Science and Innovation Audit (SIA)

The overall aim of the government’s SIA initiative was to identify and evidence new areas across the UK where research excellence coupled with emerging innovation strengths may offer potential global competitive advantage, with a view to underpinning future investment decisions to maximise related opportunities and boost economic growth and productivity.

“LCR+” was one of eight SIAs approved in the November 2016 Autumn Statement and officially published on 21 September 2017.

Conducting an SIA was explicitly referenced in the City Region’s Devolution Deal agreed with government in November 2016, and the audit process was led by 6 core partners: Liverpool City Council (on behalf of the Combined Authority), Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LCR LEP), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Daresbury Campus and the Hartree Centre, Unilever, and the University of Liverpool.

The audit examined 3 focal themes – plus, crucially, the synergies between them – where the LCR has demonstrable potential to be world-leading and have a significant economic impact, based on genuinely world class research, industry capabilities, and innovation assets: Infection, Materials Chemistry, and High Performance Computing (HPC) & Cognitive Computing.

The report sets an overarching Ambition and programme for each of these:

  • Infection: To consolidate the LCR’s position as an international centre of excellence in tackling infectious diseases, and create a cluster of anchor and high growth companies to take advantage of global market opportunities..
    Programme: Centre of Excellence for Infectious Disease Research (CEIDR)
  • Materials Chemistry: To apply the LCR’s world class materials chemistry capabilities and commercialisation model to provide transformational opportunities for mature UK sectors, create new high-growth industries, and become a recognised global leader.
    Programme: Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) Nexus
  • HP&CC: To harness the LCR’s world-leading High Performance and Cognitive Computing capabilities to accelerate cross-sector growth and productivity, public sector transformation, and develop a world-class data-centric and disruptive digital technologies cluster.
    Programme: Hartree Deep Change

Plus a 4th ambition: “For the LCR to be a national exemplar of place-based and innovation-driven economic growth that supports the UK Industrial Strategy”.

While principally focused on the Liverpool City Region’s assets, capabilities, and businesses, local partners recognised from the outset that we can only fully maximise our potential by working with the “best of the best” – in terms of relevant industry, research bodies, and other major stakeholders – wherever they may be located, hence the important “+” designation.

Indeed, beyond the actual evidence base, ambitions and programmes identified, the real benefit of the LCR+ SIA process has been the strengthening of existing relationships and the creation of new ones, both locally and nationally, e.g. involving the Centre for Process Innovation Catapult in Tees Valley, Royce Institute in Manchester, Alderley Park in Cheshire, Turing Institute in London, EEF nationally and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation globally.

The September 2017 publication marked the start of the real work to deliver on the findings and projects set out in the audit, building partnerships and securing investment in order to translate knowledge and ideas into commercial outcomes and economic growth.

To this end, the Executive Group chaired by Dr. Jon Hague (Unilever Vice President of Operations & Open Innovation; Chair of the LCR Innovation Board) will continue, as will the LCR+ Delivery Group involving the 6 core partners.

Most importantly, the work with industry and other stakeholders to identify projects and solutions across these 3 themes will continue via the respective groups led by LSTM (Infection), University of Liverpool (Materials Chemistry), and HPC/Cognitive Computing (STFC Daresbury).

If you want to get involved then we very much want to hear from you, so please get in touch!

For more information, please contact John Whaling, Innovation & Strategic Investment Lead, or 0151 237 3918

Click here for further details.