First Liverpool City Region Innovation Investment Week hailed huge success

Mayor Steve Rotheram has spoken of the Liverpool City Region’s innovation superpower ambitions following the success of its first-ever Innovation Investment Week.

The city region’s world-leading capabilities and billions of pounds of investment opportunities were showcased during four days of innovation-themed events.

Planning is already underway for a second Innovation Investment Week in 2025.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “From the moment I was elected Mayor, it has been one of my priorities to cement our reputation as an attractive environment for businesses to invest.

“We are already home to world-leading clusters in life sciences, gaming, advanced computing, and infectious disease control – but I am never content with resting on our laurels. That is why we will invest 5% of local GVA in R&D by the end of the decade, nearly double the government’s own target.

“I truly believe that innovation will be the fuel that powers our economy forward and by establishing ourselves as a hotbed of innovation and new technology, we will be ready to attract many more highly skilled, well paid jobs, businesses and opportunities from around the world.”

The week drew to a close on Thursday, 16 May, with the centrepiece Innovation Investment Summit which attracted experts from the UK and overseas – blending global experience with local knowledge.

Now in its third year, Mayor Steve Rotheram and Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease were among big-name speakers at the summit at LJMU’s Student Life building. The event attracted hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, industry experts, researchers, and policymakers from across the UK and internationally, including Innovate UK Chief Executive Indro Mukerjee.

Highlights of the week included a local launch of the city region’s new Life Sciences Investment Zone, referred to locally as the Innovation Zone, and a Dragons’ Den style pitching event.

The Innovation Zone, which started operating in April, is expected to attract an extra £800m of public and private sector investment and is in addition to Astra Zeneca’s  £450m investment in vaccine development at its site in Speke.

The week began with dozens of primary school children joining local author Natalie Reeves Billing to launch of her new book designed to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Written for 6-8-year-olds, The Animates – Learning in Liverpool tells the tale of a group of animals – including a panda, sloth, ostrich and mouse – that crash land from space at Liverpool Science Park and have to repair themselves and their ship with the help of local innovators. The aim is to place copies of the book in every Liverpool City Region primary school.

Evening activities included a Pint of Science – featuring talks by more than 40 academics from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Liverpool School of Tropical Science (LSTM) at pubs in the city centre and Wirral. And University of Liverpool Professor Matt Rosseinsky – recipient of last year’s Eni Award which is often described as the Nobel Prize of energy research – addressed a special audience at the Materials Innovation Factory.

The Liverpool City Region has more than £725m of live innovation projects with a further £1.9bn in development.

Since the first Innovation Investment Summit in 2022, the Liverpool City Region has spearheaded a series of landmark initiatives including publication of the city region’s first-ever Innovation Prospectus and piloting Innovate UK’s national Launchpad grant programme – reflecting the region’s highly developed place-based innovation approach.

The Liverpool City Region has agreed the country’s first place-based partnership and action plan with Innovate UK and in 2023 a landmark innovation deal was signed with South Korea’s second city, Busan, as part of a major government UK-South Korea innovation twinning programme.

The city region has also become one of only three places in the UK to benefit from both Innovation Zone and Freeport status.

The Innovation Zone will help the city region towards its innovation powerhouse goal of spending 5% of its economy on R&D by 2030 – nearly double the UK target. Achieving the city region’s 5% R&D target would deliver an estimated £41.7bn of gross economic benefit, a 10% increase in productivity and 44,000 new jobs.

The city region is a world leader in infection prevention and control, materials science and AI solutions and emerging technologies with emerging strengths in net-zero and maritime innovation.

Image: (L-R): Professor Tim Jones – Vice-Chancellor University of Liverpool, Professor Kate Royse – STFC Hartree Centre Director, Dr Aileen Jones – Executive Director for Investment and Delivery Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Steve Rotheram – Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

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