A final word

This special review edition of our news update allows me a welcome opportunity to reflect upon some of the key achievements of Newcastle Science City during my time as chief executive as I prepare to leave my post.

Back in 2005 Newcastle was designated as one of six UK science cities in recognition of the world-class research being undertaken by its universities and the potential of its science industry base – particularly in the growth sectors of ageing & health, stem cell & regenerative medicine and sustainability.

Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and One North East, took the groundbreaking decision to set up Newcastle Science City as a limited company to harness this incredible potential and I have been at the helm over its first three years.

My main role has been to help create prosperity for the city and the wider region and I am delighted to announce new figures show the work we have carried out to date will potentially have contributed a net economic impact of almost £63million of added value to the regional economy by 2013.

My contract is due to end at the end of this month and I took the decision not to extend this as I feel the time is right for me to move on to explore some of my own ideas for ventures within the science sector.

I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved in Newcastle – you can read more about our successes below – and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all those people who have supported this science city and made it what it is today. I’ve been overwhelmed by the good wishes I have received and by the fantastic people I have had the pleasure of meeting in the North East and that is hardest part of saying goodbye.

Nothing great gets done without great teamwork, and I have been so fortunate that as well as working with excellent contributors in our partner organisations, Newcastle Science City has itself attracted a superb team of committed individuals who have worked extremely hard to support me in a genuine quest to improve Newcastle’s position as a 21st Century city of science and innovation. The abilities and dedication of this team provide an excellent platform to build on for the future.

Although One North East partner funding ends in March 2012 our partners – Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council – remain fully committed to Newcastle Science City and regard it as a critical element of future economic growth for the area. A number of funding routes are open to us, including the Regional Growth Fund and I will be leaving the partnership in a strong position to adapt within a more challenging funding environment.

Newcastle is a proud city of science and the exciting work to build on this has only just begun.

 
 
 
 
Newcastle Innovation Machine and business support

The Newcastle Innovation Machine model, which provides tools and business development to new and existing companies and breeds future entrepreneurs, is really starting to prove itself with an average of one new high-growth business created per month.

The Innovation Machine was an idea I introduced to Newcastle to turn innovation and commercialisation on its head – beginning from insight into a customer need, rather than focusing exclusively on a single product or service. It provides a heavily de-risked environment for talented future entrepreneurs to develop and launch potential high-growth businesses with all of the support and expert advice they need.

 
 
 
 
Community engagement and education

It’s incredibly important that we ensure this city of science brings benefits to the wider community to make a difference to the lives of residents and to grow a new generation of scientists.

A £500,000 Community Engagement Grant Funding Programme has been developed, specifically designed to enable people to use science to help drive change in their communities. Radical projects will help people improve their prospects in Newcastle’s areas of scientific excellence: ageing, sustainability and regenerative medicine.

 
 
 
 
Science promotion

As a science city Newcastle needs to be synonymous across the world with excellence in three scientific fields; ageing & health, stem cell & regenerative medicine and sustainability.

Working with the community of scientists and businesses in Newcastle, we have been involved in a range of exciting events to bring people to the city to see exactly what it has to offer. Last week’s Science City Showcase event at the Centre for Life helped recruit an army of ambassadors to spread the word of the city’s scientific excellence, with more than 700 businesspeople, academics, students, and residents touring an interactive exhibition that brought to life the cutting edge science that is happening in Newcastle. Visitors were given a unique opportunity to talk to the scientists and researchers making the discoveries and get behind the science using models, displays, experiments and film. The event generated significant media coverage which will help raise the profile of the city’s flourishing scientific community. The forthcoming ActiveAge summit on June 7 will continue to shine the spotlight on the city’s scientific wealth.

 
 
 
 
Infrastructure

Infrastructure is clearly the most tangible outcome of our work but it is just one part of the jigsaw. It is essential that the city has the right infrastructure to support our field of expertise and I’m delighted that we now have three clear focuses for our scientific strength: ageing & health at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health; stem cell & regenerative medicine at the Centre for Life; and sustainability, which will be the focus of the Science Central site.

 
 
Newcastle Science City
Time Central, 32 Gallowgate,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SN