In today’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the UK government’s plans to launch a new National Productivity Investment Fund of £23bn over five years for infrastructure and innovation. This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week of investment year-on-year to boost UK research and innovation, the launch of an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and R&D tax incentives.
GW4 welcomes these plans but would like to see firm commitment to investing in the South West England and South East Wales region as an economic powerhouse in its own right.
GW4 Director Dr Sarah Perkins says: “It is encouraging to hear that the Government is committed to investing in UK R&D and that place-based innovation is high on their agenda.”
”We welcome the consultation on the Industrial Strategy, the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit clearly outlined how strategic investment can unlock our potential by supporting infrastructure such as the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult and new facilities such as the proposed Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS).”
“We hope that the government follows this announcement with a timetable to implement the Industrial Strategy, working closely with universities and organisations who understand regional research and innovation ecosystems. Now is the time for UK Government to demonstrate their commitment to drive productivity through investment in research capacity and industrial collaboration.”
GW4 Alliance recently submitted the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit with a consortium of partners in the region including UWE Bristol, Plymouth University, Welsh Government, LEPs and over 30 regional businesses including IQE plc, Airbus and Oracle. The Audit identified that the region has world leading academic and industry comparative advantage in Advanced Engineering and Digital Innovation, and provided a road map of how government investment can have a transformative impact on these industries through supporting initiatives developing high value engineering design capabilities, a new National Composites Materials Centre (building on the world leading National Composites Centre) and a Digital Innovation Hub.
GW4 Alliance is working with SWW-SIA industry partners to establish a taskforce to ensure the recommendations from this Audit are met. We will host a House of Commons breakfast briefing in January with UWE Bristol and Plymouth University to make the case for strategic investment into the region’s world class industries.