So why is the Knowledge Economy so important to our core cities? In Birmingham, where GVA hosted the first of a series of debates around the Knowledge Economy last year, it is a key driver of economic growth, providing jobs for a flexible and already technically adept workforce.
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council and a keynote speaker at the GVA event in Birmingham, holds a PhD in nuclear reactor physics from the University of Birmingham and an honorary doctorate from the University of Aston, where he also lectured in nuclear reactor physics from 1974 to 1999, so doesn’t need much convincing about how vital the Knowledge Economy as a driver of jobs and growth:
“While Birmingham has a substantial legacy in advanced manufacturing, it is imperative for the continued well-being of the regional economies that we strive towards greater diversification and growth into new core sectors. Development of this Knowledge Economy is absolutely fundamental in securing higher value economic growth in the core cities that power our regions and the country [as a whole].
“In our city, the burgeoning creative and digital sectors, alongside top quality research in areas such as clinical and life sciences at our three outstanding universities are continuing to ensure Birmingham’s place in an ever-changing world.
“Research such as this from leading regional bodies like GVA is absolutely vital in ensuring that each of the UK’s key cities is pulling together in the same direction for the greater good of the UK economy.”
Likewise, Dr David Hardman MBE, the CEO of the Innovation Birmingham Science Park, and another keynote speaker at GVA’s Birmingham Knowledge Economy event, is also a champion of the sector’s vital importance as a driver of economic success and change for our core cities:
“Birmingham’s start-up community needs to be inspired to generate more high-growth ventures. The city’s support for its entrepreneurial community is not making enough headway because it is too complex and too fragmented, and as a consequence efforts are being diluted. While Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future centre is creating more than 20 innovative tech start-ups per year, as a city, we need to do things differently. All available resources need to be readily accessible, and we need to use the strengths of this legacy as the foundations for new growth.
“It is a well-documented fact that cities create economic potential, but not all deliver to the fullest possible extent. In large cities – which by their very nature stimulate ideas and opportunities – individuals with related or complementary objectives become buried in city infrastructure. This limits connections and thwarts delivery of economic growth. The solution is in part visible clustering, or the establishment of knowledge quarters; but too often these fall victim to hype or become sector-specific and limit serendipitous opportunity.
“Through Birmingham’s five universities, the city is producing world-class research and graduates prepared to take their place in the knowledge-intensive industries. The support of national organisations such as GVA is vital in ensuring that the UK’s core cities are developing strategies that can sit alongside each other, be additive, and ensure continued growth and prosperity.”