New Anglia Innovation Board

Tuesday 5th April 2022 14:00-16:00 EpiCentre, Haverhill & via MS Teams



David Taitt Chairman Hethel Innovation

James Allen Innovation & Sector Manager New Anglia LEP

Julian Munson Head Enterprise Zones & Innovation New Anglia LEP Howard Partridge Regional Manager Innovate UK

Kelly Boosey Jo Middleton Scott Cogman

Johnathan Reynolds (Chair) Katie Snell

Julie Schofield

Prof. Mohammad Dastbaz Jai Raithatha

Lisa Perkins Jo Middleton

Apologies: Vince Muspratt Lisa Roberts Tim Green Sarah Steed Ian Pease Helen Lewis

Prof. Fiona Lettice

Centre Manager (Guest)

Economic Policy and Strategy Manager Project Coordinator

LEP Board Member

Innovation and Sector Coordinator Director of Business Intelligence

Director of Research and Innovation Division Head of Economic Development

Director of Innovation and Engagement Economic Strategy & Policy Manager

Director of Growth & Development Head of Strategy

Deputy CEO

Director of Innovation and Engagement Business Development Manager

Director of Research and Innovation Division Pro-Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation


Norfolk County Council New Anglia LEP

New Anglia LEP New Anglia LEP UEA

University of Suffolk Suffolk County Council BT

Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council New Anglia LEP


Norwich University of the Arts OrbisEnergy



Welcome from the Chair – Introductions, Apologies & Minutes

  • First proper hybrid meeting.

  • Roundtable & virtual introductions.

  • Apologies.


Kelly Boosey (introduction to The EpiCentre):

  • Introduced The EpiCentre which is part of SQW Consulting and Oxford Innovation – providing also funded SME support programmes, business advice, innovation centres and angel network.

  • Just won the contract for the Launch Pad in Southend, ICKG is in Colchester and obviously The EpiCentre is in Haverhill – all in the East of England.

  • Oxford Innovation want to apply similar tactics to OI network, across their whole portfolio.

  • At 40% occupancy (Apr 22).

  • Undertaken a lab expansion project. Huge amount of demand for this – 2 spaces taken already, before they have even advertised.

  • 3 Growing Sectors:

    • Life Sciences

    • Games Company on site who wants to build a MoCap Studio on the site. Could build an incubator space for gaming. Currently not keeping gaming students in the East. Studio could really facilitate sectoral development.

  • Workshop Space ‘demand led.’

  • Needs from Innovation Board:

    • Where is the next pool of talent to fill the gaps in business to support growth?

    • What will keep businesses in the region?

      • Grow on space

      • Inward investment

      • Norfolk & Suffolk on the map

      • Other like-minded businesses (‘connected innovation’ initiative)

    • Raising profile – visibility in the network e.g., recent UK Science Parks Association Conference, Ox-Cam Arc did not mention ‘The EpiCentre.’

      • Connected Innovation initiative has helped raise profile through campaign work.

        Julie Schofield:

  • Should map out the CI network in more detail including information such as HPO at NRP.

    David Taitt:

  • Complementary spaces given Hethel do not have lab space.

  • Asked about affordability of offering and grow-on space offering.

  • Hethel is starting to look at other geographic areas e.g., BSE with West Suffolk Council. Would love to coordinate over this offering.

    Julian Munson:

  • Grow-on space – important the Innovation Board takes this as a key priority moving forward.

  • We need to do more to help the CodiKoats of the future who will grow too big for The EpiCentre soon as their staff go from 30 to 100.

    Kelly Boosey:

  • Should hook on to likes of Jaynic given their exciting opportunities across the region e.g., Suffolk Park at BSE and Gateway14 at Stowmarket.


Julian Munson - Regional Innovation & Levelling Up:

  • We discussed the Innovation Strategy back in the summer. We have practically applied the strategy and technology families in our work e.g., connected innovation.

  • Need everyone to benefit from levelling up agenda. See risks in comprehensive spending review which

    talked about a greater share of the record R&D spending going outside the ‘Greater South-East’ (London,

    SE, and East). See challenges for our LEP area given the statistics.

  • Chris Starkie and Julian Munson have both been in communication with George Freeman in recent weeks. He is keen to hold two national roundtables with relevant government departments and business leaders in places. Working on the business case for further discussion. Need to shine a light on inequalities on innovation in our region. We have several data sets which compares Norfolk and Suffolk with other regions.

  • Linking in non-innovative businesses with innovation programmes and support.

  • Howard - Innovate UK has published their action plan setting out their role and being more pivotal in joining up the landscape, levering government innovation spend, etc.


Board Member Updates

Jai Raithatha, SCC

  • Orbis – doing well in terms of tenancies. Somewhere in the region of 94% occupancy now. New tenants moving in and virtual tenants signing up.

