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City region recognised as a high potential investment opportunity for billion-pound healthy ageing market

November 20, 2020

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The North East has been successful in its bid to promote the region as a High Potential Opportunity (HPO) for healthy ageing.  

Innovation assets on Newcastle Helix, world-leading research strengths and existing international profile as a UK ‘go-to’ ageing cluster played a key role in its success.

Led by Invest Newcastle and to benefit the whole region, healthy ageing was one of 19 new investment opportunities identified across key sectors in the UK. This second round of successful bids being part of the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) work to boost local economies, help the country build back better and level up parts of the UK. In the North East alone, as well as Healthy Ageing, is now the location of several HPO’s, including Immersive Technology, Plant-Based Products and Heat Networks.

The Government’s High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme is coordinated by DIT, who select investment opportunities to promote to foreign investors. This healthy ageing HPO will support inward investment opportunities by showcasing the North East’s healthy ageing assets to investors in more than 177 cities around the world via DIT’s global network.

This HPO aligns with the North East’s Local Industrial Strategy, which shares the same aims of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society and the opportunities presented by this rapidly emerging global billion pound market.  By 2050, there will be 2.1 billion people aged 60 or above and ensuring that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035 is a guiding principle that runs through the North East’s Local Industrial Strategy. This HPO is testament to the North East’s unique offering for businesses, driven by emerging market opportunities and the mobilisation of its innovation assets and capabilities.

The submission was led by Invest Newcastle, the inward investment agency for both Newcastle and Gateshead, working with Invest North East England and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Jennifer Hartley, Director from Invest Newcastle said:  

“This announcement comes at a crucial time for the UK economy and will support Newcastle to further its position as a city pioneering in the longevity economy, an international innovation destination and as a place where businesses from across the globe can grow and thrive.

“Our city is fast becoming a ‘living lab’ for research into healthy ageing, and many businesses are starting to think about how to diversify and adapt to meet the needs of ageing populations. An ageing society is not just something that is happening in the North East, it is a challenge that is facing cities around the world.

“Newcastle will benefit from DIT’s global network, which will showcase our region’s strengths in healthy ageing to international investors. When speaking to companies interested in the ageing economy, Newcastle and the North East will be the UK destination that these overseas posts will be directing companies towards. This HPO is testament to the talent and expertise in our region, our ability to be globally relevant and support businesses to transform ideas into business opportunities. As a city, we are determined to maximise social and economic opportunities that support healthy and independent ageing, and this HPO will have a positive impact on people who live, work, study and do business in our great city.”

The UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) opened its doors in Newcastle as a commercial gateway to this longevity economy and billion-pound market. The market opportunity for the ageing demographic remains as ‘emerging’, with NICA playing a critical role in stimulating demand locally, nationally, and internationally. Newcastle’s expertise in ageing are long-established and, backed by Government, NICA’s placement in Newcastle recognises the longstanding strengths of Newcastle and Northumbria universities, Newcastle NHS Hospitals Trust, and the private sector in the field of ageing innovation across all sectors.

Professor Nicola Palmarini, Director of the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing said:

“We are so proud to call Newcastle home; a city with world-class strengths in research into healthy ageing, a unique culture that fosters public and private sector collaboration and a natural vocation to involve citizen and their human capital to help build the shape of things to come. Cities and businesses across the globe are tackling the challenges and opportunities of an ageing populations, and we look forward to working with them to gain insight and develop new products, services, and business models for the UK market. Together, we are helping put the UK at the forefront of the longevity economy and collaborating with the Department of International Trade to support the UK Government’s strategic priorities through the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges, improving lives and transforming our future.”

Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture, Newcastle City Council said:

As a city our vision is to create a place where people can live well for longer and our research credentials, expertise and approach to collaboration makes us the go-to place for healthy ageing related innovation. This HPO means more businesses will join our eco-system, support people to live well and create jobs for local people. In challenging times for the UK economy, this is a positive step towards economic recovery and a better future for all.”

Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone said:

“The UK has so much to offer international investors across a variety of key sectors and regions.

“The North East is an important part of the Northern Powerhouse, so I’m pleased to see this High Potential Opportunities Programme is showcasing the opportunities in Newcastle and the surrounding region. The aging population is something we can plan for now and businesses in Newcastle are leading the way in adapting to this challenge.

“The High Potential Opportunities programme is just one of the ways we are looking to increase inward investment, drive economic recovery and prepare for the future.”

In a further bid to encourage foreign investment into the regions, the DIT has also launched a new ‘Investment Champions’ Programme for the Northern Powerhouse, involving ten prominent foreign investors that are based locally, with Newcastle-based international games company Ubisoft being part of this programme. In addition, the Government has also recently announced they will be opening a new UK Office for Investment, an additional strategic resource that will help drive large scale, impactful foreign investment projects into the region.

Based at Newcastle University, NICA is the UK home of Ageing Intelligence®, bringing together human experiences and data-driven insight to help bring new products, business models and services to market. They harness business opportunities related to longevity economies to further facilitate a society that is better equipped to meet the challenges of an ageing population.

For further information about the recent investment opportunities announced by the Department of International Trade visit

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