The North East’s progress towards becoming an international centre for innovation will coming under the spotlight at a major conference in Newcastle.
Prof Roy Sandbach, who leads the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) strategic innovation strand, will be outlining programmes that are driving the businesses of tomorrow in a speech at Venturefest North East next week.
The one-day conference, bringing together business leaders, academics and innovation experts from across the UK, takes place at the NewcastleGateshead Hilton on Tuesday.
The LEP has secured funding for five of its six planned innovation projects through the Government’s Local Growth Deal.
The Centre for Innovation in Formulation, led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and to be based at NETPark in Sedgefield, will receive £7.4m; £5.6m has been allocated for the Low Carbon Energy centre, to be based at Newcastle Science City; £5.6m for the Newcastle Life Sciences Incubation Hub to be based at Newcastle University; £6.8m for the NETPark Infrastructure Phase 3; and £3.5m for the Sunderland Enterprise and Innovation Hub, to be hosted at Sunderland University, which also includes the internationally important FabLab.
Prof Sandbach will also outline the region’s growing strategic engagement with the Government-backed ‘catapult centres’ which aim to develop and commercialise innovative products and technologies.
Prof Sandbach said: “The NELEP’s innovation strategy is all about creating a regional hub for development and commercialisation that will put the North East on the international innovation map. We need to be able to communicate our ideas and successes to the global economy, and the appointment of the new Innovation Board will help achieve that.
“We are making great organisational and programme definition progress towards our goals. Right now, we are putting the vital building blocks in place for our strategy. The opportunity to consult and share ideas with partners and stakeholders at Venturefest will play an important role in ensuring we have a solid foundation to build on when the funding is released.”