A US trade mission built around the North East’s expertise in ageing, nutrition, digital, science and tech heads for Boston today (Dec 4) with the aim of building strategic partnerships and to showcase the region as a great place to invest.
Newcastle University’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and Newcastle City Council are jointly leading the delegation on the visit (4-7 December), alongside a Department for International Trade Northern Powerhouse Trade mission to Boston, now in its fifth year.
Newcastle City Council chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build on the relationships we have already established as well as being able to raise the profile of Newcastle, the North of Tyne area and the wider Northern Powerhouse as an attractive base for potential investors, promoting the region as an exemplar and centre of excellence around ageing and technology.”
The Newcastle delegation also includes Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) and Invest Newcastle, while Northumbria University and The North East Chamber of Commerce is represented along with venture capitalist Northstar Ventures, companies and businesses from across the region as part of the wider Northern Powerhouse delegation.
The Boston visit will include AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ranked fourth in the Times Higher Education world university rankings 2019; The City of Boston, which is recognised for its work around Data and Ageing Innovation; The public office for the State of Massachusetts Age Friendly teams, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP who have offices across both cities and US businesses interested in expanding into the UK.
Newcastle University is one of the leading research-intensive Russell Group Universities in the UK. It has major research strengths in Cities, Culture and Creative Arts, Energy, Ageing and Health, and Data Science.
It is devising a new model for developing, testing and bringing to market products and services that will improve quality of life. With co-investment from the UK Government it launched NICA and NICD. Both will be based on Newcastle Helix , a £350m flagship development being delivered as a partnership between Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and Legal & General.
Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Resources at Newcastle University, said: “Like all universities, we know that it is only by bringing together all the available expertise in innovation that we will tackle today’s global challenges.
“By combining our knowledge and experience in ageing, data science and urban partnerships with similar expertise in Boston, we aim to deliver innovations with greater impact for the economy and society across the globe.”
VOICE is an organisation – based at NICA – that aims to capture the public’s vast insights, experience and ideas, and harness their expectations about research, innovation and policy developments that are needed to help healthy ageing.
Dr Lynne Corner, Director of VOICE, said: “Whether you live in Newcastle or Boston, the challenges we face as we grow older have striking similarities – to be able to capture the experience and insight of older people is a key asset, giving access to this growing market.”
Jen Hartley, Inward Investment Director, Invest Newcastle, who is also part of the delegation said: “The US continues to be the primary source market for Foreign Direct Investment into the UK and this trip gives us an unmissable opportunity to build long-term strategic relationships. Boston has strong sector synergies with our region – this visit will provide a platform to promote and share our strengths. We will also be showcasing Newcastle Helix and its unique assets as the perfect location to locate and grow a science or technology driven business.”
Dame Jackie Daniel, CEO of Newcastle Hospitals said ‘this is a fantastic opportunity to learn from the very best experts in Boston who are at the forefront of research and innovation in aging.”
Northstar Ventures Limited has been supporting entrepreneurs since 2004, investing over £100m into start-ups, early stage businesses and high impact social enterprises in the region.
Alasdair Greig, Director, Northstar Ventures, said: “We are always looking to develop and strengthen links to business communities across the globe. We know this can lead to opportunities and collaboration in the future, both for ourselves and our portfolio companies. We are particularly interested in the growing opportunities presented by our ageing society and longevity economy, so we are looking forward to exploring this field more with colleagues in Boston.”
One of the anticipated outcomes of the trip is a reciprocal visit to Newcastle in the New Year.