It is undeniable that Oxfordshire presents significant potential for the UK economy, particularly in the context of a post-Brexit economy – but to maximise this potential, collaborative working across all stakeholders, is absolutely essential.
Assets such as the University of Oxford and its world-class research programmes, Harwell Campus, Culham Science Centre and a thriving automotive sector not only have worldwide reach but are already internationally-established too.
And they are set to become even more vital – not just for Oxfordshire, but ‘UK PLC’ – as we move towards a more ‘globally-facing’ economy.
Leading the world in transformative technologies
In addition to these significant international assets, we are world-leaders in the transformative technologies of digital health, space-led data applications, connected and autonomous vehicles and technologies underpinning quantum computing.
A science and innovation audit – authored by the Oxfordshire Transformative Technologies Alliance in the autumn of 2017 – suggested that, if fully-utilised, these four technologies alone could potentially add £180bn GVA growth to the UK economy by 2030.
It's a story that we feel needs to be told as regularly as possible to both national and international audiences.
As a Local Enterprise Partnership, we have already ‘taken the Oxfordshire economy’ to Westminster on three occasions over the past six months, highlighting both the capabilities and opportunities these technologies have to offer through House of Commons economic briefings.
The Oxford-Cambridge Arc also offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to the UK economy through leveraging all the economic strengths across that region.
Collaboration is key
Collaborative working between Local Enterprise Partnerships, universities and local authorities has seen us highlight the potential from this emerging economic region, which currently contributes around £111bn GVA each year, with potential to do more.
Success – both within Oxfordshire and the wider Oxford-Cambridge Arc – can be accelerated if we position the Arc’s potential clearly in the minds of global investors – but again, this can only be done effectively by bringing everyone together, including our key businesses, government, local authorities and academia.
Collaborative working across all areas of our work needs to be met by ambition too.
Oxfordshire’s Local Industrial Strategy directly responds to the UK Industrial Strategy – launched by the government in November 2017 – which aims to increase growth and productivity across the country and create more prosperous communities.
Making the Industrial Strategy local
Our Local Industrial Strategy is ambitious and positions Oxfordshire as one of the top-three global innovation ecosystems, highlighting our world-leading science and technology cluster.
It provides a business-led framework, detailing how we can realise our full-potential, raising productivity and supporting greater commercialisation of our unique innovation assets.
Working in collaboration with key partners, we want our Local Industrial Strategy to be a pioneer for the UK and our emerging transformative technologies and sectors.
Only through collaboration will our asset-rich, vibrant economy be able to deliver on these many opportunities, not just for Oxfordshire but for the wider UK economy too.