Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Chair to address House of Lords Select Committee

Roger Marsh OBE DL to give Select Committee evidence on innovation in West Yorkshire and the North

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair Roger Marsh OBE DL will today give evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on private sector R&D investment in the region and across the North.  

He will say that a significant proportion of businesses in Leeds City Region consider themselves to be innovative, and the region has a strong heritage of world-class advanced manufacturing, particular strengths in the digital and healthtech sectors, and one of the largest clusters of higher education institutions outside of London.  

But more needs to be done to increase investment in R&D and boost productivity, which the LEP and its partners are actively working to promote as a central part of the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “Even before the devastating impact of the pandemic, we have been committed to unlocking the potential of innovation and entrepreneurship in West Yorkshire as a way to improve the lives and living standards of everyone who lives and works in our region.  

“Initiatives like our participation in the international MIT REAP programme, Connecting Innovation and the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Plan, are vital to the region’s economic growth and prosperity, in light of both COVID-19 and the UK’s new trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.” 

Roger Marsh will tell members of the Select Committee that innovation and entrepreneurship are central to plans for the region’s future economic growth and prosperity, with a number of projects underway to promote innovation activities.

Leeds City Region has participated in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT REAP), a two-year programme on how harnessing the power of innovation can accelerate economic growth, job creation and social change.

The LEP’s Connecting Innovation programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is helping businesses to access support for innovation available in the Leeds City Region, from research organisations and advisory services to funding and private sector organisations 

The West Yorkshire Innovation Network and LEP have recently announced the West Yorkshire Innovation Festival, a week of virtual events from workshops to talks, masterclasses and knowledge sharing to interviews with innovative businesses, which will run 15 -19 March. More information will be published on the LEP’s innovation pages. 

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is also developing an Innovation Framework to shape the future of innovation and support in the region for the next five years.    

Innovation and entrepreneurship are fundamental elements of the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Plan. It will leverage the experience of scale-up performance, participation in MIT REAP, redevelop properties as space for co-working and brand new entrepreneurial environments, and support high-growth potential start-ups. In doing so, it will tackle rising unemployment and challenges raised by the pandemic. 

As chair of the NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, Roger will also say that while investment by Northern business in R&D is higher than in Scotland and in line with London, the North receives substantially less in public sector investment. He will say that additional investment for places to drive innovation is key to levelling-up, as argued in the recent Nesta report ‘The Missing £4 Billion’. 

Roger will give evidence alongside Felicity Burch, Director of Innovation and Digital at Confederation of British Industry (CBI); Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation; and Louise Dunsby, Deputy Director for Innovation Policy at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  

The evidence session will be available to view online from 9.40 on Tuesday 12 January and on demand after the session ends.