Seven hundred jobs are set to be created and over 1,000 businesses supported as a result of a £70m research-led collaboration led by one UK’s top universities.
Keele University will work in partnership with Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to deliver a unique deal designed to stimulate growth of the knowledge-based economy in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region.
The New Keele Deal will support businesses to access Keele University’s world-class research and facilities, providing training in innovation leadership and facilitate supply chain development across a range of sectors. Collectively, the New Keele Deal will assist businesses in becoming more competitive, producing better products and improving customer services.
Through a range of innovative business support programmes, the New Keele Deal will enable the University to extend its already considerable impact on the local economy by contributing an extra £210m into the local area.
In addition to enhancing local business innovation, the Deal aims to improve health care in Staffordshire through the development of new health innovations and research designed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.
The New Keele Deal will also position Staffordshire at the heart of the country’s transition towards a lower carbon economy through establishment of the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator – Europe’s only at-scale living laboratory that will be used to trial and test new energy technologies. The project is targeted to produce savings of up to 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Among the priorities highlighted in the New Keele Deal are plans to build Innovation Centre 6 at Keele University Science and Innovation Park, which will be located adjacent to the new Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership, a unique hub which will support businesses to better create a competitive advantage.
Targets over the next two decades include supporting over 600 small and medium sized businesses to innovate, 250 businesses to save energy or create green energy products and 140 medical technology and healthcare businesses to collaborate with academics and the NHS.
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor at Keele University, said: “The New Keele Deal is a commitment from the University and its long-standing partners to invest in the growth of the local economy by supporting and helping to advance our local businesses.
“By utilising the University’s world-leading research, and drawing on the expertise offered by its skilled professionals and academics, the Deal will help create a competitive advantage for local organisations by improving their products, services and businesses processes, ultimately leading to increased prosperity for the area.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “This Deal really is unique nationally and will put Staffordshire at the forefront of the UK’s emerging industrial strategy. Improved innovation in business leads to greater productivity which is essential for economy and for a stable future for business.
“Not only will the Keele Deal bring growth and create high quality jobs, it will also improve healthcare locally through greater research and development of new treatments. As a county council we are set to commit to a £2million investment in the new Innovation Centre at Keele University Science and Innovation Park to support businesses to grow. The new Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership will support local business leaders to develop the skills needed to innovate and grow their businesses.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “Stimulating investment and innovation is crucial for the future prosperity of our economy. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has a strong track record of excellence in innovation and the New Keele Deal will play a major role in building on our region’s recognised strengths in key areas of new technologies and advanced manufacturing.
“This emphasis on innovation and competitiveness will help us build our reputation around the globe, bringing more highly skilled and better paid jobs to our area and ensuring a thriving future.”
Elizabeth Shenton, leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “Newcastle is a borough of opportunity and we are proud to support this investment as part of the Keele Deal innovation.
“One of our key aims is to help businesses to grow and develop in the area and, through research and development, significant new job opportunities will be created, making sure that the borough, its businesses and its residents continue to thrive.”
Councillor Dave Conway, Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader, said: “The city council is really pleased to be involved in this initiative, as the investment will have a positive impact on all of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. We look forward to working with Keele on exciting projects such as our ambitious district heat network, which will bring low carbon heat energy to local businesses and residents that is stable and affordable, and is the largest planned initiative of its kind in the UK.”
More information about the Keele Deal and how everyone can benefit at www.keele.ac.uk/newkeeledeal