Innovation news in brief: Alderley Park; R&D; HPT&M; health

The proposed new life science development at Alderley Park

Alderley Park science hub development plans approved

Cheshire East Council has granted outline planning approval for a new life science hub at the former Astra Zeneca site at Alderley Park, reports

The approved development will provide 38,000 square metres of new space for life sciences in addition to more than 100,000 square metres of space for life sciences already in place, and could secure as many as 7,000 jobs in the future.

In addition to new and reconfigured commercial space, the development aims to deliver up to 275 new homes which will help to finance the necessary investment required to repurpose the science campus.

Rowena Burns, CEO of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: "The Planning Board's decision is great news for the future of life sciences at Alderley Park. It means that we can now move forward with our plans to improve and grow the, internationally important life science campus here, ensuring that Alderley Park remains at the forefront of scientific research.

She added: "The site has sustained many thousands of local high-quality jobs, both on and off-site over the years. Alderley Park will remain a key location for Astra Zeneca as over 700 employees will continue to be based there. We now look forward to working on the more detailed plans for Alderley Park as a world-class science hub."

State Aid in Research, Development & Innovation: A Guide for Universities

AURIL and PraxisUnico have launched a new guide to state aid in R&D and innovation for the university sector. The guide was prepared to inform universities which are active in R&D and innovation about state aid legislation in order that any associated risks can be assessed and mitigated.

The report aims to encourage research, development and innovation – and hence economic growth - by demystifying the regulations and providing case studies which resonate with the higher education sector.

The full document is available to download here

Silverstone Park HPT&M cluster report reaches final stages

Silverstone Park developer MEPC has been handed a final draft of a study looking at the evolution of the HPT&M cluster in the surrounding area.

High-performance technology and motorsport (HPT&M), which covers anything from software design to advanced engineering and everything in between, includes electronics, CAD, manufacturing, R&D and the professional service companies that support these activities in sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, defence, marine and motorsport.

Final publication of the report is expected in the spring. Its findings could help attract significant investment plus government support for high-tech companies located within Silverstone’s neighbouring counties.

MEPC’s Roz Bird, commercial director for Silverstone Park, commented: “This draft version brings us closer to uncovering the evolution of a high-tech cluster in the area surrounding Silverstone Park.

“It also provides a fascinating insight into the behaviour, achievements and requirements of the start-ups, the SMEs and larger companies – from supply chain to Tier 1 to OEMs – in the area.

“While we await final publication of the report we confidently predict it will show that there is a high-tech cluster in the area surrounding Silverstone Park which has global significance and which should be considered by government as an engine room of the UK economy – worthy of investment and promotion.”

West Midlands to launch health innovation exchange

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) is set to launch Meridian, the region’s new online health innovation exchange.

Meridian, part of the WMAHSN’s Innovation and Adoption Service, has been specifically designed to support the West Midlands' innovation ecosystem by providing industry with an opportunity to showcase their products, services and technology.

Lucy Chatwin, business manager at WMAHSN, said: “Meridian is a pioneering interactive platform for anyone to share their innovations and ideas, build groups and networks and make contact with people whose innovations could change healthcare in the West Midlands. The website will support the adoption of good practice in health and social care and share lessons learned from across the sector.”

For more information, visit the WMAHSN website at

Funding boost for battery supply chain

A consortium led by Thurso-based AGM Batteries has been awarded funding towards a £5.4 million project to develop the next generation of battery packs for high performance, low carbon vehicles.

The UK Automotive Battery Supply Chain project aims to capitalise on leading UK innovations in the area of battery technology. Currently most of the technology within the battery systems used by the UK automotive industry is sourced from overseas suppliers, so this project aims to capitalise on the UKs battery technology research base and bring production back to the UK.

The collaborative project combines UK innovations and knowledge from five partners: AGM Batteries, Dukosi, Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, Warwick Manufacturing Group and Cosworth.

The project will allow the five partners to each bring unique capabilities and technologies into the development of a market leading high performance battery pack. At the end of the project the consortium will be able to manufacture these batteries in the UK.

Funding has been provided by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which was set up at the end of 2013 as a 10-year £1 billion partnership between industry and government to build UK industrial capability through the research, development and industrialisation of low carbon propulsion technologies.