NorthWest Science: A meeting of minds on a single mission

April 25, 2003

Northwest Science is a model of best practice, according to the Council for Industry and Higher Education, drawing together businesses and economic development organisations with academic communities.

It aims to establish a common vision for science in the Northwest and to develop a strategy to carry this out, writes Alison Utley.

The organisation, chaired by Sir Tom McKillop, launched England's first regional science strategy at the House of Lords in December. This was part of a bid to create a "magnet" for talent and investment in a region with one of the largest concentrations of universities in Europe, with a combined turnover of £1.2 billion.

Several initiatives are under way to accelerate technology transfer across the business community. Initially these will focus on five sectors: biotechnology; aerospace; chemicals; environmental technology; and nuclear energy. But the strategy will be updated and modified as advances are made.

The strategy will build on the region's strengths, which include Jodrell Bank (pictured), the world's most sensitive high-resolution imaging radio-telescope. Daresbury Laboratory is also regarded as a potential centre of scientific excellence, with the installation of the fastest supercomputer in Europe, and Daresbury 4GLS synchrotron facility.

Sir Tom said Northwest Science was fundamental to the region's future. "We are working with businesses and universities to compete on an international scale, and together we will build this region into something really special in science."

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