• GMCA, Innovation Greater Manchester sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Innovate UK
  • Agreement for parties to work together to strengthen research clusters and drive innovation in the region
  • MOU a further step in realising Innovation Greater Manchester vision for world-renowned innovation ecosystem

Greater Manchester’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem has taken another major step forward with the signing of an agreement with the UK’s national innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Innovation Greater Manchester and Innovate UK commits the parties to closer collaboration to support business innovation.

The agreement seeks to strengthen research and innovation clusters across Greater Manchester and to accelerate investments around long-term innovation developments.

The parties have also agreed to work on a shared plan for the period to 2030, which will set out how the development of innovation assets in Greater Manchester will inform Innovate UK activities.

The agreement was signed by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Innovate UK CEO, Indro Mukerjee, and Chair of Greater Manchester Business Board (GM LEP), Lou Cordwell, at a special event held today (Friday 2 December) at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) in Manchester. The GEIC is a facility which helps companies develop new technologies, products and processes that exploit the properties of graphene and other 2D materials.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This agreement will strengthen collaboration between Greater Manchester and Innovate UK, and in doing so help deliver a high-growth, high-wage economy powered by innovation.

“Going back to the first Industrial Revolution, Greater Manchester has a proud history of industry and innovation. More recently we pioneered the development of graphene, and have emerging strengths in areas like advanced manufacturing, health innovation and the digital and creative industries.

“Levelling up the country means rebalancing R&D spending so that regions can realise their potential. Innovation stimulates sustainable growth, which leads to better quality jobs and increased wages, raising the living standards of people across Greater Manchester.”

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. The agreement with Greater Manchester is a good example of that and our commitment to levelling up the UK.

“I am pleased to be working closely with Mayor Andy Burnham, Cllr Bev Craig and Lou Cordwell to help deliver growth and productivity through innovation across Greater Manchester.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy and Business, said: “Our agreement with Innovate UK will help businesses and residents in Greater Manchester benefit from the opportunities presented by innovation.

“Business innovation creates good jobs in more places. It drives economic growth, accelerates our transition to net zero, and helps reduce health inequalities. We look forward to working with Innovate UK to strengthen Greater Manchester’s innovation ecosystem.”

Lou Cordwell, Chair of Greater Manchester Business Board (GM LEP) and Innovation Greater Manchester board member, said: “The signing of this agreement is another significant step in our ambition for Greater Manchester’s innovation economy. By working with Innovate UK we can ensure the work done to create value through innovation responds to the strengths and opportunities unique to Greater Manchester. 

“Our Innovation Greater Manchester vision is for the city-region to be a leader in the fourth Industrial Revolution and known globally as an innovation hub. To realise this, we are pioneering a new approach which brings together regional and national government with businesses, universities, investors and entrepreneurs.”

Through Innovation Greater Manchester, the city-region is pioneering a new approach to strengthening and broadening its innovation ecosystem – the network that comprises businesses of all sizes, universities, local and national government, funding providers and investors, and entrepreneurs.

Greater Manchester’s Innovation Plan outlines how sustainable growth powered by innovation could deliver a £3.8bn economic benefit and over 100,000 jobs across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester was one of three areas in the country chosen to develop an Innovation Accelerator. Launched as part of the Levelling Up White Paper, Innovation Accelerators will support businesses and research in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow city-region with a share of £100m of Government funding.

This followed the UK Innovation Strategy, published in July last year, which set out Government’s vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035, and Innovate UK’s plan for action, Building the future economy.