Posted 17 May 2018
“The successful commercialisation of new technologies is expected to make a major contribution to the UK’s capacity for a vibrant agri-food system and rural economy."
A major global investment drive was launched today by International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, and Harper Adams University will be a key contributor to this important initiative.
The programme, part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, will seek to generate £30 billion of investment across 68 projects all over the UK, helping to promote economic growth in every region.
A key component of the plan will be the creation of 3 pilot High Potential Opportunities (HPO) in specific industry sectors. One of these, in high-tech food production, will be based in Telford, an area, highlighted in the announcement as having an advanced engineering cluster with crossover technologies, for example in remote sensors, and availability of development-ready land with pro-active planning and inward investment support from the Local Authority.
The HPO pilot scheme singles out Harper Adams University, located in the Telford area, as a major contributor to the plan for growth, noting that the University is: “A world-leader in agri-tech research and home of the National Centre for Precision Farming - developing automation, drones and autonomous systems and with strong links to and appetite to work with business”.
High Potential Opportunities will aim to bring growth and jobs to all parts of the UK economy by promoting those investment opportunities currently disadvantaged by a lack of information, and which might therefore be overlooked by foreign investors. The Telford pilot, together with those in Doncaster on railway stock and Greater Manchester on materials for the transport sector, will be followed by other HPOs in due course. The initiative will enable the UK to be more responsive to the needs of foreign investors and better match investor requirements with opportunities across the UK that have the capacity to drive high value growth and jobs.
Speaking at the launch event in Stirling, Dr Fox said: ‘This is a bold and ambitious programme, building on the UK's position as the leading destination for foreign investment in Europe through the government's Industrial Strategy, helping to build a Britain fit for the future.
“The High Potential Opportunities scheme will deliver growth where it is most needed, ensuring that the benefits of global investment are felt in every part of the country.
“And with more than £30 billion worth of new opportunities, my international economic department’s overseas network is working hard to attract top investors to the UK.”
The Department for International Trade, in liaison with the Local Authority and the University, has already created a prospectus for the pilot HPO to be used by Government to help promote Telford as a location for inward investment for high-tech agriculture and food businesses. The Local Authority is already working with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and the University to create an Innovation Park, located in nearby Newport, as a key location for new business growth.
Commenting on the announcement, Harper Adams University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn said: ‘The pilot High Potential Opportunity in high-tech food production will build on the University’s extensive facilities and expertise in agri-food engineering and precision farming, as well as in other agri-food disciplines, including the novel area of agri-tech economics.
“The successful commercialisation of new technologies is expected to make a major contribution to the UK’s capacity for a vibrant agri-food system and rural economy. This initiative will provide an exciting opportunity to work with our Local Authority and Government to engage with foreign companies keen to make the UK a part of their plans for growth; to make the Telford area a hub for agri-tech investment and to capitalise on the potential for university-industry collaboration in agri-food technology research and education in which Harper Adams has considerable strengths.”
An Online one stop shop invest.great.gov.uk has been launched to help global investors find UK projects.