New Anglia Innovation Board
Tuesday 14th September 2021 14:00-16:00
By MS Teams
David Carlin
Science Director
James Allen
Innovation & Sector Manager
New Anglia LEP
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
Laura Hill
Innovation Mentoring Project Manager
Norfolk County Council
David Taitt
Chairman at Hethel Innovation
Hethel Innovation
Ian Pease
Business Development Manager
Jo Middleton
Economic Policy and Strategy Manager
Norfolk County Council
Andy Holyland
Regional Manager
ORE Catapult
Julie Schofield
Head of Business Partnerships
Johnathan Reynolds (Chair)
LEP Board Member
New Anglia LEP
Katie Snell
Innovation and Sector Coordinator
New Anglia LEP
Lisa Roberts
Head of Strategy
New Anglia LEP
Sarah Steed
Director of Innovation and Engagement
Norwich University of the Arts
Helen Lewis
Director of Research and Innovation Division
University of Suffolk
Prof. Mohammad Dastbaz
Deputy Vice- Chancellor
Suffolk County Council
Mark Ash
Executive Director of Growth, Highways &
Norfolk County Council
Vince Muspratt
Assistant Director, Growth & Development
Prof. Fiona Lettice
Pro-Vice Chancellor
Welcome from the Chair - Introductions, Apologies & Minutes
Johnathan Reynolds (Chair) welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies were noted.
Minutes agreed.
Innovation Strategy
This part of the agenda will focus on the Renewal Plan and how we take it forward. Questions have been
circulated prior to this session for your consideration.
JM presented specific slides on the Governments Innovation Strategy which is now live. The UK Innovation
Strategy sets out the first steps in the plan for the UK to build back better and innovate, with the following 4
Pillar 1: Unleashing Business - fuelling businesses who want to innovate. It will look to:
Increase annual public investment on R&D to a record £22 billion.
Reduce complexity for innovative companies by developing an online finance and innovation hub
between Innovate UK and British Business Bank in the next 12 months. And expanding Innovate UK
EDGE, working alongside Growth Hubs in England, to accelerate growth in innovative businesses.
Invest £200 million through the British Business Bank’s Life Sciences Investment Programme to target
the growth-stage funding gap faced by UK life science companies.
Reforming Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), building on their valuable work to date. Improving
quality and access to the business support schemes delivered through Growth Hubs.
Pillar 2: People - making the UK the most exciting place for innovation talent. Welcomes the focus on the skills
agenda and attracting skilled talent. It will look to:
Introduce new High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes and revitalise the Innovator route to
attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent.
Support, through Help to Grow: Management, 30,000 senior managers of small and medium-sized firms
to boost their business’ performance, resilience, and growth͘
The Gatsby Foundation will continue to support centres of innovation to work with industry and training
providers to expand industry’s capacity to foresight its emerging skills needs͘
Pillar 3: Institutions & Places - ensuring our research, development, and innovation institutions serve the needs
of businesses and places across the UK. It will look to:
Invest £25 million of funding to the Connecting Capability Fund to help drive economic growth through
university-business innovation.
Undertake R&D FDI promotion activities to ensure a coherent and effectively targeted approach to
attracting key companies and investors.
Undertake an independent review, led by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the
Francis Crick Institute, looking across the landscape of UK organisations undertaking all forms of
research, development, and innovation.
Pillar 4: Missions & Technologies - stimulating innovation to tackle major challenges faced by the UK and the
world and drive capability in key technologies. It will look to:
Establish an innovation Missions programme coordinated by a new National and Technology Council to
tackle some of the most significant issues confronting the UK and the world in the coming years.
