New Anglia Innovation Board
Tuesday 9th September 14:00-16:00
By MS Teams
David Carlin
Science Director
Madeleine Coupe
Innovation & Sector Manager
New Anglia LEP
Julie Schofield
Head of Partnerships, Research & Innovation
University of East Anglia
Julian Munson
Head Enterprise Zones & Innovation
New Anglia LEP
David Parfrey
Executive Chair
Howard Partridge
Regional Manager
Innovate UK
Lisa Perkins
Adastral Park & Research Realisation Director
Johnathan Reynolds (Chair)
Board Member
New Anglia LEP
Katie Snell
Innovation & Sectors Coordinator
New Anglia LEP
Vimmi Hayes
Economic Development Manager
Suffolk County Council
Prof.Mohammad Dastbaz
Deputy Vice- Chancellor
University of Suffolk
Sarah Steed
Director of Innovation & Engagement
Norwich University of the Arts
Gurpreet Jagpal
Pro -Vice Chancellor Business &
University of Suffolk
Ian Pease
Business Development Manager
Vince Muspratt
Assistant Director, Growth & Development
Rep. Local Authorities
David Tait
Hethel Innovation
Prof. Fiona Lettice
Pro-Vice Chancellor
University of East Anglia
Helen Lewis
Director of Research & Innovation Division
University of East Anglia
Fiona Clyne
Group Manager
Welcome from the Chair - Introductions, Apologies & Minutes
Johnathan Reynolds (Chair) welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies were noted.
Innovation in Agri-food
-Agri-food Industry Council Progress -Emma Taylor & Madeleine Coupe
DCW slides for
NALEP Innovation Boa
The Agri-food Industry Council was established in 2019 to build on the work of the Food, Drink and Agriculture
Board. The delivery partner is Agri-tech E and a delivery plan is in place. The Council played a key role during the
pandemic in shaping a sector response to inform Government policy and local decision making. In August 2020,
the first Agri-Food Sector Report was published and included initiatives that the Council thought would be useful
going forward along with any asks to government. It has been useful exercise, one which is going to be rolled out
The delivery plan has a number of priorities which includes collaboration with partners including Lincolnshire,
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough leveraging the existing strengths of Agri-tech E to realise the collective power
of the area as the UK centre for hi-tech precision agriculture and food production. This will help to develop a
regional narrative and will include case studies. Within the plan, the council is looking at the Clean Growth
Agenda and the opportunities arising out of farming. It includes cross opportunities and high-level objectives.
Working with Savills, an important new study is underway on our competitive advantage and value chain
opportunities. A final report is due mid-October, and this will inform our future work. Other areas of focus
Supporting the development of translational activity on the Norwich Research Park linked to the
redevelopment of research facilities.
Continuing to develop regional links and explore opportunities for collaborations regionally and nationally.
Starting to develop the Food Innovation and Cluster development elements of the Food Innovation Centre
The Food Enterprise Park (FEP)- Clarke Willis
The world is increasing in population and urbanisation, we have food poverty and climate change global issues.
There is an increased demand for energy, food, and water. In 50 years’, time the world population will require
100% more food and 70% must come from energy efficient technology. There are only 85 harvests left and in
100 years we will probably not be growing anything in soil.
There has been much challenge around supply chains, as an industry, agri- food has worked well through the
pandemic, but there is a price to pay and it gets lower each day and creates challenges. The main concern at
present sits with the uncertainty around Brexit.
The global food and drinks supply chain does not start at the farm gate but with science, and the power in the
supply chain is the consumers who are making the decisions. In this part of the country there are many small
businesses who are struggling to get to the next stage.
The food chain is of vital importance to the UK economy. It has: 3.6 million employees;
A Gross Value Added (GVA) of £121bn
Over 250,000+ businesses in the food chain from field to packet
170,000 businesses in catering and food retail
It is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and the percentage of UK agriculture in the region is as follows:
•20% of UK peas and beans
•21% of UK wheat
•22% of UK potatoes
•24% of UK salads and vegetables
•65% of UK sugar beet
•19% of UK poultry production (44% turkeys, 48% geese and 49% of ducks)
•22% of UK pig production
East Anglia is very good at harvesting the crop however is not strong at processing and the crops grown are
moving to other parts of the country as well as Europe to be processed and valued. This challenge sits behind
the idea of the Food Enterprise Park.
Food Enterprise Park
The Food Enterprise Park (FEP) is a 100-acre development site within the Greater Norwich Food Enterprise Zone.
Situated to the West of Easton with planned duelling of A47 giving direct access to a new junction. The first 46
acres benefits from a Local Development Order (LDO) to encourage food production, processing, and
distribution through the co-location of commercial enterprises. Site development started in February 2019 with
the infrastructure completed on the first phase and the building of Condimentum Limited on a 3-acre plot.
We are also involved in energy; we have taken energy from south of the A47. Our task at present is a large PV
site and we have the cables coming through from Sheringham’s Shoal which can give us 30mgb.
Agri-food & Skills
There is an active programme around skills and Eastern & Otley College along with Suffolk Rural have grown the
number of students coming in this year which is positive.
