Greater Manchester, the Midlands and Edinburgh and the Lothians are among 5 areas set to take part in the first ever Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) – confirmed in the Budget.
Designed to map out local research, innovation and infrastructure strengths across the UK, the audits will help identify and build on the potential of every region across the country by making sure investment is properly targeted and uncovering opportunities for businesses to tap into.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson selected applications to pilot the audits from:
Edinburgh and the Lothians City region
South West England and South East Wales
Sheffield City Region and Lancashire
Greater Manchester and East Cheshire
The Midlands Engine
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
From the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, the UK has hot-spots of expertise that are propelling us forward in global innovation. Auditing the strengths in our regions will help us to build a long term strategy for global competitiveness and help ensure that hotspots generate more than the sum of their parts.
Science and innovation are crucial to increasing regional productivity and growth which is why we’ve protected the science budget in real terms until 2020, and why we are developing a National Innovation Plan.
The 5 areas were chosen out of 26 applications after last November (2015) the Business Secretary called on universities, research and innovation organisations, businesses, and Local Enterprise Partnerships (and their equivalents in the Devolved Administrations) to form consortia and volunteer for the first audits.
These audits will use big data as a tool for mapping key strengths in science and innovation across the 5 areas. This will help test the potential for these areas to build and develop world-leading ideas, products and technologies that will create jobs, increase UK productivity and drive growth.
More areas will be taking part later in the year (2016), with a further wave of audits taking place over the summer and another launching in the autumn.