Supporting new tech innovation could be key to region’s success

The Future of Making Things conference at Lynford Hall run by New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and

The Future of Making Things conference at Lynford Hall run by New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering. Picture: Hethel Innovation - Credit: Hethel Innovation

Leading figures in East Anglia's fastest growing sectors say helping researchers to be more entrepreneurial and supporting the development of local clusters will bolster the industries' growth and national influence.

With biological, clean energy and information technologies in the spotlight in the Innovation New Anglia project, under way in Norfolk and Suffolk, industry figures have said how they feel their sectors could be best supported.

MORE: Innovation director says growth in tech sectors must be supported

For the biotech and agritech cluster at Norwich Research Park, a partner on the project, helping research to travel outside the laboratory is key. There are 75 registered companies on the park, equal to one opening per month since it was created in 2012.

Research park chief executive Sally Ann Forsyth said: 'What is important to us is the translation of our world class research to get it into the market place. People really want to see their technology go out into the world, for the societal benefit.'

Through the project, workshops are being held at the park to equip researchers with entrepreneurial skills and advise start-ups.

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Nurturing information technology clusters is the greatest priority for Tim Robinson, chief operating officer at TechEast. He said: 'How effectively our geographical clusters are communicating is crucial because it is going to drive the funding.

'The physical transfer of knowledge between the important clusters has yet to be fully exploited.'

The ongoing battle with climate change and urban pollution has brought the cleantech sector – encompassing renewable energy, recycling and low emission vehicles – to the fore.

Research by Cleantech East found there are 3,000 companies in the sector in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Ian McDonald, of energy storage systems producer Connected Energy, said: 'The UK is at the forefront of new technologies, but we have to commercialise these. It is about investment and reinforcement as well as innovation.'

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