Metro Mayor sets out ‘big vision’ for the region

METRO Mayor Steve Rotheram hailed the Liverpool City Region as “undergoing a renaissance in science and innovation”, at this year’s Business of Science Conference which took place last week at the Hilton Hotel, Liverpool.

The Metro Mayor brought the one-day conference to a close by announcing his “big vision” for the city. Mr Rotheram recognised projects like Sensor City, the Mersey tidal energy project, and the high-speed digital link, that will drive the City Region’s technological transformation and form a compelling part of the local Industrial Strategy that will be put forward to government later this year.

This year saw 230 people attend the conference, a 40% rise on previous years.

The event – which saw Mr Rotheram describe Liverpool as a “gateway to the Fourth Industrial Revolution” – has been held in Manchester for the past two years but was brought to Liverpool for the first time this year to shine a light on the City Region’s technology and innovation offering.

Steve Rotheram addressed the audience: “Our science and innovation assets are world class, and we understand skills and talent are needed to fuel this part of the city region economy. We cannot stand by and let the apprenticeship levy go unspent, positions go unfilled and watch talent leave our wonderful Universities for other cities when our science and innovation capabilities are globally competitive.”

Other key industry speakers including vice-chancellor, University of Liverpool, Professor Dame Janet Beer DBE, and Darren Budd, the commercial director of headline sponsor BASF, tackled growth clusters across the city region by addressing topics such as Brexit, the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), and the image of science.

Productivity, regulation, and the importance of diversity in science were also key talking points in a raft of panel discussions, presentations and breakout sessions, where visitors learned and challenged the future thinking of business and science.

Four innovative individuals were also praised for demonstrating outstanding business leadership in science and innovation at the pre-conference dinner on Wednesday. Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Janet Hemmingway received the Special Recognition Award for significant commercial impact through science and innovation.

Other winners included Dr. Philip Carrol from LPW Technology who took home the SME Business Award, Professor Richard Clegg from Lloyd’s Register Foundation who scooped the Public Charity Award, and Ornella Barra from Walgreens Boots Alliance who won the Large Business Award.

Steve Bennett, managing director of Business of Science Limited said: “We’ve worked really hard to ensure this year’s conference was representative of the current, and future science and innovation business community. Every year the event is becoming bigger and better, and we are delighted to be able to highlight the Liverpool City Region and its successful role in the development of ground-breaking scientific innovations.”

Plans for the 2019 Business of Science Conference are underway, where it will bring even more industry leaders from across the North together to raise awareness of the challenges facing business and science