Science, Technology & Environment
Science and Technology is receiving a great deal of attention in this region particularly though emerging technologies and our strength in sub-sectors such as Life Sciences, Space and advances in autonomous vehicles and green technologies.
Our universities play a crucial part in this sector generally through pioneering research and development capabilities to bringing new products and life-changing developments into production and everyday use.
Life Sciences is one such sector where this region has been earmarked as an ‘area of excellence’ by BEIS. Encompassing biological innovation, sport science development, biochemistry and pharmaceutical research, this sector already accounts for £150 million in GVA and employs 3,600 people across 130 businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire.
Locally the area is famed for the development of DNA fingerprinting, vital advances in fighting heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, and developments in forensic psychology at the University of Leicester.
Significant developments including Charnwood Campus (the former Astra Zeneca site) located within the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone has also been designated the UK’s first Life Sciences Opportunities Zone (LSOZ),having world-class laboratories and specialist manufacturing facilities and home to top bioscience, pharmaceutical, med-tech companies such as Almac, 3M and ARM Holdings.
The Leicester & Leicestershire space & aerospace industry is also part of a midlands-wide cluster that is home to over one quarter of the UK aerospace industry, 7% per cent of Europe's and 3% of the world's, employing over 45,000 full time equivalent jobs. Locally, the sector has over 100 enterprises or businesses, 3,000 jobs and contributes £186 million to the local GVA.
With local university expertise such as the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester, and a strong existing business base, Next to the National Space Centre, a globally significant Space Parkis in development, that will provide a unique home for collaborative research and development for science, technology, space and space-enabled technology businesses. It will enable research in Space and Earth Observation, provide training for the space scientists of the future and contribute to growth in the national space economy
“Every year since 1967 a Leicester-built instrument has been utilised in space. The use of space technologies applications developed here are part of modern day life from making a mobile call and watching television to using a sat nav or computer.”
This area also boasts strengths in green technologies. DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development(IESD) has been undertaking interdisciplinary research for more than three decades to develop knowledge, skills and technology to support sustainable living in communities through low carbon energy systems and infrastructure as well as bringing solutions to the base of the pyramid population.
MIRA Technology Parknear Hinckley is also a world-class research and development facility with capabilities in future transport technologies such as Connected and Autonomous vehicles, light-weighting, electrification, alternative fuel systems and cyber resilience to name a few.
And at the end of 2018, Bruntingthorpein Harborough district announced an £8.4 million investment in connected and autonomous vehicle testing facilities, in partnership with R&D company Applus+ IDIADA. This will see the re-creation of road layouts to test driverless cars and the on-board technology with street signs, traffic lights or other embedded transmitters.