Chancellor announces Oxfordshire will carry out science and innovation audit

Friday, 25 November 2016

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Oxfordshire has been selected as one of the next regions to conduct a science and innovation audit (SIA) that will help the county understand and build on its strengths in these key areas.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the autumn statement that Oxfordshire will be one of eight regions to carry out an SIA.

Designed to map out local research, innovation and infrastructure strengths across the UK, the SIAs are helping to identify and build on the potential of every region across the country by making sure investment is properly targeted and uncovering opportunities for businesses to tap into. Five areas were selected earlier this year in the first wave of the scheme.

For Oxford Brookes this will involve a particular focus on Digital Health and Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles which are areas for which the University already has a strong reputation for its expertise, innovation and collaboration.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and OxLEP Board Member

The Oxfordshire SIA will be led by the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), the Oxford Academic Health Sciences Network, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and the Satellite Applications Catapult. However, the group of partners and collaborators that will gather to conduct the audit will be much larger and will include representatives from industry, local government and academia.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and OxLEP Board Member, commented: “We are committed to driving economic growth for Oxfordshire. This announcement is therefore very welcome and will allow us to build on the world leading science and innovation already taking place across the county.

“We look forward to developing further opportunities through our partnerships which include the University of Oxford, industry and local NHS trusts. For Oxford Brookes this will involve a particular focus on Digital Health and Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles which are areas for which the University already has a strong reputation for its expertise, innovation and collaboration.”

The SIA will focus on four key areas for Oxfordshire: autonomous vehicles, space-led data applications, digital health, and technologies underpinning quantum computing.

Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Oxfordshire has strength and depth across many different areas of science and innovation, and we have selected a small number of these to focus on for our audit. We hope that this initial exercise, supported by government, will enable us to investigate more scientific disciplines and industry sectors in the future.”

The government-backed SIAs will use big data as a tool for mapping key strengths in science and innovation across the chosen regions. This will help test the potential for these regions to build and develop world-leading ideas, products and technologies that will create jobs, increase UK productivity and drive growth.

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP, said: “Oxfordshire’s current strengths in science and technology give the region a pivotal role in the UK’s drive for economic growth, and on the global stage. Working in collaboration with our SIA delivery partners, this audit will enable us to further enhance our position as a world-leading economy driven by innovation, enterprise and research excellence, boosting both the region and the UK as a whole.”