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Cities gather to plot scientific route to economic growth

Posted on 16 September 2005

Six English cities are to play a pivotal role as science, technology and innovation spearhead the Government's drive to make sure the UK thrives in an increasingly competitive global market.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has designated the six - Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and York - as 'Science Cities' to lead the development of a deeper and more widespread engagement between businesses and the science base.

The Science Cities will be in the vanguard of the campaign to make science, technology and innovation the engine of economic growth over the next 10 years and beyond.

Representatives of the six cities will gather for the first time on Friday 23 September, to plan how to achieve the objectives of harnessing the research power of academic institutions, the world-class quality of their scientists, engineers and technologists, and the entrepreneurial skills of the business sector, as well as promoting public engagement in science.

Academics, business leaders, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and local authority representatives from all six will gather in York for the Science Cities National Workshop - a brainstorming session aimed at developing a manifesto for Government action to further the knowledge-based economy. The event has been initiated by its host, Science City York, and sponsored by regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward. The event's media sponsor is the Financial Times.

The Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, John Healey, will address the workshop. Other speakers will include the American Science City guru Henry Etzkowicz, of the State University of New York.

The government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world for science

Lord Sainsbury

The workshop will be chaired by Richard Lambert, a former editor of the Financial Times and a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, who carried out the influential Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration for the Government.

Lord Sainsbury said: "The government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world for science.

"UK science and innovation are key to meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive global knowledge economy. Science Cities will be one of the focal points for transforming the best of British ideas and discoveries into new products and services."

John Healey said: "In a global economy, the UK's ability to compete depends increasingly on our ability to exploit our excellent science base and capture the benefits of innovation.

"It is important therefore that we continue to face the challenges of encouraging greater business investment in R&D; further improving the responsiveness of the research base to the needs of industry; and improving science and technology skills.

"The six science cities, along with other cities and the regions, have a crucial role to play in meeting these national challenges."

Richard Lambert said: "This will be an important day for the Science City project. It will be the first opportunity for representatives of the six cities to exchange their ideas about building strategic partnerships between entrepreneurs, universities, and local and regional government.

"The cities have different resources and histories, but they have important things in common. These include great universities, a strong civic sense, a dynamic private sector, and a shared ambition to put science, technology and innovation at the centre of their economic strategies for the years ahead."

Notes to editors:

  • For further information or to arrange interviews please contact: David Garner, Press Officer, University of York, Tel: 01904 432153, email: or Rachel Goddard, Press and PR Officer, Science City York, Tel: 01757 289696 or 07774 486237, email:
  • Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and York were recognised as Britain's Science Cities in Chancellor Gordon Brown's 2005 Budget statement. This confirmed the Government's continued investment in science and technology to drive forward the UK's position in the global economy.
  • Each Science City is at a different stage of development. Whilst York has been pursuing a Science City agenda for seven years and has a clear strategy for growth, other cities are at earlier stages of development but are developing bold visions for harnessing scientific and innovation endeavour. Below are the priorities that each Science City has identified at this stage.
  • Science City York is a successful partnership between the City of York Council, the University of York and private industry. It was created in 1998 to capitalise on the international research strengths of the University of York and other strengths of the city and sub-region to generate new high quality local business and employment opportunities The Science City York model has achieved high levels of business engagement to foster an environment in which creative, science and technology excellence can thrive. Science City York has a major track record of success with more than 240 science, technology and creative organisations already based in York and creating more than 2600 jobs and 60 companies in its first seven years. Its future vision, supported by Yorkshire Forward, is to create an additional 15,000 technology-based jobs by 2021. Further information from:
  • Manchester's Science City programme is being led by Manchester: Knowledge Capital - an established partnership which already pulls together input, expertise and resources from the public, private, academic and health sectors. The science city programme is founded on four unique strengths - Manchester's ability to deliver, its sheer scale, its creative, partnership-based approach, and its focus on inclusion and social benefit. Manchester has the combination of science-based assets, higher education research and industry expertise to deliver significant levels of sustained economic growth - the City Region Development Plan estimates an increase of up to 160,000 jobs by 2015. With 800 knowledge-based businesses in the core alone, employing more people than the entire UK biotech sector, Manchester: Knowledge Capital is building the success of its science city programme on strong foundations.
  • Newcastle Science City is being advanced by a major consortium comprising Newcastle City Council, One NorthEast, Newcastle University, the Centre for Life, the NHS and business - this partnership is chaired by leading local industrialist Paul Walker, CEO of SAGE Group Plc. Newcastle Science City will develop projects that use the city centre environment as a focal point for concentrated science-based development, contributing significantly to economic prosperity and growth. This will be generated through scientific research and teaching, the application of science, supporting services, and extensive and intensive interaction between these various elements. Key areas of scientific focus will be Ageing and Health, Stem Cells and Tissue Regeneration, Energy and Molecular Engineering - where the North East already has internationally recognised strengths. Science City builds upon major investment by the Partnership over the last 4 years, and will involve the development of a very large scale city centre facility for science and business interaction.
  • Science City Nottingham is a partnership driven by Nottingham City Council and embraced by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), Innovation East Midlands, the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham Development Enterprise. The designation of Nottingham as a Science City recognises the outstanding achievements, reputation and excellence in research and teaching of science and technology by the City's two universities - The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. Nottingham is recognised as a world centre of excellence for biomedicine and aims to be at the forefront of the nanotechnology revolution.
  • Science City Bristol has a strong, diverse science and technology base including three leading universities: Bristol, Bath and UWE. It has leading private sector R and D performers in the Aerospace, IT, Creative Digital Media and Silicon Design sectors, as well as publicly funded organisations such as GCHQ, Defence Procurement Agency and the National Blood Transfusion Service. It aims to build on this base and increase the profile of science and technology as a key driver of economic development.
  • Birmingham Science City will build on existing strengths including the city-region's national and international connectivity; industrial and commercial base; existing skills base; culture and heritage; its six Universities and the other higher and further education institutions; many applied research bodies; numerous science parks and its wide range of organisations and networks concerned with the development of the economy.
  • Further information on each Science City is available on a separate media briefing document.
  • Science City York has received endorsement from the HM Treasury Lambert Review December 2003 as an exemplar in fostering regional development to stimulate University- Business collaboration to create the right economic conditions to allow science and technology businesses to prosper.
  • Science City York receives funding from Yorkshire Forward (Yorkshire and Humber Regional Development Agency). Yorkshire Forward has sponsored the National Science Cities Workshop.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153