Metro mayors' tech credentials: Steve Rotheram
“The digital economy is a huge priority and opportunity for the Liverpool city region,” says mayor Steve Rotheram.
“Marshall McLuhan predicted that digital technology would create a global village, so for a city with a global outlook and ambition, digital connectivity is as important to our future as maritime trade was to our past and present.”
Home to the likes of Hartree Cognitive Computing Centre at Daresbury – a leading facility for Big Data research – Liverpool also has a growing eco-system of digital businesses in film and TV, gaming, music technology and virtual reality.
Because of this, the city region is attracting more national and international names such as IBM, Sony Intel and Unilever.
The big priorities, Rotheram says, are around what exists already and what is missing. Ten Streets, a creative quarter within the Liverpool City Enterprise Zone set to create 2,500 jobs, and the Littlewoods site, which will become a film and TV studio, will provide growth space for the Baltic creative and digital cluster. The combined authority has also established LCR Activate and LCR 4IR as dedicated digital business investment funds.
“Hartree, Sensor City and the new Materials Innovation Factory are enormous opportunities to cluster innovative businesses around world-leading facilities,” Rotheram says.
“We’ve also got really exciting initiatives within the NHS including the IBM Watson AI platform to make Alder Hey a ‘living hospital’. These are the reasons I have taken the innovation portfolio within the combined authority.
“It’s where we can deliver real transformation across our economy, our public services and every aspect of daily life.”
Other priorities include upgrading infrastructure and connectivity across the entire city region, which will be made possible by a link-up with US internet provider Hibernia Networks.
Skills are also important and good work is already ongoing. City of Liverpool College has become the world’s first Microsoft Associate College, the Studio School UTC is in the process of linking up with a Swedish gaming development agency and Liverpool Girl Geeks is challenging stereotypes about the sector.
We have also highlighted the digital plans of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, as well as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer and Sadiq Khan's plans to make London a world-leading tech centre.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street has also set out his stall on digital technology.
Mayor: Steve Rotheram
Digital jobs: 23,407
Digital GVA: £359m
Digital turnover growth: 22pc
Average advertised digital salary: £45,011
Tech employers: LivingLens, VTime
Famous for: Tech is enjoying a renaissance through the Baltic Triangle cluster. The city has thriving gaming, VR and digital agencies based in once disused warehouses.