World-Class Vision of the Future Will Boost Area; Dr Phil Extance Looks at Birmingham as a Science City

The Birmingham Post (England), April 27, 2007 | Go to article overview
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World-Class Vision of the Future Will Boost Area; Dr Phil Extance Looks at Birmingham as a Science City


Byline: Dr Phil Extance

In his 2005 Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown designated Birmingham as one of three new Science Cities, along with Nottingham and Bristol, following the announcement 12 months earlier that Manchester, Newcastle and York would pilot the scheme.

As far as political announcements go, amongst increases in tax on petrol and alcohol, Science City was unlikely to generate too many headlines.

The announcement, however, was received with excitement among at Advantage West Midlands and at our region's world-class research institutions.

The Chancellor was effectively giving the green light for Advantage West Midlands to work in collaboration with universities, local authorities and businesses in Birmingham and across the region.

Simply, the main aim of the Birmingham Science City initiative is to use science and technology to improve the prosperity and quality of life of the city and the region.

Going right back to the Industrial Revolution, the West Midlands has a long tradition of being an area of invention, of self improvement and of being receptive to new ideas thanks to visionary scientists and industrialists.

This culture of innovation is something we are looking to recreate with Birmingham Science City. Since the Chancellor's announcement, a great deal of work has been done to drive forward the Birmingham Science City agenda.

Members of the Birmingham Science City Steering Group include a host of partners from across the region, local authorities, the Universities of Warwick, Staffordshire and Birmingham, the CBI and private sector facilities such as QinetiQ.

By bringing together these partners, we are seeking to achieve a world-class research base.

We will also seek to build on existing strengths in developing the transfer of knowledge from the science and technology base and companies of all sizes, as well as the public sector, and vice versa.

Promotion of science among the population of the region and priori-tisation of technology subjects in schools, colleges and higher education institutions is also a key aim of the project.

The initiative will also see specific projects developed which will have a tangible and clear impact on the region's future economy.

Earlier this year, Advantage West Midlands approved pounds 6.3 million towards the pioneering hydrogen energy project which will see the development of hydrogen energy as a green fuel.

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