Nurturing skills is key to science industry growth

Nurturing skills is key to science industry growth

The north needs to talk as ‘one voice’ and keep nurturing skills to drive continued investment into scientific discovery and development, according to the head of Manchester City Council.

Addressing a 150-strong audience at the inaugural ‘Business of Science’ Conference, council chief executive Sir Howard Berstein spoke about the importance of northern cities collaborating in order to influence central government policies.

“As a result of the Northern Powerhouse, we’ve seen more and more investment, particularly with transport, and we want that to apply to science too,” he said.

“There are huge opportunities for innovation and research – Manchester has world class universities at the heart of the city representing the biggest cluster of industrial collaborations with business than anywhere else in the UK,” Sir Howard added.

These projects, including the National Graphene Institute and the world’s largest telesope - the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics -  were introduced in the headline introduction by Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester.

The theme of the importance of connecting business with science ran throughout the day-long event held at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), a site with strong industrial roots and background in innovative discoveries.

Launched to coincide with Manchester’s European City of Science celebrations, another core theme at the event was innovation and expert speakers highlighted the challenges and tips for accelerating innovation in the sector.

Headline speakers included Dr Neil Murray, CEO of Redx Pharma and  Prof Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens. Dr Maier spoke about the ‘fourth’ industrial revolution driven by the rise of digital and through new technology such as graphene.

Steve Bennett, managing director of Science North Limited, the founder and host of the event said: “For the inaugural event, it was a real success with a fantastic line up of top class speakers and some truly facinating insights into the relationship between science and business.

“The conference evidenced the strong drive for business to develop commercial solutions and opportunities from science and it was great to see so many people gather together to share this common ideal.

“I am delighted that there also appears to be a clear appetite for this conference and so through Science North Ltd, I look forward to arranging the second ‘Business of Science Conference’ in 2017.”