Sheffield City Region can play host to 'new industrial revolution'

University of Sheffield vice-chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett
University of Sheffield vice-chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett
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A 'new industrial revolution' can begin in the Sheffield City Region, according to business and education leaders.

A vision for the region, launched by Sheffield's two universities and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals last week, puts building an ambitious economy first on its list of action points.

The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

It highlights the need to develop existing strengths such as manufacturing and engineering, while also embracing newer industries such as digital.

The plan also focuses on small business and enterprise, an area where Sheffield and the rest of the city region is falling behind. And in it's second action point, it says the region must be 'globally ambitious' while also make investment work for residents and local businesses.

Speaking at Thursday's launch event at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Catcliffe, the University of Sheffield's vice-chancellor Prof Sir Keith Burnett said the region still had a strong international reputation from its manufacturing past, but it needed to develop to succeed.

Highlighting emerging industries such as digital, creative and logistics, he said: "This is the place where we can put together a new industrial revolution."

Sir Keith at the launch event.

Sir Keith at the launch event.

The vision, called 'A Better Future Together', calls on everyone in the city region to work together.

It sets out a plan to create new innovation districts, and offer a specialist programme of support for leading innovative businesses.

It identified the need to develop more links between businesses and research institutions, suggesting a 'city of health' network as an example.

The vision says more must be done to develop high quality management and leadership skills, and to keep graduates in the region with good jobs.

It calls for support for small and micro business, along with social enterprises, and urges a 'sustained effort' to make the most of opportunities within the region.

Sir Keith said: "We have done wonderful things in terms of our core (businesses), but that's not going to be a success if it's on its own.

"We have got to capture other resources across the city region and contact them."

Speaking at the launch event, John Lewis property director Jeremy Collins praised the collective approach.

He said: "I haven't seen any other region or city come together and take on this aim, and be quite so clear about the areas in which it wants to excel.

"As a private investor, that creates a very encouraging atmosphere in which to consider future engagement."