Science holds the key for region

Science and technology could hold the key for the North East’s economic growth, according to a North East shadow minister.

 Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central MP, and shadow minister for business, innovation and skills, thinks that the region’s growing science sector could spearhead the resurgence of the economy here, generating jobs for the future, and putting the North East on the map nationally and internationally.

 Ms Onwurah made the statement after visiting Sedgefield-based North East Technology Park (NETPark), which is home to dozens of emerging science businesses, including Reinnervate, an innovative cell culture business.  She believes that the North East can learn from countries like Germany, where the economy has bounced back on the strength of its manufacturing industry.

 “With the right support, I believe that the North East can capitalise on its strengths in science, technology and advanced manufacturing, and grow its economy.

 “We have a large number of innovative and highly specialised businesses in the region that are taking technology to new heights and I believe that through support and promotion, something NETPark is doing a fantastic job delivering for its businesses, we can put the North East firmly on the technology map.”

 NETPark is a well established technology hub, and one of the fastest growing science parks in the UK.  The park, which is managed by County Durham Development Company on behalf of Durham County Council, supports companies that are developing technology and products in the physical sciences, particularly printable electronics, microelectronics, photonics and nanotechnology, and their application in the fields of energy, defence, and medical-related technologies.  Ms Onwura’s visit is part of a recent tour of technology centres across the North East. 

 She added: “Most people’s view of manufacturing resembles the industry’s image 20 or 30 years ago. 

 “Many of the businesses I have seen here at NETPark, and at sites like the Centre for Process and Innovation, paint a very exciting picture of modern manufacturing, and I believe that if we remain at the sharp end of technology, we can unlock the potential that exists in the region.”

 Councillor Neil Foster, portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development at Durham County Council, said: “NETPark represents a key investment for Durham County Council.

 “We believe that we need to ‘grow our own’, and create a culture in which businesses start up, develop and stay in Durham and the North East and that is what NETPark is all about.”

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