Commercialising our research and innovation capability is key to capturing the high value, high growth sectors of the future, and driving the benefits across the UK. In an increasingly competitive global economy, constant innovation is essential.
The West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit was created on behalf of the three West Midlands Metropolitan LEPs, the West Midlands Combined Authority and their innovation partners to develop a robust and tailored evidence base science and innovation activity across the area.
The audit provides sound evidence to stimulate and steer action and future investment by identifying key market strengths in next generation transport; sustainable construction; energy storage and systems; and technologies for better health, and cross-cutting enabling competences in advanced manufacturing; digital technology and data; and systems integration.
Using the findings we are working with our innovation partners to develop our strategy for demand-led innovation.
To access the audit, click here.
We are strengthening the responsiveness of our Growth Hub to link our businesses to support that can help remove barriers to innovation, including access to finance; scale up; skills; intellectual property; inclusive growth; and SME internationalisation.
To find out more, click here.
The West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit identified that SMEs in the region are slow to innovate and that this is damaging productivity. Connectivity is certainly part of the issue and without reliable and fit for purpose digital connectivity we cannot have digital transformation.
According to a recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce 70% of businesses rely on digital connectivity to innovate. With SMEs at a higher risk of unreliable connectivity, we need to adopt a region wide approach to supplying both the speed and capacity businesses require.
To address these issues GBSLEP, with our neighbouring LEPs in the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire, are investigating infrastructure developments including 5G, full fibre and mobile through the West Midlands Combined Authority Digital Connectivity Group.
Using our Local Growth Funding and strategic influence over the European Structural Investment Funds we are working with partners to bring forward a number of prioritised projects which address gaps in business support for innovation.
We recognise the potential offered by disruptive and emerging technologies to enable increased productivity and more inclusive and sustainable growth. We also believe that innovation can come from all areas so our aim is to stimulate demand-led innovation by developing a conducive and supportive environment in which innovators, entrepreneurs, universities and science parks, large companies and public organisations can work together to develop new solutions with commercial potential.
To help us meet our goals we are creating an Innovation Challenge Forum (comprised of a pool of practitioners we can draw upon to review incoming proposals) who are the first line of engagement and potential customers for innovative products or services, and academic experts, to bring a stronger market voice to stimulate and prioritise demand-led innovation activities in line with the GBSLEP Strategic Economic Plan.
To find out how to become a forum member, click here.
The West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit findings show our region benefits from a well-developed set of networks and relationships.
We are working with our partners to develop and strengthen our networks and knowledge exchange activities for example:
GBSLEP assists the running of the Birmingham Smart City Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to use its resources and networks to support the shared objectives of the West Midlands in the development of a smart and connected region.
To find out more about the alliance, click here.
We are supporting the Energy Capital Initiative. Energy Capital is the smart energy innovation partnership for the West Midlands. By responding to the needs of the regions vibrant manufacturing economy and diverse local markets, it aims to make the West Midlands one of the most attractive locations to build innovative clean energy technology companies in the world.
To find out more about Energy Capital, click here.