Identify the key seven technology families that will transform our economy in the future. (See next slide)
Launched eight new Prosperity Partnerships to establish business-led research projects to develop
transformational modern technologies, with £59 millions of industry, university, and government
Seven Technologies
The UK Innovation Strategy has identified seven technology families where the UK has globally competitive R&D
and industrial strength. They are listed as follows:
Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
AI, Digital and Advanced Computing
Bioinformatics and Genomics
Engineering Biology
Electronics, Photonics and Quantum
Energy and Environment Technologies
Robotics and Smart Machines
On the Briefing Note circulated with the Board papers, there are ideas of where the technology families map
into some of the work that we are currently doing. Lots of discussion around the space sector, marine science
and aqua - culture. It is about us positioning ourselves for the supply chain opportunities. For example, Innovate
UK programme, KTN partnerships are very welcome. For the HPO we could look at how we attract inward
investment but also how we can build relationships with other programmes.
JM went on to present what these technology families could mean for our innovation hubs and for Norfolk and
Suffolk as well as on what the Innovation Strategy could mean for Norfolk and Suffolk.
Comments/Questions from members of the Board:
Positive regarding the expansion of Innovate Edge and the Catapult review. Talent and skills for
innovation is new for Innovate UK. We have strengths in those areas, we need to think about maps,
access to funding and finance but this should all be OK. The levelling up white paper and spending
review will reveal more.
Pillar one, regarding reform of the LEPs around innovation and role of growth hubs; we need to think
about how we deliver against innovation priorities, including role of Growth Hub versus high growth
opportunities via the Innovation Board. There is a need for blending of the two. Think of it in context of
the renewal plan and the wider LEP review. How we deliver against innovation, needs to be thought
about at same time. Innovation led skills versus the Skills Advisory Panel, what is the role in SAP?
Structural comments here for consideration.
The Innovation Strategy does not mention LEPs much. Everyone around this table will have to deliver
against this work whether LEP’s be involved or not͘ Innovate UK will have a role on adoption of
innovation. Will need to work with partners to engage with businesses. Or those who have invented to
help them push their innovations to market. We have very few clues about what will come out in
Renewal Plan
Lisa Roberts presented on the Renewal Plan in terms of the context as follows:
In March 2021 Government published its Build Back Better: Plan for Growth which replaced the National
Industrial strategy - of which much of the essence is reflected in their new plan. It sets out the government’s
plans to support economic growth through significant investment in what they call the three pillars of growth -
infrastructure, skills, and innovation. In addition to these, government has set out three long-term policy
objectives that they want growth to deliver - the People’s Priorities:
Levelling up - the UK government’s most important mission is to unite and level up the country, improving
everyday life for communities throughout the UK and ensuring everyone can succeed regardless of where they
Supporting Net Zero - the UK will continue to be at the forefront of tackling climate change and is already a
world leader in clean growth.
Global Britain - Focusing on global investment and trade.
Government is committed to setting clear metrics to monitor progress which the Renewal Plan will need to take
account of going forward. In addition to the plan, government has set out a programme of national strategies
and plans which will be published in the next 12 months. The government’s evolving approach to national and
local funding provides both challenges and opportunities but reinforces the importance of collaboration and
smart thinking to ensure we can secure investment for all parts of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Despite the challenges of the past year, from an economic strategy perspective we are in a strong position. The
Economic Strategy, Local Industrial Strategy, and the Restart Plan all provide a solid foundation for us to build
They set the blueprint for our shared vision to drive clean, inclusive, productive economic growth across Norfolk
and Suffolk. Pledging to work together to transform our growing economy into one of the best places in the
world to live, work, learn and succeed in business.
During the development of the Restart plan, partners all agreed that the vision, aspirations, and strengths set
out in these still stand firmly. But our actions and interventions need to evolve and adapt.
The pandemic has changed how we live and work in ways that will alter our behaviour long after the pandemic
Skills, Innovation, Business Support, Infrastructure and Place all remain important ingredients to achieving our
vision and ambitions. But we will need to evolve the language to align with different audiences and with
government’s Plan for Growth͘
We have a convincing evidence base to build on which we will need to evolve and adapt the narrative to position
Norfolk and Suffolk as a place with potential.
To date the strong collaboration across Norfolk and Suffolk has proven to be a competitive advantage in securing
more than our fair share of funding and recognition for strong delivery. This will become more important going
forward not just locally but nationally too.
