Aston University has hosted the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology on a tour of Birmingham’s growing Knowledge Quarter.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Aleks Subic and Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street led the visit. They were joined by Rob Valentine, Birmingham director of property firm Bruntwood, and Paul Kitson, Birmingham City Council’s strategic director of place, prosperity and sustainability.
The Knowledge Quarter is a fast-growing part of the city centre housing small, medium, and large technology businesses, universities, colleges, hotels, and two conference centres. It is also home to the main HS2’s Birmingham terminal.
Commercial activity within the Quarter has led to it being identified as an area with the potential to grow into a nationally significant ‘innovation zone’. This will attract further global investment and encourage local businesses and new start-ups to thrive and expand. Crucially, it will support regeneration in some of the city’s most deprived wards.
During the visit, held on 23 February, Professor Aleks Subic shared his plans with the Secretary of State to establish Aston University’s Digital Health Innovation Campus, which will bring together academic, technical, commercial and financial resources to boost digital health innovation and health tech, and contribute towards improving health equity and access in the region while creating new job opportunities in the city.
“With this strategic development positioned in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, we are taking a “triple helix” approach, involving a strategic partnership between Aston University, Bruntwood and Birmingham City Council – as well as with NHS and other digital tech businesses – working together effectively to deliver inclusive growth and innovation and attract investment. I have seen first-hand how this approach works in Australia and was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this with the Secretary of State,” said Professor Subic.
“The Knowledge Quarter is an asset-rich area, with Aston University playing a unique role, due to our proven expertise and track record in bringing together industry and academia to solve real world problems through applied and translational research.”
Michelle Donelan MP leads the newly formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). The government department was set up to position the UK at the forefront of global scientific and technological advancement and to promote a diverse research and innovation system that connects discovery to new companies, growth and jobs.
“Science and technology has the power to create jobs and opportunities across each and every region of the UK. It was exciting to see the plans for Birmingham’s Knowledge Quarter being developed by Aston University with the backing of Mayor Andy Street and I know it will have a hugely positive impact on the area,” she added.
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