Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, today officially opened technical innovation centre Sensor City – the joint venture between LJMU and the University of Liverpool.
Official opening the facility, the Secretary of State, said:
“Sensor City is a brilliant example of our Industrial Strategy in action, a hub that will bring together the best academic minds and entrepreneurs with businesses, large and small, to explore opportunities and foster collaborations that will turn innovative ideas into scale-up businesses. I am delighted we have been able to support its creation with £5 million of funding.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy has an ambitious long-term vision for the UK. We are committed to building on our strengths as a country and delivering a high-skilled economy for the years ahead. Sensor City will help us deliver on this ambition and make a valuable contribution to this work, driving forward innovation.”
Before the official launch ceremony, the Secretary of State took part in a tour of the facilities where he met resident businesses and saw examples of other technological innovation from LJMU including 3D printed footwear from the LJMU Fab Lab and healthcare sensors developed by academics in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology.
Professor Nigel Weatherill DL, Vice Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University and Chairman of the Sensor City Board, also gave an address during the official opening ceremony, saying:
"This is a landmark day for the city of Liverpool. Sensor City embodies a truly pioneering partnership that will enable Liverpool to be a leading British city in addressing modern industrial challenges through sensor technology. It is testament to the significance of Sensor City that Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business and Energy, is launching the facility and he will see first-hand how sensor products developed here in Liverpool, are already breaking boundaries in healthcare, sports and gaming innovation."
Professor Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region also spoke at the launch which was attended by around 60 guests from across the UK.
Over the next decade, the landmark joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University aims to:
- Create 300 start-up businesses and 1,000 jobs
- Foster industry–academic collaborations
- Bring together knowledge and experience in technology
- Support high-tech businesses working on sensor systems and applications
- Stimulate business growth regionally, nationally and ultimately internationally
The facility is open to start-ups, entrepreneurs and big business who want to access the sensor related skills, services and equipment that will enable them to leapfrog from idea to prototype.
Alison Mitchell, Executive Director of Sensor City, said: “Since we moved into this iconic facility earlier this year, we’ve made great strides towards building a community of tech companies that are pushing the boundaries of IoT and sensor innovation.
“Our partnerships – both with academia and big business - are opening up access to world-leading knowledge, support and services. Together, we’re creating the skills base for emerging technologies in the North West, boosting jobs for the future and supporting our local community.”
Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: “Sensor City is an exciting example of industrial collaboration in action and has huge potential for the delivery of both regional and national prosperity. Bringing together the expertise of our two universities with the experience of the UK’s most forward-thinking sensor technology companies and the wonderful facilities here at Sensor City, we have the makings of something very special and exciting.”
To date, Sensor City has gained the following funding:
- The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has backed the project with a £5 million University Enterprise Zone status capital investment award
- The England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, awarded £5 million in capital investment as match funding to support the development of the hi-tech sensor hub
- The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University have each committed £1.5m to the project and £2m of co-investment from corporate sponsors over the next five years
Sensor City includes a Software Design Suite, Mechanical Laboratory, Optical Laboratory and Electronics Laboratory, as well as offering coaching, business mentoring and access to funding.
Occupying a prime position in the city centre, Sensor City lies at the gateway to KQ Liverpool and is already home to a number of leading businesses, including health innovator, Chanua Health, Fatigue Management International (FMI), Aqua Running and UPLEC Industries.
Approximately 2,000 sq ft is still available on the second floor of the building, with just over 2,800 sq ft free on the first floor. There are also hot desking facilities available on the ground floor.