This edition of our blog starts with clusters, a topic very close to Bionow’s heart. The discussions in recent years around clusters have been largely moot following the abolition of the RDAs. We were therefore delighted to see that clusters feature strongly in Sir Andrew Witty’s independent review of universities and growth published last week.
The initial findings set out the themes that will be explored when Sir Andrew publishes his full report later this year. These initial findings cover a number of themes, all already central to Bionow’s offering to businesses and universities, including:
- making sector or cluster strengths the starting point for developing plans for regional growth
- making sure universities play a stronger role in economic development
- improving SME access to universities, including a stronger role for university business schools to provide support to SMEs
- reducing the complexity of funding streams that support research and innovation
- ensuring national organisations support innovation and regional growth
Also related to local growth nearly £1bn of European money has been allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North West for the next funding period which runs from 2014 to 2020. This cash follows a commitment from Government to make a £10bn fund available to all 39 LEPs alongside a £5bn transport pot. Details will follow on how the LEPs will allocate this money.
The Governments flagship fund to support the creation of jobs across all industrial sectors, the Regional Growth Fund, announced details of the latest group of companies to secure funding in Round 4 of the scheme. Of the total of £506 million of funding awarded in this Round, £314 million will go to 60 companies in the private sector and 12 private sector run RGF programmes, a further £192 million will go to 30 RGF programmes such to be run by local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) who fund eligible SMEs with grants and loans. Again details are to follow regarding sector-specific initiatives but Redx Pharma, Novartis and Molplex were named as the companies from the sector in the North who have received an offer of funding.
Two very important sources of sector funding opportunities have now announced the opening of their next round. The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) which is Europe’s largest public-private partnership aiming to improve the drug development has announced that the 9th call is now open and the Biomedical Catalyst will reopen for applications for early- and late-stage awards on 29th July 2013.
Helen Kuhlman lead technologist at the TSB for the Biomedical Catalyst Fund will be participating in a session at BioCap 2013 on 18th September. Also at BioCap 2013 Andrew Miller, Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee will comment in his keynote address on the Governments response to his committees report ‘Bridging the Valley of Death: improving the commercialisation of research’ and we are also delighted that Marcelo Bravo author of Dream Design Surf and an experienced entrepreneur will be closing BioCap 2013.
And finally the Bionow team have launched two competitions this week, the opportunity to make a “pitch” at BioCap 2013 and the 2013 Bionow annual awards competition and we are delighted that George Freeman MP, UK Government Advisor on Life Sciences will be the keynote speaker at the awards dinner this year on November 28th .