UK should invest in ‘innovation districts’ to boost productivity, report says

The UK should invest in ‘innovation districts’ to boost productivity, according to a report by the UK Innovation Districts Group (IDG) and consulting and engineering firm, Arup.

Innovation districts are urban areas with networks of knowledge producing organisations such as universities, research bodies, teaching hospitals, cultural institutions and knowledge-intensive businesses.

They bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, creatives, knowledge workers and investors to collaborate, compare and compete, creating the conditions for business growth.

The IDG was established in October 2017 and represents six major innovation districts across the UK, in Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Emma Frost, chair of the UK Innovation Districts Group, said: ‘Innovation Districts are reshaping and rejuvenating major urban areas around the UK.

‘This inaugural report highlights the real potential that innovation districts have to increase productivity and ensure local economies across the UK are more economically inclusive and prosperous,’ she added.

In the report, the IDG urge the government to channel investment into ‘mature and growing’ innovation districts which they believe will help accelerate productivity growth in the UK.

The report recommends that leaders in national and local government should prioritise investment in innovation districts to support the delivery of the Industrial Strategy.

It also says cities, city regions and innovation districts should continue to secure capital investment in public spaces, physical and digital infrastructure, and new buildings in innovation districts.

Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said: ‘This report highlights the importance of Innovation Districts across the UK, and crucially the support that is needed to ensure progress continues to be made in this important area.

‘As part of our own Leeds Innovation District, we are working with key partners, including the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, building on our world class research and development assets, strong network of innovators and entrepreneurs, and new cutting edge incubator facilitates to help new businesses develop and deliver growth and investment to the city.’

Read the full report here.


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