NELEP’s data-driven specialisations

The North East LEP (NELEP) can be considered one of the more advanced facets of the Smart Specialisation story in England. It was among the first to release its Strategic Economic Plan in March 2014, and is planning to release an updated version to demonstrate its current focuses.

NELEP’s data-driven specialisations

Currently, these are the region’s areas of smart specialisation:

  • Passenger vehicle manufacture
  • Subsea and offshore technology
  • Life sciences and healthcare, and
  • Creative, digital, software and technology-based services

These priorities have been evidenced through a rigorous application of data-driven discovery. In common with all regions which engage with Smart Specialisation, the North East has found the approaches which underpin the formation of a Strategy vital in ensuring a robust set of specialisations. The evidence-led nature of Smart Specialisation helps to cut through any misconceptions about an area’s real and emergent strengths.

NELEP has recently invested in a number of different projects to achieve the above smart specialisation aims. Below, we highlight two of the projects who were recently granted funding through a Local Growth Deal.

Sunderland’s start-ups

The recently opened Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at University of Sunderland aims to provide a central hub for applied business research. It will help create hundreds of jobs in innovative sectors and start-ups.

Start-ups in the local area can apply for membership, which is free following a successful pitch. Successful businesses can then use the Centre as a working office space with the latest technology available to keep them up to pace with an ever-changing digital business world.

The University now operates the Centre at two locations in central Sunderland, and a third – Hope Street Exchange – is due to open in early 2017.

Those interested in applying to the Centre can get in touch by emailing enterprise@sunderland.ac.uk or calling 0191 515 3751.

Better access to nature

The Sill, a new tourism development centre in Northumberland, which is due to open in early 2017. The Sill is designed to allow easier access to Northumberland National Park by even more people, and is expected to create at least 120 jobs in the area. The centre will also house between 10 and 20 rural businesses.

For more information about either of these projects, visit the North East LEP site.

Get in touch

If you would like any further information on this case study, please do get in touch. Also, if you have a story to tell or a case study you’d like to have shared on the Smart Specialisation Hub’s platforms, please do let us know.

About the author

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

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