University Enterprise Zone aims to drive innovation across Cambridge

Cambridge is to establish a University Enterprise Zone as part of a new government initiative announced today by Universities Minister Chris Skidmore.

Cambridge has a rich history of scientific discovery and innovation, and its innovation ecosystem is recognised as world leading. This new government funding will help us build and strengthen connections across often very different disciplines, further accelerating innovation across the city and beyond

Andy Neely

Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, today announced 20 new University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) aimed at helping universities stimulate growth in their local economies, providing vital support for innovative new companies and creating jobs in emerging industries. The £20 million investment will strengthen collaborative ties between universities and businesses.

Cambridge’s UEZ, Greater Cambridge Health Tech Connect, will look at testing and integrating inter-disciplinary models of incubation across West Cambridge, where many of the University’s physical sciences and engineering departments, including its Institute for Manufacturing, are based, and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in the South. It will address real world challenges, including unmet medical needs, using innovative thinking across disciplines.

“Our aim is to create new ways of collaborating across physics, technology, engineering, biology and medicine and use this to drive innovation in healthcare, manufacturing and engineering,” explains Dr Kathryn Chapman, Deputy Director at the Milner Therapeutics Institute.

“This Enterprise Zone will explore and scale up new and existing models of business incubation, strengthening the interdisciplinary bridge between two major Cambridge research hubs. This will drive new research and development, and deliver a model that can be applied more widely to support company incubation.”

The announcement has been welcomed by Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge, who led the application. “Cambridge has a rich history of scientific discovery and innovation, and its innovation ecosystem is recognised as world leading. This new government funding will help us build and strengthen connections across often very different disciplines, further accelerating innovation across the city and beyond.”

Funding for the UEZs has been announced alongside an investment of £78 million in the second wave of UK Research and Innovation’s Future Leaders Fellowships. Dr Daniel Field from the Department of Earth Sciences and Dr Jamie Blundell from the Department of Oncology have both been named as recipients of new funding.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Delivering on our research and innovation ambitions means putting people first, whether they are just starting out in their career or are leading major projects in academia or industry.

“These inspirational Future Leaders Fellows will generate the ideas of the future, helping to shape science and research for the 21st century. But to realise the full potential of these discoveries, their ideas need to be taken out of the lab and turned into real products and services, where they can actually change people’s lives for the better.

“That’s why we are creating 20 new University Enterprise Zones, helping local start-ups to co-locate in universities to build the businesses of the future – all inspired by university research.”

Illustrated statistics showing the success of the Cambridge Cluster and the University’s role within it

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