Food Innovation Centre
A key element of the New Anglia LEP Industrial Strategy will be the Food Innovation Centre, which will be built
on the Food Enterprise Park. 36,000 sq. ft of lettable space with 14 food grade “incubation” units targeted at
growth-ready food and drink companies. A Business Engagement Hub will coordinate support to not only
tenants but also any Agri-Food business as part of a Food and Drink Sector Support Project. Partners running the
hub are Hethel Innovation and UEA. Facility will be owned by Broadland District Council. We are currently
awaiting a final ERDF Grant decision -build start early 2021 and completion early 2022. It is not just for the
residents on the site, world leading cluster and innovation is very important.
There are some challenges ahead, the key will be to reinvent the food system. In 50 years’, time we will not be
eating lamb and beef but eating out of labs and crops will not be grown in soil. Innovation is not just bringing a
variety to yield, but a revolution in agriculture.
Ian Pease mentioned that he would be interested to hear more about the clean energy links, specifically the PV
site and would like to explore this further offline.
Sarah Steed confirmed that there are two sorts of innovation in food processing, cost driven (by retailers) and
consumer driven by blue sky innovation in food. The latter is more costly and used to take place in this region.
Asked, how can the innovation board help to stimulate consumer driven innovation in this region?
Clarke Willis felt that part of the challenge is that we are building commodities - lorry loads go to Leicester and
get processed and some frozen chips come from Holland. We need a good freezer plant - to freeze
David Parfrey added that clarity was required for the region as to what we are trying to achieve with our Place,
and what our people can do.
Clarke Willis added that there are no places of learning or industry partners in this part of the country. There is a
need to be clear about what we are doing and to look into breeding crops in a controlled environment because it
is the future.
Howard Partridge confirmed that Agri-Tech centres are similar to Catapult Centres of Excellence. There is a need
to think beyond the bounds of the LEP, the region needs to engage with the centres. A “pull” element is
The Chair mentioned the creation of the industrial strategy, its three high value opportunity areas help to
provide the focus. There is a lot more to do to chase down the opportunities to ensure we create some positive
noise to help understand the stats.
David Parfrey confirmed that action is missing, and the responsibility sits with all. A need for a coherent plan of
action looking at what are we trying to achieve versus the outcome we are looking for. To re-design food and
look at what the world is going to look like in 2050 and beyond.
The Chair mentioned that within the January LEP Board meeting at the beginning of the year, it was clear that
2020 was going to be the year to get stuff done and then the pandemic hit.
Emma Taylor confirmed that the report with Savills will be granular and that we are at the point of delivering
projects with interesting things to come.
The Chair explained that there is a number of synergies between food and energy, that there has not been a
discussion about how industry councils can collaborate regarding power, heat, and emissions. For example, heat
can be harnessed to support food production. Early R&D projects are looking at atmospherics, this could be
something interesting that could link into solar. Hydrogen to ammonia fuels too, there is synergy to explore.
36% of the regions CO2 emissions is in agri-culture. It will be interesting to see what more we can do with food
producers and sustainability. Perhaps the Agri-food council could help drive this.
Clarke Willis explained that part of the challenge is that we are trying to encourage a generation who has been
used to blue bags, we will not see big combines and tractors in 30-40 years’ time. There is need for re-thinking
and education, a challenging time with a revolution and not evolution to not move it back. Once the vision is
there with lead from the front it could happen.
Innovation Board Delivery Plan Updates
3a Sunrise Coast SiP Fund- Colette Matthewman
SuNRISE Coast - 08
Sept - LEP Innovation
In 2017 Government published the Industrial Strategy, which set out a number of commitments including a
competitive £115m per annum Strength in Places Fund to support areas to build on their science and innovation
strengths and develop stronger local networks.
Led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Strength in Places Fund is a competitive funding scheme that takes a
place-based approach to research and innovation funding, to support significant local economic growth.
SuNRISE Coast Programme is a Suffolk & Norfolk research and innovation programme on the sustainable energy
Coast. A £29m research and innovation programme over 5 years (from late-2021), which is led by the UEA. It is
focussed on the Southern North Sea and the region’s clean energy and marine sector, bringing together the first
major project with 3x world leading research organisations and local industry. It directly delivers against the
Local Industrial Strategy with an objective on clean energy and innovation. It is being run in collaboration with
ORE Catapult, Cefas and EEEGR working with Opergy on programme development. It received support from New
Anglia LEP and the All Energy Industry Council.
Looking at LIS more widely, the SuNRISE Coast Programme looks to deliver against clean energy, aqua-food and
digital creative. It went through the expression of interest stage and had positive feedback that the bid was
considered highly innovative and exceptional. There is lots of work to be completed to get the full bid together,
it was one of 17 bids to get through SEED corn stage. New Anglia LEP funding will aid it to get through the next
phase of the bid. It has three core themes as follows:
Theme 1 “ Digital Energy Coast”
Significantly enhance data acquisition and analytics, mapping existing sensor networks, observation and
monitoring devices and aggregating datasets to create an ’SNS Data Observatory’ combining met-ocean,
wind/wave/weather, bird/fish/mammal, air/water quality data.
