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Driving innovation and growth

Date published: 20/06/18


Driving innovation and growth

Universities have a key role to play in economic and societal development, and the Leeds City Region is making significant investments to support regional growth, innovation and opportunity.

With our strong background in commercialisation and our unrelenting focus on collaboration, we have a proven track record of helping the business sector in catalysing growth and productivity.

The University of Leeds’ new innovation centre, Nexus, launching in late 2018, will build on this success and provide businesses with a new way of working with the University. It provides easy access to our world-leading academic research experts and facilities with particular focus on the health, data, environment and engineering.

Nexus is led by influential Director, Dr Martin Stow, who has a strong track record of working at senior levels within industry, for both multinationals and start-up organisations. Martin has a passion for driving forward innovation and collaboration between business and University researchers and will provide strong mentorship to ensure impactful outcomes are achieved.

“Together we will bring our world class ideas, concepts and technologies to deliver breakthrough solutions to real world, market-based problems. I see Nexus changing the mindset and culture in which universities and industry work together, promoting new standards of working, and generating economic growth, not just for Leeds but beyond.”

Nexus will bring together a vibrant community of innovators, supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a dedicated team who work proactively with businesses to identify and create effective research partnerships that deliver commercial impact.

Alongside purpose built office and lab space for start-ups, SMEs and corporate teams Nexus offers a year round programme of events, seminars and workshops designed to provide expert advice and knowledge transfer and networking opportunities.

Nexus is committed to ensuring the Leeds City Region continues to be an outstanding location for businesses to start-up and grow by offering seamless access to our groundbreaking research expertise. Through this Nexus will help industry tackle real-world problems on a varying scale, both regionally and globally.

The University of Leeds’ impressive breadth of challenge-led research areas are led by some of the most highly-regarded researchers and problem-solvers in the world. The Government’s Industrial Strategy highlights areas of excellence which are in abundance here at Leeds. Leeds is spearheading the region’s strengths in health innovation and med-tech, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, data and energy undertaking cross-cutting and collaborative research with global companies, such as Procter and Gamble, with whom there are more than 20 joint research projects currently underway. And through Leeds’ own spin-out companies they create regional jobs and opportunities.

Leeds’ efforts to promote growth within the region are further boosted by the recent announcement that the Leeds City Region team has successfully bid for a place on a prestigious leadership programme run by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world’s top universities. The Leeds City Region is one of just 9 teams from around the world who will take part in the two-year Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP) which provides expert, evidence-based guidance for teams to bring about significant economic and social change in their region.

The Leeds City team includes leaders from the University of Leeds, Nexus, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, KPMG, Arup, Leeds Academic Health Partnership, and entrepreneurs Adam Beaumont and Ben Ziff.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, led the Leeds bid and is the team “champion” for the programme.

She said: “This is a significant opportunity for us to come together as a collective force to further develop our ambitious innovation and growth plans.

“MIT has clearly identified the region as having key strengths to support the UK economy, in particular the Government’s plans for boosting growth and productivity.”

MIT REAP will allow us to build on our success within our thriving and successful city and further cement our civic roots. The University of Leeds contributes £1.3 billion to the UK economy, providing jobs for 6,500 people directly, and supporting a further 14,000 locally.

The Leeds City Region already has a strong regional ecosystem and Nexus will serve to strengthen this further by accelerating economic growth, creating more jobs and making the region more attractive to growing businesses.