Sensor City backed to drive innovation by Cabinet minister
Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Greg Clark has officially opened technical innovation centre Sensor City.
Over the next decade, the landmark joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University aims to create 300 start-up businesses and 1,000 jobs, foster industry-academic collaborations, support high-tech businesses working on sensor systems and applications and stimulate business growth.
The facility is open to start-ups, entrepreneurs and big businesses who want to access the sensor related skills, services and equipment that will enable them to leapfrog from idea to prototype.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has backed the project with a £5 million University Enterprise Zone status capital investment award.
Meanwhile the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, awarded £5m in capital investment as match funding.
The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University each committed £1.5m to the project and £2m of co-investment from corporate sponsors over the next five years.
Speaking of the new innovation hub and the role it will play within the region and the industrial strategy, Clark said: “Sensor City is a brilliant example of our industrial strategy in action, a hub that will bring together the best academic minds and entrepreneurs with businesses, large and small, to explore opportunities and foster collaborations that will turn innovative ideas into scale-up businesses.
“I am delighted we have been able to support its creation with £5m of funding.
“Our modern industrial strategy has an ambitious long-term vision for the UK. We are committed to building on our strengths as a country and delivering a high-skilled economy for the years ahead.
“Sensor City will help us deliver on this ambition and make a valuable contribution to this work, driving forward innovation.”
(l-r) Professor Nigel Weatherill, Alison Mitchell, Greg Clarke, Professor Janet Beer and Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotherham
Professor Nigel Weatherill DL, vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University and chairman of the Sensor City Board, said: "This is a landmark day for the city of Liverpool. Sensor City embodies a truly pioneering partnership that will enable Liverpool to be a leading British city in addressing modern industrial challenges through sensor technology.
“Greg Clark will see first-hand how sensor products developed here in Liverpool, are already breaking boundaries in healthcare, sports and gaming innovation."
Sensor City includes a software design suite, mechanical laboratory, optical laboratory and electronics laboratory, as well as offering coaching, business mentoring and access to funding.
Occupying a prime position in the city centre, Sensor City lies at the gateway to KQ Liverpool and is already home to a number of leading businesses, including health innovator, Chanua Health, Fatigue Management International (FMI), Aqua Running and UPLEC Industries.
Approximately 2,000 sq ft is still available on the second floor of the building, with just over 2,800 sq ft free on the first floor. There are also hot desking facilities available on the ground floor.
Professor Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: “Sensor City is an exciting example of industrial collaboration in action and has huge potential for the delivery of both regional and national prosperity.
“Bringing together the expertise of our two universities with the experience of the UK’s most forward-thinking sensor technology companies and the wonderful facilities here at Sensor City, we have the makings of something very special and exciting.”
Alison Mitchell, executive director of Sensor City, said: “Since we moved into this iconic facility earlier this year, we’ve made great strides towards building a community of tech companies that are pushing the boundaries of IoT and sensor innovation.
“Our partnerships – both with academia and big business - are opening up access to world-leading knowledge, support and services.
“Together, we’re creating the skills base for emerging technologies in the North West, boosting jobs for the future and supporting our local community.”
Enjoy extra content and interactive videos in the interactive digital magazine below