  • Received positive feedback around Suffolk Innovation Spaces meetings.

    David Taitt, Hethel

  • 99% occupancy at Hethel and Scottow – desperately need grow-on space.

  • Put on screen the illustration and site plan of Phase 4 grow-on space at Hethel - 94,000 sq. ft lettable.

  • Enables companies that would otherwise leave the cluster to stay and move into larger premises.

  • 4 anchor tenants ready to move into the space already (out of Phase 3 into Phase 4) – hope it will be ready in 18 months.

  • Purchased the land from Lotus. Pulling together planning application and way of financing project.

  • Further from realisation – would love to see Hethel-type activities elsewhere. Talking to Stowmarket, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, and Bury St Edmunds. Also involved in the Broadland Food Innovation Centre. Want to ensure that hubs/centres complement one another and do not tread on toes.

    Lisa Perkins, BT

  • UoS relationship blossoms – soon launching ecolab smart house building (trying to find a cool name for this). Think they have secured further funding to sustain project from a sustainability angle.

  • DigiHealth Innovation Hub on site. Laser focused nucleus of bringing brains together around health and challenges – which technologies might help. Universities will join. Trusts will join. Opportunity to bring in technology friends and innovation companies. University of Suffolk and University of East Anglia are all-in on this. Co-funded by other parts of BT. Wants region to connect in.

  • Commissioned internally to create Digital Industries Hub – like above, but with digital industries lens. Will allow them to bring SMEs to collaborate and find cool solutions and to test and trial.

  • Given accountability for Showcase in London. Great joined up story to enthuse/wow people that can only make it as far as London, to then drive them for a wider reveal at Adastral Park

Mohammad Dastbaz, UoS

  • Launched institute for Health and Wellbeing. 100 people in attendance including researchers and those from institutes.

  • Other projects underway with new centres elsewhere, update to be provided at next meeting.

  • Running a course on AI and Data Science, 700 applicants for the course. Target was 30 students. Puts Suffolk on the map and brings students to the region.

    Julie Schofield, UEA

  • Final stages of SETI business case. Metro dynamics to get draft of final report by end of the week.

    Looking to extend workshops around this.

  • Food Innovation Centre and Cluster programme funded until June 2023.

  • Lots of work taking place on NRP to grow businesses. Rostra for businesses who can provide expertise to the business community. Some interesting pitches so far.

  • Ref Levelling Up and UKSPF – interested to hear what is happening in Suffolk. Looking at how people and skills can be looked at in a coherent way in Norfolk.

  • Launched a competition 3 weeks ago, “World Changes”– looks at sustainability. Students being supported by Mentors; they must pitch first. Looks to grow enterprise and students.

  • Suffolk similar position ref UKSPF. Challenge in that all are producing investment plans, and some are county wide and some are two counties wide. Running workshops – considering local level thinking and county and two county wide activity.

    Jo Middleton, NCC

  • UKSPF workshop running on the 13th, good attendance with skills providers and SCC reps.

  • Facing similar challenges in Suffolk. Be surprised if more than £1m per LA for the fund, need to make

the money work.


Innovation and Clean Growth

  • UNIPC Report headlines are worrying. Norfolk and Suffolk entire budget 58.4M tonnes of CO2. Last emissions report 2019 figures reported carbon at 9.9m tonnes for N&S. We will use this entire budget soon which is supposed to last until 20100.

  • Need to think about what we need to do around Innovation to provide a transformational rapid impact.

    Clean growth is an option and Net Zero is a legal obligation.

  • Travel/Transport emissions going in the wrong direction, we have much greater control at the local level.

  • Need to define what we mean around Clean Growth and Net Zero as there is a local misunderstanding about the definitions.

  • BT were asked what the insight was from a digital perspective.

  • BT consumes 1% of national energy. Adastral consumes a substantial proportion too. Clean growth is a big topic.

  • BT happy to set up a meeting between teams to look at what can be shared and done collectively.

  • Want Adastral Park to be a centre of excellence on the Clean Growth and Net Zero topic. There is a need to get people together in this clean growth space to share best practice and raise awareness. An event, three big sprints around key priorities, a hothouse.

  • Technology is a challenge in terms of carbon footprint. Electricity for internet 2.99m megawatts and 2.322600tn for use of the internet. Data provides an idea of the challenge.

  • Dr Nicola Millard good speaker for hothouse event.

  • Suggested hothouses at different remote locations (around the hubs network) with different topics for the event will prevent travel requirements, supporting clean growth.

  • Ref SMES. Climate emergency plan has been backed by LAs and LEPS.

  • Need to engage SMEs to help organisations and obtain buy in. Need to target these companies.

  • SELEP and BEE Anglia resource programmes have had minor impact on emissions. Need an improved approach.

