West of England to undertake innovation audit in bid to foster world-leading tech
Government-backed initiative aims to identify areas where region could become a global leader in science and technology
Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images
A consortium of local enterprise partnerships in the west of England has won the right to undertake a government-backed science and innovation audit (SIA), designed to set out the case for future investments in science and technology across the region.
A four-strong collective of LEPs has been successful in its bid to be included in the government’s third cohort of SIAs. The partnerships represent Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and The Marches – an area covering the local-authority areas of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin.
“The submission made a powerful bid to ministers setting out a strong case that this region is unrivalled for its innovation and industrial capabilities in a combination of digital-enabling technologies, with applications in key high-tech sectors, in particular cyber,” the consortium said.
It added: “Success in the bid means the consortium will now work, with government support, and to a government framework, to map these areas of outstanding commercial existing strength and potential in innovation and collect a robust and compelling evidence base for investing in the area.”
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The four entities – who style themselves as a “cyber alliance” – have jointly issued a contract notice looking for a supplier to conduct the audit and deliver a report. Bids are invited until 16 February, with a contract due to kick off on 22 February and run for a little more than five months thereafter.
The findings of the audit are intended to "inform the UK government's Industrial Strategy” and help guide investments in the region’s science and technology industries.
“The audit will particularly highlight where there is potential for the region, and therefore the UK, to lead global markets,” the consortium said. “The audit will test the potential for these areas of innovation to build and develop world-leading ideas, products and technologies that will create jobs, increase UK productivity and drive growth.
It added: “[The] report will focus on internationally significant science and innovation strengths and will describe how these can unlock future productivity and growth.”
LEPs are partnerships between one or more local authority areas and businesses in their region. They were introduced by the government in 2011.
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