Arc Universities

Professor Sir Peter Gregson spoke at the CBI’s Urban Revival Conference on Tuesday 20 April. Together with Katherine Bennett CBE of Airbus and Prof. Greg Clarke of Connected Cities Catapult, they considered what enables clusters like Silicon Valley to thrive.

With the triple helix of collaboration between government, business and academia, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc could be poised to double economic output by 2050 if the region fully capitalises on its existing strength in science, technology and high value manufacturing.

Looking to the innovation powerhouses across the globe – from Silicon Valley and Boston in the US, and closer to home in London’s Shoreditch or Eindhoven in the Netherlands, these provide inspiration for the Arc’s bold ambition. They all share commonalities that have helped to create centres of innovation excellence. These are:

  1. Strong state support for new ventures and a triple helix partnership between Government, Private Sector and Academia
  2. Proximity to Universities with their R&D and skills provision – access to talent
  3. Clear areas of innovation and competitive advantage, with a clear Government Policy
  4. Access to finance

Based on these four areas, the Oxford to Cambridge Arc could join this top tier within a matter of a few years – with the right investment.

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