Brussels, 20 Sep 2005
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has designate six 'Science Cities' to lead the development of deeper links between business and the science base and ensure that science, technology and innovation succeed in becoming the engine of economic growth.
According to Mr Brown, the six cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and York - will have a crucial role to play as the government tries to ensure that the UK can compete in an increasingly competitive global market.
Academics, business leaders, regional development agencies and local authority representatives from each of the six cities will meet in York in September to discuss how to harness the research power of academic institutions and combine it with the entrepreneurial skills of the business sector. A brainstorming session will be held to develop a manifesto for government action to support the knowledge economy, at which the UK Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, John Healy, will be present.
'The government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world for science,' said Lord Sainsbury. 'UK science and innovation are key to meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive global knowledge economy. Science Cities will be one of the focal points for transforming the best of British ideas and discoveries into new products and services.'
John Healy added: 'In a global economy, the UK's ability to compete depends on our ability to exploit our excellent science base and capture the benefits of innovation. It is important therefore that we continue to face the challenges of encouraging greater business investment in R&D; further improving the responsiveness of the research base to the needs of industry; and improving science and technology skills. The six Science Cities, along with other cities and the regions, have a crucial role to play in meeting these national challenges.'