Sci­ence rev­o­lu­tion key to suc­cess West Mid­lands econ­omy could be trans­formed, claims ma­jor re­port

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Govern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

CUT­TING edge sci­en­tific re­search and in­no­va­tion could drive the West Mid­lands econ­omy to fu­ture suc­cess, a new re­port has claimed.

The re­gion is lead­ing de­vel­op­ments in ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing in the mo­tor in­dus­try – such as bat­tery pow­ered and driverless cars, to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and med­i­cal re­search and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

And now a re­port funded by three West Mid­lands Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ships (LEPs) – called the Sci­ence and In­no­va­tion Au­dit (SIA) – is set to guide fur­ther in­vest­ment and growth in this sec­tor.

The re­sults of the SIA was pre­sented at Ven­turefest West Mid­lands this week, at an event bring­ing to­gether more than 700 en­trepreneurs, in­no­va­tors and in­vestors at the NEC.

West Mid­lands mayor Andy Street said: “The SIA is re­ally im­por­tant piece of work as it sets out the mar­ket strengths the West Mid­lands en­joys in key sec­tors where we have a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in the fu­ture. For ex­am­ple, these in­clude some of the ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing in­dus­tries such as driverless and bat­tery ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­ture and de­sign.

“This is where world­class in­no­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions like the War­wick Man­u­fac­tur­ing Group and Man­u­fac­tur­ing Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre and tier one pro­duc­ers like Jaguar Land Rover have es­tab­lished a lead­er­ship role, mean­ing we are cur­rently in a race with Ger­many and the United States to be the global leader in this sec­tor. It also in­cludes tech­nolo­gies for health, where our di­verse, young pop­u­la­tion gives us a unique ad­van­tage in terms of clin­i­cal test­ing, mean­ing the West Mid­lands can be at the fore­front of re­search that can save lives. “And dig­i­tal and data as an en­abling com­pe­tence– which I be­lieve is the glue that holds all of our sec­tors to­gether. The digi- tal and tech sec­tor has been re­spon­si­ble for al­most a third of all in­ward in­vest­ments into the West Mid­lands since 2010 and em­ploys some 70,000 peo­ple.

“Per­haps most im­por­tantly, the re­port gives us the ev­i­dence we need to stim­u­late and steer ac­tion and in­vest­ment.”

The West Mid­lands SIA comes in a year which has seen a dra­matic in­crease across the UK in the pro­file of sci­ence and in­no­va­tion as a key driver of pro­duc­tiv­ity and its po­ten­tial to im­prove the way public ser­vices are de­liv­ered.

> Mayor Andy Street

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