Oxfordshire can play a major global role in driving forward the UK economy through four transformative technologies – that’s the conclusion of a new science and innovation report, released 21 September.
Findings from the Oxfordshire Transformative Technologies Alliance’s science and innovation report (SIA report) says that the county – and the UK – can become a ‘global leader’ through the areas of digital health, space-led data applications, autonomous vehicles and technologies underpinning quantum computing.
It suggests that, by being the lead UK region for these four science and innovation areas, Oxfordshire has the ability to help strengthen the future national economy.
Though the four transformative technologies are at different stages of their commercial development, the SIA report says that the quality of research and innovation – already operating in Oxfordshire – should mean these areas are recognised as having the biggest potential.
The report also notes that these are not the only four ‘themes’ in which Oxfordshire has highly significant or leading science and innovation capacity both across the UK and internationally too.
If fully utilised, the SIA report suggests the technologies could be worth in the region of £180billion to the UK economy by 2030 – around six per cent of the global economy in these technologies.
The SIA report says that to maximise the national opportunity for Oxfordshire, investment is required in infrastructure – to accommodate growth potential and appetite – whilst ‘living lab’ test beds are also required to develop, refine and prove technologies.
The region would be the UK focus for advances in autonomous vehicles, uses of satellite technologies, quantum computing and digital health.
Oxfordshire would also have the potential to develop data services, products and software, with opportunities for integrated research and development testing – proven in real-world environments – as well as bench tests and simulators.
The SIA report responds to a commitment made last autumn by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, with the view to better understand the future economic impact eight UK regions could have – both globally and nationally – through science and innovation.
It also aims to help ensure future investment, across science and innovation, becomes more targeted.
Led by the University of Oxford, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), Oxford Brookes University, the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Satellite Applications Catapult – the SIA report also included input and strategic advice from other industry, local government and academic partners.
The SIA report adds that because Oxfordshire has a history of developing hi-tech clusters and – as well as its close proximity with London and Heathrow Airport – it is ideally-placed for developing and commercialising new technologies.
It also says that an Oxfordshire base can drive advances through interdisciplinary research and innovation, thanks to the breadth of technologies being developed in the region – such as satellite data to manage driverless vehicles, or analysing major healthcare data with quantum computers.
Though the SIA report cites significant opportunities for Oxfordshire, it adds that ‘gaps’ need to be addressed to allow innovation to flourish further within the county. This includes challenges around recruitment, ensuring the correct infrastructure is in place to attract world-leading businesses and professionals to Oxfordshire.
To view the full report, go to: www.oxfordshirelep.com/siaoxfordshire.