University involved in new Enterprise Zone

A new ground-breaking research and development-led Enterprise Zone (EZ), which involves the University of Leicester, was announced in the budget on 16th March.

The new EZ will cover an area stretching from Loughborough down to Leicester City Centre, creating a science and hi-tech manufacturing-themed ‘zone of excellence’ to support new and growing businesses to bring their innovative ideas and products to market.

This is amazing news for Leicester and Leicestershire and could bring nearly 25,000 new jobs and £180 million over the next twenty-five years.

Using the excellent reputation in university research, innovation and product development, the EZ will seek to capitalise on the huge commercial market that lies between research and the commercial world.

The proposal, developed in conjunction with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Charnwood Borough Council and Charnwood Campus (the former AstraZeneca site in Loughborough) was originally submitted to government in September 2015, but narrowly missed out.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, said: “This new EZ has the potential to bring a valuable contribution to economic growth in the region and complements the university’s ambitions to grow its collaborations with industrial partners, driving innovation, fostering talent and technology start-ups. It includes plans to create a National Space Park adjacent to the National Space Centre which is the brainchild of the University.

“Space and the space sector is one of the government’s 'Eight Great Technologies', recognised as being a key driver of UK economic growth. The UK space industry is already worth £11.8 billion and has been growing by an average of 8.6% year on year since 2010. The Space Innovation and Growth Strategy sets a target for the UK to increase its share of the world market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030, leading to a sector worth £40 billion turnover per annum and creating 100,000 jobs. To support this, there is a national drive to develop regional space clusters and with our world-class heritage in space research, we are working with partners in establishing the basis to grow the space sector in Leicester.”