Pictured: from left – Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Pat Richie and Professor John Burn

The first phase of progress on a £50 million home for business, academics and the public, which will put the UK at the forefront of AI, digital economy and Ageing Society is being marked today.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been to the roof of Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre to mark the completion of the exterior.

The striking building, rapidly rising out of the ground at Newcastle Helix, will bring together businesses, academics and the public to support the research and development of new ageing and data-oriented products and services. It comes in response to the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.

It will house three national centres; the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) which works with research specialists, businesses and the public to facilitate the commercialisation of key products, services and technologies to help people live better, longer lives; the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) which works on opportunities offered by the explosion in digital data and the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory (NIHRIO) which applies Big Data analytical tools to reveal global trends in health innovation.

Speaking at the event, Greg Clark, Business Secretary said: “The UK has a world beating reputation for innovation and we are building on this strength as part of our modern Industrial Strategy with the largest investment in R&D in 40 years. This £51 million investment in Newcastle’s National Innovation Centre is exactly the kind of development we want to see. Our modern Industrial Strategy identifies Artificial Intelligence and an Ageing Society as two sectors which will be in huge demand across the world and in which the UK, and Newcastle through the Innovation Centre, can build on our strengths to lead the world in new products and services.”

Newcastle Helix, a £350M urban regeneration project and the largest of its kind in the UK, is a new urban quarter in the centre of Newcastle which will provide a blueprint for sustainable urban development.

It is being developed by Newcastle University together with Newcastle City Council and Legal and General

Professor David Burn, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University who went on to host a roundtable discussion on Ageing with the Minister added: “Two of the Government’s challenges are Artificial Intelligence and the digital economy, and Ageing Society.

“Our National Innovation Centres are uniquely placed to take a leading role in addressing these challenges and will ensure that we are able to improve quality of life in later years, reducing health inequality. This will help us all experience happier, healthier and more independent lives, and support older people to contribute to their careers for longer.”

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council welcomed the Minister to the Helix: “It is fitting that the Minister is visiting such an innovative building today, integral to Newcastle Helix, and at a time when Newcastle and our two neighbouring local authorities are on the brink of a major growth opportunity with the arrival of North of Tyne devolution.

“Newcastle Helix symbolises the economic future of our city and its people, both young and old. Newcastle is now at the forefront of science and innovation, bringing together industry leaders, businesses and top researchers in this new and exciting community”.

Newcastle Helix is attracting leading edge scientific and technology organisations to a mixed new community encompassing a variety of R&D, educational, business and residential uses. The brand new, state of the art Newcastle Helix is designed to support a thriving community, rewarding jobs and ground breaking scientific advances.

Patrick Bonnett, Development Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing said: “The UK’s ageing population offers a significant opportunity to develop innovative goods and services which help us age well, for longer. I’m delighted that the Secretary of State, Greg Clark has recognised the key role being played by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing in developing this important economic sector and in driving ecomonic growth in the region and delivering the benefits for UK plc at a national and global scale”

Submitted on 24/07/2018