  • An event focused on businesses and what they are doing in their sector as well as practical steps would be helpful. Looking at grand challenges.

  • Suggested the CRF feeds into this, Ellen Goodwin to highlight projects and pass onto Innovation Board.


Freeport East Business Case

  • Inward investment, Skills and Economic Data and Innovation Chapters have been led by the New Anglia LEP teams.

  • James and Katie working on the innovation chapter.

  • Submitted draft, with a final submission due mid-April.

    Space Strategy

  • LEP commissioned piece of work for the region with consultants AstroAgency.

  • Most of the work is based on downstream technology e.g., satellite applications. Some upstream such as launch facility opportunity in Norfolk.

  • Includes support from Cefas, Orbis, Marine science and Adastral Park and the clusters around this site.

  • UoS and UEA actively involved.

  • Visit arranged for next few weeks at Adastral Park in May with Satellite Applications Catapult.

  • More substantive item at next IB meeting.

  • This sector links to other sector groups, hydrogen for example.

    George Freeman MP

  • Wrote to before Christmas regarding concerns on funding for research and innovation and impact on Norfolk and Suffolk.

  • Letter highlighted uneven distribution of funding for innovation.

  • Constructive letter with ask to consider region as a pilot for distribution of innovation support.

  • Response received, like to use East of England for a roundtable discussion (not just here but in the north of England too).

    Levelling up Agenda

  • Clarity still to be provided from government as to what funding looks like for innovation (local/regional).

    Delivery Plan

  • Come back with any questions/comments if you have any. Especially if there are any gaps.

  • It is a cohesive plan for N&S. This template is being used at the Connected Innovation level too.


  • Two of three themes from the Sunrise Coast programme are very digital and can be used to build into SETI.


Connected Innovation Update

  • Project progress continues to exceed initial outputs and expectations – collaborations and engagements with wider organisations now exceeds forecasted two-year output within the first 12 months (see Highlights slide).

  • Since the last Innovation Board meeting the network has continued to expand with the Broadland Food Innovation Centre and MENTA hubs joining – (see map for list of hubs and centres).

  • There is a list of ‘emerging / prospective’ hubs and centres in the pipeline to join the network as they

    come online (see Innovation Hubs – Pipeline slide).

  • The Norfolk and Suffolk Unlimited Campaign is now live – promoting case studies and video content captured across the hub network - Clarity | Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited (

  • The project is working with lead event partner Tech East around a series of hack/workshop events to support opportunities in sectors such as Offshore Wind, Healthcare and Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.

  • The Hubs and Centres are now planning their own events (with funding through the project) to highlight their businesses, support and how the work they do aligns with the Seven Technology Families (see Seven Technology Families slide).

  • At the 12-month stage of the project we are keen to explore ideas for the next 12 – 36 months and want to engage the Innovation Board around their ideas

  • Initial ideas include:

    • Having a greater focus on the networks research institutions and universities around Research & Development

    • Greater engagement with external partners (Innovate UK Edge, Catapults etc.) having a permanent role/presence within the network

    • Continuing a strong focus on innovation as a catalyst for clean growth and supporting with the transition to net zero

    • Supporting emerging opportunities in the region and looking at how the network can benefit from these

    • Developing thematic discussions around challenges and opportunities e.g., Grow-on space, recruitment/careers inspiration (EAN), gaming, etc.

    • Joining the dots in terms of wider developments such as Enterprise Zones and Freeport East and looking at how these can address some of the challenges faced

Questions to be presented to the board members to gauge their feedback on these ideas and their own suggestions for how the project can continue to deliver value moving forward.


Innovate UK

Successful event on 9 March, hosted virtually by the new Anglia Ruskin University in Peterborough.

  1. 250 people registered, there were 32 speakers in 9 sessions and 10 stands.

  2. Not everyone attends, but we have their details and every SME that registered will be followed up by EDGE.

  3. 31% were engaging with us for the first time and 46% more were coming to one of our events for the first time, which is absolutely what we want to see.

  4. 58% were from the East of England, though interesting that no one says that. 2/3 say East Anglia and 11% say Southeast. It is also good to see that we can attract an audience from further afield to see our innovators and institutions highlighting what they do.

  5. Of those from the East, half were from Cambridge & Peterborough, which is expected, but 21% were from Norfolk or Suffolk, which is best engagement from neighbouring LEP areas.



Lisa Perkins, BT

  • Festival of Suffolk - planning a business EXPO.

  • EXPO cuts across number of different sectors. Looks at services and products that businesses offer.

- Held on the 21st of June at BT Adastral Park based on technology, energy, and diversity.



  • Ellen Goodwin to highlight CRF projects for next IB meeting.

  • Lisa Perkins to speak to BT teams regarding clean growth and net zero meeting.