On the evening of the 19th April 2016, more than 140 STEM leaders, entrepreneurs and innovations gathered for Innovation Forum Manchester’s opening event “Empowering Innovation in the Northern Powerhouse: beyond graphene” at the Manchester Conference Centre. The event was timely given the recurrent discussion around the Northern Powerhouse, the devolution announced by the Conservative government, and the status of European City of Science currently held by Manchester. The event aimed to bring together the different sectors of academia, industry and support organisations in order to foster collaborations and showcase what the city can offer to the scientific/entrepreneur community.
Professor Dame Nany Rothwell, President and Vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, opened the meeting with a warm welcome and an excellent overview of what Manchester is offering and the importance of the Innovation Forum in the process. Dr Hakim Yadi (CEO, Northern Health Science Alliance), Rowena Burns (CEO, Manchester Science Partnerships) and Dr Martino Picardo (CEO, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst), followed with keynote talks and some exciting points about Manchester’s strengths and weaknesses.
An “all-inclusive” panel discussion
Following this, a panel discussion chaired by Dr Martino Picardo and involving Professor Jean-Noel Ezingeard (Deputy Vice-chancellor, MMU), Lynn Sheppard (Director, Manchester Enterprise Centre), Dr Geoff Davison (CEO, Bionow), Dr Claire Brown (Investment Manager, Alderley Park Ventures), Dr Any Jones (Vice-president Pharmaceutical Innovations, AstraZeneca) and Dr Daniel Jamieson (CEO, Biorelate) took place. Questions came from the audience and stimulated and empowered discussions took place between the panellists and audience around the future of innovation in Manchester and its suitability/relevance as a world-leading place for business, particularly focusing on its weaknesses and its position in contrast with Oxbridge, and how these will be overcome.
An opportunity for all to network
The event concluded with drinks, canapes and a valuable opportunity for visitors to engage with senior STEM leaders in Manchester and other delegates sharing common concerns.