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Innovation

Innovation: maximising our distinctive world-leading assets and capabilities to drive regional and national economic growth – our headline ambition is to invest 5% of Liverpool City Region GVA in Research & Development by 2030, nearly double the UK target…

Our Vision

The UK has a vision – one that’s shared by the Liverpool City Region – to be a science superpower driven by innovation.

The UK’s ambition is for Research and Development to account for 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027 but our ambition goes much further. We have a goal for R&D spending to reach 5% of GVA by 2030 – nearly double the UK target.

And our ambition is not a pipe dream: it’s borne out of a £3bn pipeline of projects rooted in Liverpool City Region’s distinctive, world-leading strengths in infection control and health/life sciences, materials chemistry, AI solutions, and net-zero innovation.

It’s founded on one of the most highly developed approaches to innovation in the UK – spread across the city region and clustered around established internationally significant science and industrial assets, plus new, emerging innovation capabilities.

Through the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine led iiCON programme, the University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory, and the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation, we have the global assets to shape the future.

Add to that, major investment potential, track record, close partnership, an entrepreneurial approach, and a business ecosystem tailored to innovation, we can deliver results for UK plc – as well as the Liverpool City Region.

And it’s driven by political leadership that knows actions speak louder than words.


Through targetted and scalable innovation funds complementing much larger scale national and private investment, Liverpool City Region is backing innovators with great ideas and world-class products – turning them into high-growth businesses that offer quality jobs and add to UK plc’s bottom line.

To reach its target, the UK needs a small number of places to step up and significantly out-perform the average.

We are that place. We are coordinated, committed, energised, and have an ambition that can directly contribute to driving UK productivity and delivering the Government’s levelling up, Global Britain and scientific superpower agendas.

And we can achieve this through a long-term programme of high-impact R&D projects created in partnership with the Government, industry, and research institutions.

We are THE PLACE that can demonstrate the assets, commitment, expertise, and the ecosystem. We can demonstrate sustained world-leading innovation – because we’ve been doing it for more than a century and we’re still doing it.

Now it’s time for both the Government and industry to co-invest in our vision and help us invent the future. Let’s make a better world…because it makes business sense.


What makes the Liverpool City Region ideal for R&D investment?

  • Distinctive world-leading capabilities and competitive strengths in infection, health and life sciences, materials chemistry and AI/high performance computing.
  • Major emerging strengths in offshore wind, hydrogen power, tidal energy and industrial decarbonisation, plus a place of world-firsts in decarbonising industry as we strive towards our target to be net zero by 2040.
  • Our long-standing pedigree of world-changing invention and applied science. We created the world’s first commercial wet dock and tropical disease research institute, we are the birthplace of the railways, and are the home of the Lever brothers landmark mission to ‘make cleanliness commonplace’, Beecham’s first pill factory and where Pilkington pioneered float glass.. And we continue to be a place of pioneers and innovation in old specialisms and new.

Distinctive world-leading assets and capabilities that are catalysing wider innovation clusters

  • Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) –  a leading recipient of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, and with of the UK’s highest per capita FTE research income.

  • Materials Innovation Factory

    The University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory, which is a world leader in materials chemistry discovery and robotics/lAI-enabled ab automation.

  • STFC Hartree Centre

    The STFC Hartree Centre which in conjunction with IBM Research hosts the world’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to solving industrial R&D challenges.

Actions speak louder than words: a track record of industry-backed innovation and investment with more to come

  • £2bn innovation infrastructure investment in the 5 years pre-pandemic
  • £1bn live projects, to solve critical challenges and unlock UK and global market opportunities, including:
    • £210M STFC Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation
      – the de facto national AI solutions centre, consolidating IBM’s global research lab at Sci-Tech Daresbury, and the only IBM discovery accelerator outside the USA.
    • LSTM-led iiCON (infection innovation consortium) programme is 1 of only 6 Round 1 UK government backed Strength in Places Fund projects. It’s targeting £1bn investment in 10 years, and within 18 months had already leveraging 10x private investment from £18m UKRI funding.
    • Glass Futures is a global glass industry-led R&D, innovation and training hub, aiming to evolve into a wider industrial decarbonisation campus.
    • Hynet is a pan-NorthWest and North Wales hydrogen production and carbon storage innovation programme. It has already led to the world-first industrial fuel switching at Pilkington and Unilever – using hydrogen to power energy-intensive industrial processes.
    • 212km gigabit capable LCR Connect full fibre network being delivered via an innovative international commercial JV and creating the infrastructure to drive further innovation.
    • A further £3bn R&D project pipeline, rising to more than £10n if Mersey Tidal – the UK’s largest public sector led renewable energy project – is included.


An environment for innovation that sets us apart


Evidence-
based


Proprietary innovation logic model and metrics, distinctive asset-based cluster development, and a smart specialisation approach typified by the seminal  2017 BEIS-commissioned LCR+ SIA that is now being refreshed.


Business
innovation


Scalable business innovation & diffusion programmes: These include LCR 4.0 and successor projects including Made Smarter, the Future Innovation Fund and LCR Ventures – the LCR’s first dedicated innovation commercialisation vehicle aiming to energise our business innovation ecosystem.


Integrated approach
to skills


Integrated approach to skills & focus on fusion skills for innovation – demonstarted by the UK’s first dedicated “innovation skills for growth” action plan.


Established
leadership


Established leadership, governance, partnership, assurance, and administrative architecture through the LCR Innovation Board, the first of its type in the UK, the Metro Mayor and Combined Authority.


Highest annual
GVA growth


Highest pre-pandemic annual GVA growth of any Combined Authority areas.

LCR Innovation Board

The LCR’s high level Innovation Board was established in 2014, making it the first dedicated sub-regional body of its kind in the UK.

Its overarching purpose is to providing strategic leadership for the LCR innovation agenda, and drive the translation of knowledge and ideas, raise productivity, maximise investment, inspire and enhance skills, attract/retain talent, and accelerate growth and international competitiveness across all sectors of the LCR economy. Specifically, the Board’s explicit primary objective is to realise the LCR headline ambition is to secure annual R&D investment equal to 5% of LCR GVA by 2030. There is an explicit emphasis on maximising the LCR’s demonstrable, distinctive assets, capabilities and competitive strengths, and its focus is on the science, technology, research & development, and commercialisation aspects of the innovation spectrum.

The Board is facilitated by the CA,  convenes senior representatives from industry, LCR HEIs and other anchor institutions, our two leading science campuses, plus UKRI bodies Innovate UK, EPSRC, and STFC, and chaired by Dr. Jon Hague – Unilever’s Vice President Science & Technology for Homecare – reflecting the Board’s primary focus on commercialisation.



Useful contact

For further information, please contact John Whaling, Lead Officer – Innovation & Commercialisation.



Innovation
Board Terms
of
Reference



Innovation assets
& projects
map



Innovation coordination & governance overview



LCR+ Science & Innovation Audit (2017) – summary



LCR+ Science & Innovation Audit(2017) – full


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