Tees Valley Unlimited, the local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley, has unveiled a new strategy to harness the area’s strong focus on innovation and invention.
It follows Tees Valley being named as one of the country’s best performing areas – and top in the North – for innovation, according to an independent report commissioned by the Government.
The major report by university-based group The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) mapped the “innovation geography of the UK” – with Tees Valley featuring prominently.
TVU working with key partners, including the Centre for Process Innovation, Digital City, NEPIC and Teesside University, has developed the Innovation Strategy to drive future innovation in Tees Valley and across the North, as part of the Northern Powerhouse.
It focuses on where funding, including that from Europe, should be prioritised and how TVU and partners will help SMEs to innovate.
The strategy is an offer to Government and will be used to inform Government, investors, businesses and residents how Tees Valley has led the way in inventing new products and processes over many centuries and how the area continues to be at the forefront of new innovation.
Focusing on the key sectors of advanced manufacturing, process, digital and healthcare, where Tees Valley holds significant strengths and has the potential to be at the cutting edge of UK innovation and growth, it sets out a ten-year vision for the area.
The target is, by 2025, for Tees Valley to:
• Play a major part in developing, manufacturing and delivering technologies to support a low carbon UK economy, particularly through a biorefinery (turning waste into feedstocks) and the formation of a world first industrial carbon capture and storage project.
• Be home to innovative businesses that easily and frequently access bespoke, flexible support and an internationally-connected and multi-disciplinary innovation knowledge network
• Allow opportunities provided by technologies to be readily developed into solutions to meet the challenges in the identified key sectors to the benefit of the whole of the UK
Tees Valley’s pioneering abilities are demonstrated by current developments that place Tees Valley at the heart of innovation in the Northern Powerhouse, including Digital City being named as part of Northern Digital Catapult Centre, the formation of a Materials Processing Institute, the construction of a National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the UK’s first Offshore Wind Validation Centre, as well as the emerging proposals for a ground-breaking Biorefinery
TVU chair Paul Booth (pictured) said: “Tees Valley has an unrivalled heritage in ground-breaking research and invention and this ability to embrace innovation continues to lie at the heart of its future economic growth.
“This strategy will help Tees Valley provide innovative industrial solutions for the UK that will not only enhance the area’s, but the country’s competitiveness and success.”
Nigel Perry, CEO for the Centre for Process Innovation and chair of TVU’s Innovation Leadership Group, added: “Tees Valley’s assets reflect its status as a nationally-renowned powerhouse in the world of innovation, particularly in relation to advanced manufacturing, industrial biotechnology, biologics and subsea engineering.
“Investing in cutting edge developments will allow the area to build on its historic reputation for being a pioneer in innovation and invention.
“The creation of new products and processes will help Tees Valley diversify and expand its industrial base and create employment for its residents.”