Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has consistently framed its economic development priorities as part of its Strategic Economic Plan. Now, it aims to achieve a more local view on Smart Specialisation opportunities for the sub-region. Currently, LEP has three such projects in progress, which will set out a clear basis to promote and develop the innovation eco-system across the County.

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The LEP/SCR SIA region has innovation strengths in many technological areas, including robotics.

Lancashire and SIAs

The Science and Innovation Audit, developed with Sheffield City Region (SCR), is aimed at describing assets within a geographic corridor across the Northern Powerhouse Area. The main target area will be the advanced manufacturing and nuclear sectors.

The LEP/SCR SIA region has innovation strengths in the following technological areas:

  • Data analytics,
  • Robotics,
  • Automation,
  • New materials and manufacturing techniques, and
  • New business models.

These sectors will drive high-value manufacturing of the future.  The SIA partnership is looking to align new types of translational research institutions, to support the increase of innovation and skills within the sub-region.

SIA and Smart Spec

Alongside the SIA, LEP hopes to continue to work with the Smart Specialisation Hub to develop a view of Lancashire’s broader industrial, innovation and research strengths. This will form part of a Strategy for the area and help to build a broader Innovation Plan.

Following the Smart Specialisation Workshop done by the Hub, LEP has now developed a small working group to drive this activity forward. They aim to conduct this work over the Summer to inform LEP’s new Strategic Economic Plan in the Autumn.

“…increase the support to innovation and skills…”

Professor Stephen Decent, Lancaster University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said:

“Lancashire is delighted to be in the first wave of the Science and Innovation Audits, in partnership with Lancashire LEP, BAE Systems, the University of Sheffield, University of Central Lancashire, the Sheffield City Region and others.

“The Science and Innovation Audit will enable us to demonstrate the world-leading research in Lancaster University Management School and our Department of Engineering, in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield.

“We will also be able to increase the support to innovation and skills in small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses in relevant supply chains in Northern England.”

About the author

Kim is the Digital Communications Officer for the Smart Specialisation Hub.

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