Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and the regional development agency One NorthEast pledged to use Newcastle’s ‘Science City’ status to develop it as a world-class location for knowledge-based business, by building on the region’s existing strengths in pioneering scientific research.
The multi-million pound project, announced at a press conference in Newcatsle on 6 July, involves development on a number of sites in the city, including part of the former Scottish & Newcastle Breweries site.
Newcastle University will establish world-class research teams on the brewery and other sites, working alongside businesses and interested partner organisations, such as the NHS. The researchers would specialise in areas like nanotechnology, bioscience and molecular engineering which will be the boom industries of the future.
The plans are a response to the Government’s decision last year to designate Newcastle as a Science City – one of only six cities in the country earmarked for support to develop their science and technology facilities.
The three organisations leading the project have since formed the Newcastle Science City partnership, under the chairmanship of Paul Walker, Chief Executive of Sage. Now the partnership has launched its programme of activity that will bring together researchers with companies to exploit commercial opportunities in applied science.
The project will also encourage collaboration with existing science and technology centres across the region, such as NaREC in Blyth; Netpark in Durham; The Wilton Centre in Redcar and Digital City in Middlesbrough.
The centrepiece of the project is 100,000 sq metres of new buildings with the working title Science Central accommodating the best scientific and business brains in the region.
Professor Christopher Edwards, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University. said: “Our vision is that in the 21st century, new industries based on developments in nanotechnology, bioscience and molecular engineering will become as powerful as coal and shipbuilding were in the 19th century.
“The University has the knowledge and expertise to contribute to the forging of new industries based onthese emerging technologies and to put existing companies ahead of their rivals, so they can grow and create jobs. The development of the brewery site would greatly accelerate this process.”
Paul Walker, chairman of Newcastle Science City Partnership, said: “Science City status represents a unique opportunity for Newcastle and the wider region to capitalise on the significant research expertise and knowledge-based business that already exists here and to grow this to create jobs and new enterprise.”
The aim is to generate employment and prosperity from the region’s growing reputation for research into stem cells, aging, health, microelectronics and molecular engineering. It’s estimated that up to 100 new technology-based companies could be set up or attracted to the region by 2010.
Alan Clarke, chief executive, One NorthEast, added: “Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of just how seriously the partners are viewing this opportunity. It is a once-in-a-lifetime city centre development opportunity and provides a chance to create a world-class environment for science and science-based business, that will benefit the whole region in terms of jobs and investment.”
Newcastle City Council’s Coun John Shipley, a member of the Science City Steering Group, said: “We believe that our plans to transform one of the UK’s best city centre development sites into an internationally renowned centre for scientific research and business will raise the profile of the city, could create thousands of high quality jobs and provide a massive economic boost for the region.”
For more information please contact:
Abi Kelly, One NorthEast, Tel: 0191 2296308
Andrew McKegney, Newcastle City Council, Tel: 0191 2115099
Mick Warwicker, Newcastle University, Tel: 0191 2225893
published on: 6th July 2005