Improve access to data and work with researchers to inform future modelling, forecasting, development
applications and improved logistics and supply chain operations.
Pioneer development of ‘e-Lighthouses’ to support auto-navigation of autonomous drones (terrestrial,
aerial, and subsea) working in the SNS.
Theme 2 “Marine Biodiversity Net Gain?”
Enhancing our understanding of the current and future relationships between energy and marine
biodiversity and ecology, and coastal processes, allowing for co-ordinated environmental risk management.
New sustainable business opportunities in ‘aqua-tech’, will create new jobs delivering new and integrated
seafood production options.
With industry we will develop and pilot new multi-use scenarios such as;
the application of seaweed, seagrass, and shellfish farming with offshore wind;
innovative approaches to coastal resilience;
enable options for greater ‘co-existence’, and opportunities to use ‘bio-fouling’ as a part of the natural
explore the potential benefits of artificial reefs for marine protection to create safe ‘biodiversity havens’ and
‘fish nurseries’.
Theme 3 “Future Clean Energy Tech”
Developing novel energy solutions for the SNS, leveraging wider offshore renewables innovation relevant to
local industry needs.
Priorities include greater alignment of offshore infrastructure, including:
Testing/enabling new technologies e.g. offshore wind, gas2wire, floating solar.
Coastal grid Infrastructure for connectivity and energy storage (batteries/hydrogen).
Seawater desalination, and hydrogen production (using large scale wind and existing natural gas subsea
Circular economy through offshore recommissioning of redundant assets
Driving the energy transition - an integrated approach to the Southern North Sea
Three Strategic Themes / Six Delivery ‘Work Packages’:
WP1: Programme Governance & Management
WP2: Communications & Dissemination
WP3: Scenario Forecasting
WP4: Rethinking Regulatory Frameworks
WP5: Innovation Fund
WP6: Translation Fund
Slide 14 shows the potential WP 5&6 two stage approach. This is still to be confirmed.
Innovation Board support is really important to get a strong message out to the region. The purpose of the fund
is to drive economic growth in the region. Our ask of the Innovation Board is:
To provide a letter of support.
Spread the word, demonstrate strong industry engagement, and ensure councillors understand the benefits.
That the Board can support the Advisory Board going forward.
Can you explain aquaculture? - wild fish, farmed seaweed, and shellfish.
David Parfrey- there is need to drive the understanding of fish and food from within the sea. Delighted to be part
of the project. Need to look beyond regional endorsement and those in the energy sector.
David Carlin- East Suffolk Council, Plymouth University and Suffolk University have an academic presence in
Lowestoft focused on marine science, with a feast of talent and potential in the region. I would like to share
more at the next innovation board about this project.
The Board confirmed they are happy to provide a letter of support. The Chair referred to the next item on the
agenda and that the Board papers 3b, 3d and 3e are for information only.
3c Connected Innovation
This piece of work is about how we join up the innovation hubs and centres of excellence including the
smaller/emerging hubs, for example, Stowmarket Innovation Labs. It will look to employ dedicated resource who
can work across the hubs to join the dots. With regards to the Innovation Prospectus, we will be going out to
tender to get the right company to pull all this information together. We should have a draft prospectus at the
next board.
Ian Pease asked if there was any additional scope to evolve the project? Julian Munson confirmed that nothing
set in stone. In terms of connecting up the hubs, happy to talk offline about this further. There is a clear link into
the industry council for digital tech too and we are working with Tech East.
Provide a letter of support for the SuNRISE Coast Programme
JM to follow up with IP regarding the Connected Innovation project and identify
possible ideas to evolve/expand
UKRI and Innovate UK Update
UK_update New Angli
26 Competitions are open at present, Smart Grants with £25m available; food production, Agri-tech Catalyst is
open and Women in Innovation awards are back open.
Top tips for applying for funding- read the scope, make sure idea is eligible for the funding. Answer all the
questions and do not miss the deadline. Would set all in good scope if time were taken to look through all of
Money is being put into the area with focus on manufacturing and clean growth.
Ref the spending review think about places and clusters as there may be further rounds in future. Enterprise
Europe Network are helping businesses to grow, they are well connected to the Growth Hub. Run a lot of
webinars to promote that EEN are there to help SME’s to grow. KTN is all about connections for innovation and
EEN is there to support SME’s.
3 N/A
Future Board Items
5a Innovation Board Governance
There is much more innovation happening in the public sector and often at Local Authority level and we think
there might be greater scope from local authorities to connect up with the innovation hubs etc. We would like
to invite an additional senior level representative to the Innovation Board. Specifically, from Suffolk County
Council alongside Norfolk County Council (to both represent the public sector)
The Board confirmed that they are all in agreement.
The Restart Plan is short term for 2020 to support local companies and is an immediate intervention phase.
Discussions are being had around the medium plan at present. We do need to see investment projects
happening, and quick delivery is underway now. Happy to bring this back to the innovation board as things
progress with the recovery plan.
Letter to SCC inviting a representative
Innovation Board Member Update
Things have picked up, still some financial challenges and work on new site continues. Progress is being made
with completion end of September.
Nothing to update - NUA/Norwich Research Park.
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