The new Investment Zone in Leeds will have a significant impact on the city’s innovation future. Set to revolutionize the innovation landscape, it will create 4,000 jobs, potentially add £13 billion to the economy, and transform the Leeds General Infirmary into a healthtech hub, strengthening Leeds’ position as a leading healthtech cluster.
What is the impact of the new Investment Zone on Leeds’ innovation future?
The new Investment Zone in Leeds is set to revolutionize the city’s innovation landscape, creating 4,000 jobs and potentially adding £13 billion to the economy. It will transform the Leeds General Infirmary into a healthtech hub, foster collaboration between sectors, and strengthen Leeds’ position as a leading healthtech cluster.
The Genesis of Innovation Village
The heart of Leeds’ future-focused innovation beats stronger with the advent of the country’s third Investment Zone in West Yorkshire. This strategic move is poised to elevate Leeds on the global innovation map. The Leeds Innovation Partnership heralds this development, seeing it as a critical step towards a healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive future. The area earmarked for transformation is the Leeds General Infirmary site, where the historic Old Medical School is set to be refurbished into a cutting-edge healthtech innovation hub.
The significance of this innovation hub cannot be overstated. It is designed to be a collaborative space where entrepreneurs, businesses, clinicians, and academics will rub shoulders, sparking breakthroughs and pushing boundaries. This synergy is anticipated to generate 4,000 new jobs and provide an economic boost estimated to be as high as £13 billion for the region. The refurbishment of the Old Medical School is more than a renovation; it’s an ignition of potential, setting the stage for the comprehensive development of the 12.5-acre site.
The Innovation Village is not an isolated endeavor. It represents one of the many innovation neighborhoods that comprise the Leeds Innovation Arc. This arc is a strategic constellation of the city’s innovation assets, clustering around core institutions like major universities, proposed hospitals, and key private-sector partners. Nexus at the University of Leeds stands as a beacon within the Arc, already hosting innovative businesses such as SeeAI, Itecho Health, and Atlas Endoscopy. Thus, the Innovation Village is the next, natural evolution of Leeds’ innovation ecosystem.
Leeds’ Blueprint for Innovation
Leeds City Council’s commitment to this vision of innovation is evident in its recent adoption of a supplementary planning document. This document outlines the future of the Innovation Arc, detailing the benefits of enhanced connectivity and the preservation of key historical buildings. It serves both as a guide for future development and as a supporting document for funding applications. The vision is crystal-clear: to create a space where innovation is not just welcomed but actively fostered.
The Leeds Innovation Partnership plays a pivotal role in nurturing this innovation-centric culture. The partnership’s strategy is inclusive, considering the needs and potential of diverse entrepreneurs and community-led initiatives such as the Leeds Digital Festival. This broad support base ensures that the city’s approach to innovation reaches every corner of society, from grassroots to global research and development efforts.
Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Leeds Innovation Partnership, praised the announcement, saying:
“This is wonderful news for Leeds and the wider region. The Innovation Village will catalyse regeneration and healthcare transformation and the redevelopment of the Old Medical School is the first exciting phase in realizing this. This once in a lifetime opportunity has only become possible as a result of the recent confirmation from the Secretary of State for Health to fully fund the new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, a new adults’ hospital and one of the largest single site maternity centres in the country on the Leeds General Infirmary site.”
Strengthening Leeds’ Healthtech Sector
The designation of West Yorkshire as an Investment Zone, with a focus on life sciences, has been met with considerable enthusiasm. The importance of this sector in Leeds, recognized internationally for its innovative prowess, cannot be overstated. The additional investment will enable the city to build on the successes of the numerous healthtech businesses currently operating in Leeds, driving inclusive economic growth that will have a ripple effect across the region and its communities.
Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, spoke on the potential impact of the Investment Zone:
“Securing an investment zone for West Yorkshire with a focus on life sciences is fantastic news for Leeds because of our internationally-recognized pedigree in delivering innovation in the healthtech sector. Further investment in this area will allow us to build on the achievements of the many successful businesses within this sector which are based in our city, providing more opportunities for inclusive economic growth which will benefit our residents and wider communities across the region.”
The projected growth is not limited to infrastructure and business development; it extends to human capital. Dr. Martin Stow, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Business Engagement and Enterprise, emphasized the role of the investment in fostering collaboration and nurturing the necessary skills for a future-proof economy:
“This is a significant investment in the region and a real acknowledgement of Leeds as one of the UK’s leading healthtech innovation clusters. It will further the knowledge exchange between clinical experts, entrepreneurs, and academics to support economic growth and nurture the skills and talent that will be required in the future.”
Local businesses already feel the positive currents of change. Adrian Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of Itecho Health, based at Nexus, shared his optimism:
“We’re delighted to welcome this investment, it’s great to see recognition of the thriving healthtech sector in our region. This investment will increase opportunities for businesses like ours, working to innovate novel solutions to improve patient care across the NHS, to scale-up while remaining within West Yorkshire. We’ve got something really special in our region and it’s brilliant that this funding will help us achieve even more of our innovation ambitions.”
The collective voice of Leeds’ leaders and innovators rings clear: the new Investment Zone is more than just a financial boon; it’s a catalyst for transformation. It promises not just growth, but a dynamic evolution of Leeds’ position as a hub of health and technology innovation, poised to make an indelible mark on the region and beyond.
- The new Investment Zone in Leeds will create 4,000 jobs and potentially add £13 billion to the economy.
- The Leeds General Infirmary will be transformed into a healthtech hub, strengthening Leeds’ position as a leading healthtech cluster.
- The Innovation Village in Leeds will be a collaborative space for entrepreneurs, businesses, clinicians, and academics, sparking breakthroughs and generating 4,000 new jobs.
- The Leeds City Council has adopted a supplementary planning document to support the vision of the Innovation Arc and foster a culture of innovation.
- The designation of West Yorkshire as an Investment Zone with a focus on life sciences will strengthen Leeds’ healthtech sector and drive inclusive economic growth.