A vision for innovation

A vision for innovation

Tees Valley always has been and will continue to be a global centre for exploring new ideas and breaking new ground, says Andrew Lewis, managing director, Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Innovation is key to a strong and robust regional economy and central to future growth and competitiveness. Whether it is reducing carbon emissions, enhancing its Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) credentials with world-leading research projects, increasing productivity or creating employment opportunities Tees Valley is an example of continued reinvention.

It is the area that invented the safety match and is now home to the UK’s largest hydrogen plant, the UK’s first biomass power station and a world leading graphene plant. Named as the most innovative area in the North in the innovation map published by the Government in 2015, and ranked higher than London, Tees Valley has a wealth of organisations and the universities of Teeside and Durham working with its businesses to help them grow by turning ideas into reality.

This is central to creating a more diverse economy and creating new opportunities in growth sectors. The area has a diverse range of specialist and highly regarded assets which support research and development across a range of sectors. This is assisting in introducing new process and operational practices which will reduce carbon footprints and is critical to the transition to a high value, low carbon economy.

In addition to its chemical and processing expertise, Tees Valley has established itself as a national hub for advanced manufacturing, with particular expertise in oil and gas, subsea, biologics and automotive, low carbon, healthcare and the digital and creative sectors. Tees Valley is also developing its support for smaller companies facing challenges in commercialising ideas, with support ranging from innovation vouchers to enabling access to the European Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. Continued access to funding for this activity is critical, ensuring new products and processes are brought to market to keep Tees Valley at the forefront of innovation.

Innovate Tees Valley is a key part of the delivery of the Innovation Strategy. It has been established to help ambitious and forward-thinking businesses achieve growth through service and product innovation. The programme will provide significant support to 250 local companies over the next three years and includes a major conference that will be held each year to celebrate success, increase understanding of innovation and connect businesses with advisors and investors.

This level of support is vital if the Tees Valley is to maintain its competitive advantage, evolve and grow. Tees Valley Combined Authority’s vision is for Tees Valley to be at the forefront of innovative solutions to global problems. We know this can be achieved.