Science City secure as partners agree to invest in the future.

Friday 30th September 2011

Press release

Science City secure as partners agree to invest in the future.

Editors: For more information, contact Andrew McKegney at Newcastle City Council on [email protected]  or 0191 2115099.

The future of Newcastle’s Science City has been secured after the two main partners committed to ongoing investment alongside a more focused remit for the organisation.

Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council carried out a strategic review of Science City following the withdrawal of the third founding partner One North East.

The outcome of the review will now see Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, together, continuing to invest up to £500k each year in Newcastle Science Company Ltd for the next three years.

The agreement confirms the partners’ continued commitment to build on the city’s scientific excellence in Ageing and Health, Sustainability, and Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine to attract and support science based businesses in the city.

The review has also identified a number of future changes for Science City, including plans to develop a science-based alliance of businesses involved in R&D, together with public sector and educational partners that will help build a broader city of science.

The changes will see:

  • Fit for purpose delivery arrangements to take forward the next stages of development of the Science Central site – with a stronger emphasis on attracting new businesses into the city
  • A stronger community of science related businesses in the city coming together to share innovation and new ideas – building on the successful  “First Fridays” network
  • An industry-focussed  broader alliance of private and public sector partners  from across the city to contribute  and add their capacity to help develop science in the city
  • Stronger engagement with communities and young people to promote science  and engineering building links to the city’s schools and outreach organisations
  • Continued support to science related businesses across the city and the wider region, with a particular emphasis on the fastest growing businesses.
  • A stronger emphasis on maximising  access to external sources of income through  business activities  such as business coaching; and by accessing sources of European and national funding
  • Continued core support for Newcastle Science Company Ltd  and  the appointment of a new permanent Director to replace the current interim arrangements

In response to the financial challenge created by cuts to funding and the abolition of One North East  overall costs will be reduced  by integrating core functions and slimming down support costs. The efficiency measures are expected to deliver significant savings. 

In future the core activities of the Newcastle Science Company Ltd will be:

  • Support and Inward investment - promoting and supporting inward investment both for the Science Central site and for science based business elsewhere. Leveraging funding through complementary projects.
  • Marketing and communication – promoting Newcastle’s science and expertise externally and ensuring business and community engagement in science and technology.
  • Business Engagement and Support  - focussing on business engagement and networking and working with partners  to ensure there is appropriate support for businesses, particularly high growth  and science related activities
  • Community Engagement – promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational pathways, and to liaise with businesses and education and training providers to help ensure good alignment between the demand and supply for skills.

Chair of Newcastle Science City, Paul Walker, said: “The staff behind the Science City project can be very proud of all they have achieved so far in supporting business innovation and promoting science to the community. We are now embarking on an exciting new chapter and, whilst there will be changes, the future for science in our city is bright.

“We would also like to recognise the important role that One North East has played in Newcastle Science City as a founding partner and, in particular, the leadership and vision provided by Alan Clarke, ONE’s chief executive.”

Professor Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “Our ambitions to build on Newcastle’s reputation as a city of science are demonstrated by this on-going investment by the core partners.

“We are adopting a two-pronged strategy to streamline Newcastle Science City Company Ltd and to build a broader city of science alliance. We foresee an alliance of science-related industries, in and around Newcastle, as well as public sector and educational institutions.” 

 Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council added: “Newcastle is internationally recognised for scientific excellence. We must build on this reputation to create a new generation of jobs and businesses to drive our future economy. An effective Newcastle Science City Company will help to achieve this.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Strategic Review was considered by the Newcastle Science Company Board on Thursday 29th September.

Newcastle Science City key achievements:

-          Created 23 companies that are now trading in the North East of England

-          Worked with 446 regional companies to commercialise new insight-led ideas, helping them to innovate and grow

-          Promoted Newcastle as a city of science on a regional, national and international level

-          Reached over 6,000 schoolchildren across the city with the Science Education Innovation Partnership (SEIP) programme, which aims to make science more fun, engaging and relevant to students and offers support to teachers

-          Reached 1,373 residents with its community engagement programme of events and activities designed to enable people to use science to help drive change in their communities. It has also assisted 142 residents with skills and personal development and has assisted 72 people with their efforts to get a job

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment.

The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

ENDS