Discussing the future of Oxfordshire’s innovation engine
Published on 10 March 2023
It was a privilege to attend the first inaugural meeting of MP David Johnston’s Wantage & Didcot Science & Technology Forum with special guest MP George Freeman, Minister of State for Science, Research & Innovation.
Following the creation of the government’s new Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) and launch of its ambition to cement the UK as a science and technology superpower by 2030, the forum facilitated insightful discussions regarding the future of Oxfordshire’s world-leading innovation engine.
Evident among the attendees was the need for greater collaboration between the government and science & technology industry - with the minister keen to hear the specific requirements and issues faced by renowned and experienced clusters, like Milton Park, along Oxfordshire’s R&D corridor. These include topics such as:
- Access to talent
- Surrounding infrastructure
- R&D tax credits
- Horizon funding
- Post-Brexit trading
- NHS partnerships
- Leveraging assets
A key motivator for utilising the government’s platform to better showcase the pioneering work of the science & tech sectors is to drive greater investment across the board, from the life sciences to growing sectors including green energy, AI and space.
At Milton Park, this would build on the £2.14bn of equity investment secured by 272 companies located here over the last decade, including £136m from companies in the green energy sector and £953m in the life sciences – the latter equating to 7.56 per cent of the UK’s total equity investment in the sector since 2013.
During the forum Mr Freeman expressed the government’s eagerness to support and encourage innovators and “risk-takers” in particular – noting that it is these companies and individuals that are creating the real change and allowing the science & tech ecosystem to evolve.
Having supported life science and tech companies for several decades, we’re pleased to see the government join us in backing those who take huge risks for the benefit of scientific discovery and innovation.
If you’re from a science and technology company at the Park and would be interested in attending the next forum, please follow us on social media for the latest updates:
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