The next slide set out the approach to developing the Economic Renewal Plan and it was explained as
The change in national policy context is an opportunity for us to move our strategies and plans to the next level.
The approach that we are proposing to develop the Renewal plan is - consolidate, refine and agile
The Renewal plan will not be a new strategy but an evolved plan which will consolidate the Economic Strategy,
Local Industrial Strategy, and the Restart plan into one.
It will look to refine our ambitions and strengths helping to focus actions and interventions where the biggest
gains and impact can be achieved.
We will need to review and agree what success looks like and how we measure it.
We need to remain agile to the continually changing landscape being able to adapt the actions and interventions
as the circumstances change.
The renewal plan needs to be co-designed from bottom up and clearly define the distinct roles of partners to
maximise our efforts and resources and achieve efficiencies.
The LEP are currently doing engagement sessions which will conclude in September, with a final plan in October.
In November, the plan will be shared with partners, with sign off and publishing in January.
Context Setting Business Innovation
The pandemic has changed the mindset of a lot of businesses and how they innovate. There is an opportunity for
businesses to shape the journey to net zero. A slide showed examples of the impact achieved through current
interventions and highlighted activities which should continue or need to evolve and any activity which should
stop as they are no longer a priority nor supports delivery of our ambitions.
Reference was made as to how we scale up, if there any opportunities to put in bids or seek public/private
sector funding. Any research or commercial opportunities or ways to build up the CI project future and scale up
for FIT4OR supply chain.
Questions to the Board:
How can we enhance and promote cross-sector innovation and emerging technologies to support economic
growth in our key sectors?
We need to think about cross border and see what else we need to connect to within our innovation
work? Other catapults or centres where it adds value to our key sectors.
Most LEPs do not look beyond its own boundaries, how many businesses in your area understands
where businesses and projects work with others.
CI project is trying to address some of this, but it is about mapping where funding opportunities are
coming from, a consolidation exercise could be carried out. Aim to create an eco-system of innovators,
there is something more that can be done to connect key innovators together. Create a network to help
bring the great minds together.
Tech East are reaching out to diverse groups to understand challenges to create some challenges for
companies to work on. No reason this cannot be enhanced or amplified. Encourage collaboration across
other sectors like Tech East - they could run innovation challenges for other sectors to get involved in.
Not necessarily all tech companies but tech companies can work with other sectors to help with those
Is there a centralised register of what is going on in way of research/innovation centres? Be useful to
know what is happening elsewhere.
One comment ref ERP is that Digital Creative in document is very thin. Lots of data has come out
recently, from Norfolk County Council Film Assets and could be reflected in the insights and where to
invest. Happy to discuss with Lisa Roberts.
Cross sector innovation happens when people look at problems, we need more hackathons͘ KTN’s
innovation exchange looks at challenges, SBRI funding for innovation ideas.
In supporting long term economic growth, we need to look at the skills workforce, this is challenge, and
we need a high scale workforce. Need think about the long-term strategy around skills.
Virtual versus horizontals. Energy, Agri, ICT are all areas where we need to think who the people are to
deliver those long term. Especially higher value roles.
Re skills. Sometimes specific areas are missing. How do we make use of talent that we already have or
make use of new talent coming through, needs to be more about organisational development? Skills
always end up looking at FE and apprenticeships, but we need to think about the right infrastructure
rather than looking at the same areas.
The theme for 2021 has been about connecting the dots. Chairs of the Sub-boards and Boards are now
meeting to help connect the dots.
UEA did a piece of work which looked at bed blocking to understand behaviours around jobs (graduates
taking up non-graduate jobs). Might be worth looking into this.
Look at the gate way to growth working with SMEs to help understand recruitment needs and get the
right talent into organisations. Helped with disconnect between skill sets, reality and how to make the
process easier in recruiting the talent. Could be rolled out?
Further analysis being done within the LEP focusing on skills and clean growth vacancies. A piece of
work could be looked at around graduates. Lisa, Sarah, and Helen will look at this.
How can we encourage and support the application of science, research, and technology to boost our
innovation ecosystem and clusters?
