A view from the members of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network

As part of the official launch of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network (WYIN), we’ve gathered thoughts from some of the members to hear their ambitions and what the WYIN means for businesses across the region.

11 October 2021

Hear from some of the members of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network and what being part of the Network means and how it will help businesses across the region.

Sue Cooke, CEO at 3M Buckley Innovation Centre:

A big focus for us being part of the WYIN is making businesses more aware of the support available for innovation across the region. For example, we have fantastically equipped facilities at the 3M BIC, offering product development support to companies, such as design and prototyping. Through the collaborative efforts of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network, we can join up to promote all the support and funding so entrepreneurs can access what’s right on their doorstep to bring their innovative business ideas to fruition.


Deb Hetherington, Head of Innovation at Bruntwood SciTech:

The WYIN has a real opportunity to filter the regions quality innovation business support and funding opportunities to SMEs. Often our start-up and scaling businesses aren't aware of the opportunities available to them, and the WYIN can play a big part in promoting and facilitating access to this support which will have a huge impact on productivity, collaboration and innovation across West Yorkshire.


Liz Mear, Managing Director at Leeds Academic Health Partnership:

As part of the WYIN we hope to catalyse and accelerate improvements to West Yorkshire residents’ lives through health and care innovations by sharing insights, advice and opportunities across sectors.

The WYIN gives us access to a diverse pool of individuals, expertise and skills to work with us to improve people’s lives, accelerate economic growth and thus support city and regional strategic priorities. Business will experience faster and easier product deployment, people will experience improved quality of life and the regional economy will accelerate because of the combined experience, expertise and capability within the Network.


Nicole Ballantyne, Knowledge Transfer Manager Manufacturing at Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN):

Being part of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network is really important to KTN, as understanding the local innovation ecosystem and being able to support and link it with national programmes is crucial to the region’s future economic growth. For me personally, being a proud Northerner, I'd love to see more innovation funding coming into the West Yorkshire region and seeing ways I can influence that and make it reality is what drives me.


Professor Cathy Barnes, Director of Research and Enterprise at Leeds Beckett University:

We are proud to be a member of the West Yorkshire Innovation Network and to support the Network’s goal to drive innovation in the region.

As an anchor institution for our region, we are committed to forming and enabling meaningful collaborations with our partners in the Network, working together to remove the barriers for businesses to access the support they need to become resilient, sustainable and thriving. We are passionate about sharing our knowledge, research and expertise within the university to bring about innovation and economic growth within West Yorkshire.


Helen Niblock, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Head of Regional Engagement, North East, Yorkshire and Humber and Lee Viney, Innovate UK Regional Manager, North East, Yorkshire and Humber:

Our aim is for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to be an active participant in the West Yorkshire innovation ecosystem.

Through our participation in WYIN we want to help building a connected, diverse, resilient innovation ecosystem. By connecting universities and businesses, facilitating opportunities for collaboration, and developing new innovations for the benefit of the people of West Yorkshire and the UK. We hope to gain insights into the region’s strengths to influence our national programmes and policies on research and innovation.

UKRI membership of the WYIN means we are engaged in the innovation ecosystem and visible to our partners.

UKRI’s vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.

Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.

By being members of the WYIN and being embedded in the region representing UKRI through EPSRC and Innovate UK, we contribute to our vision and mission working to coalesce the innovation ecosystem in West Yorkshire. We can then represent the region’s perspective as we develop our national strategies for research and innovation.

WYIN enables people and businesses to more effectively develop new ideas and realise the benefits sooner.

Creating a more joined up and effective innovation ecosystem across stakeholders means that businesses and people have better access to the funding and support they need to realise the benefits of their new ideas and innovations.

UKRI wants to ensure that research and innovation effectively contributes to the economic and societal growth of places across the UK to the benefit of businesses and people in those places.


For more about WYIN and its members visit our dedicated page.