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The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, launched a report which assesses the impact of the Oxfordshire high technology business cluster and recommends that growth is accelerated to produce greater economic benefits for the county and the UK.

The ambitious objectives include a target for Oxfordshire to generate an additional contribution to the national economy of at least £1 billion in GVA within ten years, representing a thirty per cent uplift on current projections.

Entitled The Oxfordshire Innovation Engine – realising the growth potential,the independent report was produced by leading economic consultants, SQW.

The report was commissioned by the University of Oxford and Science Oxford, with support from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and provides an analysis of the factors that have led Oxfordshire to become one of the UK’s most significant centres for science based research and enterprise.

Following wide ranging consultations with representatives from business, research, local government and finance, SQW recommends actions designed to generate greater economic benefits from Oxfordshire’s outstanding ‘big science’ assets and concentration of research facilities – which it finds is “unique in Europe and possibly worldwide” - and substantial cluster of around 1,500 high tech firms which employ an estimated 43,000 people.

The SQW report highlights the strategic importance of Oxfordshire and identifies outstanding strengths in particular technology fields: bioscience and medical; high performance engineering including motorsport; space science; ICT and physics related activity including cryogenics, magnets and medical instruments.

Speaking at the launch at Said Business School, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Oxford is playing a vital role in keeping the UK ahead in the global race by providing new and exciting growth opportunities in technology and innovation. The Oxfordshire Innovation Engine Report highlights how the forward thinking of businesses has established the region as a world leader.

“There are exciting developments in Oxfordshire from bioscience to high performance engineering, motorsport and space. I would like to see this success inspire more clusters around the country to realise their potential and give an extra boost to the UK economy.”

Professor Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “We welcome this independent assessment of Oxfordshire’s current strengths in innovation and the opportunities for economic growth that creating an even more vibrant environment for entrepreneurial activity could bring. Strengthening Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem is a key element of our core mission to continue to attract world-leading students and academics and help our researchers turn new ideas into new commercial opportunities.

“The suggestions in the report will be very useful in informing our ongoing discussions with partners including Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Culham, Harwell, local firms, and, very importantly, community groups and local people. We look forward to working with these partners on a vision for an Oxfordshire that does even more to support and nurture high tech economic growth.”

 The Oxfordshire Innovation Engine – realising the growth potential report

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