We are a long way off understanding what partners are doing. Need to be careful in terms of what the
purpose would be in collating any date information as mentioned above.
How are we making sure that those outside of the region know what we have and how are we
encouraging people to find out? There is an opportunity at the Enterprise Festival this can help us to
engage. There is more opportunity to reach out. Need to put down what the regions offer is in a way all
understand with language and plain English.
The Chair asked Lisa Perkins if there were any issues around language. Lisa Perkins confirmed this was
not a massive barrier.
Look from both sides, why would they engage with each other? Because of an opportunity and/or a
benefit. What can the Innovation Board do to help develop challenges that people can get involved in?
Need something addressing the drivers that brings people forward. Supply chains for example, can
people come forward with a proposal around a challenge model?
Grow on space has been identified as a key challenge for the innovation centres. What would be the key
requirements for grow on space - what, where, when?
David Parfrey confirmed that demand is greater than pre - covid. NRP are converting some of larger offices
into small units as demand is for smaller space. Businesses are using less footprint. NRP are converting part of
bike shed to use for science space. It is impossible to create a commercial lettable space on commercial
investment, as the sums do not work. Got to find a way of making it possible to create new space.
Land is not an issue but who is paying for it is the big challenge. Sector is fine but we need innovative funding
David Tait confirmed that grow on space is a problem for Hethel. Businesses need bigger space however do
not want to leave as they value the clustering experience. Occupancy rate between 90 -95% occupancy.
Flexibility is key, being part of community is key. The private property development sites are not always
meeting needs. Public sector intervention could be to ensure businesses get what they need in the private
sector to help with this market failure to help the landlord and tenant. Requires big vision and capital
Through CI a targeted questionnaire on what is in the pipeline for Board members could be sent around this
table to understand the size of the gap?
Success is building a community that is bigger than the site itself. It is about community and clustering
without being next door to each other, easier now with the virtual approach.
How can the innovation centres help to deliver the region’s aspirations on clean growth?
Lisa Roberts confirmed that the above question was posed to businesses and SMEs to better understand the
connection between innovation and clean growth. The LEP is looking to try and help connect the two as there is a
need to try and support businesses to let them know they can access technology and help them innovate. Keen to
hear what we can do in the innovation space to help businesses?
Everything is getting badged with clean growth and net zero. Need to make a choice about wording so stands
out as exemplar or high-profile schemes need to think of language. Green credentials are attractive to
businesses - a genuine interest from businesses and banks are looking at green funds. LEP needs to think
about what it has and what has not worked.
Innovation Board Member Updates
Focusing on stabilising park and prepping for enterprise/building.
Hethel Innovation
No updates
Moving forward on food innovation cluster recruitment which is positive.
Norfolk County Council
CRF- no feedback, waiting on report.
Innovation Grant Mentoring Programme - received 130 reg. 12 companies actively supporting.
Two businesses moving into large space.
Resuming networking events with EEEGR and Generate.
UK wind week 25th - 29th Oct. Day dedicated to wind/wider net zero
Hydrogen East project - Power Park in Lowestoft working on together. Starting to identify opportunities and
challenges around green hydrogen.
University of Suffolk
Seven new professors joined, one for sustainability, energy, and development.
Official launch of Digi tech centre in October.
155 businesses at Innovation Martlesham.
Healthy pipeline, lots coming through, hosting National Timing Centre for example.
HPO some attraction, hosting Canadian delegations.
Virtual Science Festival in October.
Opened new drones and robotics test centre
Plea to Suffolk colleagues - re festival of Suffolk for celebration of the Queen. Idea is to bring big and small
businesses together to create opportunities and looking at skills too. Anyone like to be involved then please
let BT know.
2 To reiterate message to SME’s that they can go to Innovate Edge to find out about funding - KS/JA
Innovate UK Update
No updates to provide.
Business as usual.
Competitions are still running.
Awaiting announcements in the forthcoming Spending Review.
KTN - knowledge transfer. Do what catapults do. SMEs should start with Innovate Edge. Companies should go
to edge and find out how they can be helped.