Background

Innovation and the exploitation of new knowledge by the private sector is fundamental to securing future growth in the Solent. Innovation is a major driver in transforming the Solent economy. The Government’s Industrial Strategy is pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge and development and exploitation of new technologies is central. Solent benefits from a number of related innovation advantages.

The three universities based in Solent are a major economic asset, providing a source of highly-skilled employment, generating new businesses, supporting existing businesses and bringing significant revenues to the local economy. Solent’s Universities have strengths in its strategic sectors that, if harnessed, can anchor knowledge-intensive economic activity and employment in the area. Together with its innovation centres, science parks, knowledge intensive businesses and skilled workers, the Solent is well placed to drive successful innovation.

Innovation Programme Fund

The LEP is already investing in innovation and has invested £4.5m to bring forward the UK's first dedicated Cancer Immunology Centre, £1.01m towards an impressive £11m Future Technology Centre facility which will train the innovative engineers of the future through hands-on experience of specialist technology to develop creative answers to global challenges, £459,492 to bring forward The Solent Test Facility (formerly BAE Systems Marine and Maritime Autonomy Test Bed) in the Solent which will bring forward world-leading test-facilities including Air and Surface test vehicle, a Secure Maritime Communications Network, Mobile Control Centre and a range of Solent based test sites and £2m to bring forward a £7.2m investment at the Fareham Innovation Centre on the Solent Enterprise Zone. This second phase of work on the Fareham Innovation Centre will expand the existing accommodation for innovative SMEs on the Fareham/Gosport peninsula and provide move on space to enable businesses grown in the innovation centre to remain in the area, resulting in more jobs and opportunities for local people and the further creation of a significant cluster of businesses in the LEP’s strategic sectors.

Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel

The Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel plays an important strategic role with oversight of the range of innovation and business support activities underway at the Solent LEP and with partner organisations and leads the innovation and business support priority for Solent LEP, working with other partners to collaborate on joint strategy and policy development for enterprise and business. The Panel also has the lead role in taking forward the Solent LEPs work on innovation and business engagement: ensuring a two-way dialogue with local business to ensure they are informed of the work of the LEP and opportunities to get involved, as well as ensuring the LEP can receive strong input from the local innovation and business community on issues of strategic importance.

The Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel has led on work to develop an innovation evidence base for the Solent.  This work is available here and identifies the following areas of innovation strength in the Solent: 1) Marine and Maritime; 2) Photonics; 3) Advanced Materials; 4) Digital economy; 5) Aerospace and defence; and 6) Cleantech.

Further information on the Innovation and Business Support Delivery Panel is available here.

Science and Innovation Audit

The LEP has been working with partners across the South East of England to develop a Science and Innovation Audit for the South East - Innovation South.  This focusses on the enabling technologies that the area is globally strong in.  Further details of the Science and Innovation Audit are here.