal Hospital, Salford Crescent forms the Salford Innovation Triangle.
The Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute is a new research centre located in the North East Growth Corridor of Greater Manchester, which sits along the M62 through Rochdale, Oldham and Bury. Another part of that Corridor is Gateway North – a development site similar in size to Trafford Park.
AMPI will drive innovation among the UK’s advanced machinery manufacturers. The Government’s Innovation Strategy, launched earlier this year, included £22.6m in funding for AMPI’s five-year innovation initiative.
Innovation District Manchester
Innovation District Manchester – or ID Manchester – is a new £1.5bn innovation district in Manchester city centre.
An 18-acre site at the heart of the Oxford Road Corridor will be redeveloped as the University of Manchester relocates teaching and academic research activity to its neighbouring main campus, where it has invested more than £1bn in new facilities.
Once complete, ID Manchester will provide 2.6m sq ft of commercial workspace for innovation-led businesses.