In a speech at EuroScience Open Forum 2016 in Manchester, Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
Manchester is a city of radical thinking, inspirational science and world-changing firsts.
It is excellent to be here today (25 July 2016) in one of the cradles of the industrial revolution. The city where, in 1948, the first computer with a stored programme and memory, nicknamed ‘Baby’, was developed at Manchester University.
And the birthplace of graphene, a revolutionary material, discovered by 2 scientists, who were born overseas and chose to make Britain their home.
Ladies and gentleman, this is an important moment for British science, as we contemplate our future beyond membership of the European Union.
Theresa May, in one of her first major speeches as Prime Minister, said she wanted the United Kingdom to formulate a new industrial strategy; and great British science, as one of our truly outstanding national assets and areas of comparative advantage, will surely be one of its main building-blocks.
The case for doing everything we can to build up our national strengths in science and innovation in a post-Brexit world is powerful.
And Manchester must play its full part.
I am pleased that Manchester and the East Cheshire region are undertaking one of the first science and innovation audits, focusing on their ‘core strength’ areas of health innovation and advanced materials; as well as the ‘fast growth opportunities’ around digital, energy, and industrial biotechnology.
You are leading the way in these audits, gathering the evidence needed to make quality decisions that will have a real impact.
And it is with this in mind I am pleased to be able to announce that the second call for expressions of interest for the next wave of science and innovation audits will be launched today.
Designed to map out local research, innovation and infrastructure strengths across the UK, these 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.
Today, here at ESOF, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves that science is international; that we live in a world in which no border can be closed to science; that the UK plays a leading role in that global endeavour; and that scientific progress here or anywhere else hinges on the close partnerships that we forge.
The full speech is on the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy website here.