Alison Mitchell, Executive Director, Sensor City 2

NW in 2018 | Building a knowledge network

In recent years, the benefits associated with collaborative working have become prevalent, particularly in the science and tech sectors, and we’re continuing to champion this at Sensor City, writes executive director, Alison Mitchell.

Sensor City is the hub for sensor technology development and growth based in Liverpool. The building is designed to encourage the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and coupled with our lab facilities, this will help SMEs involved with the Internet of Things and sensors progress their concepts to prototype quickly and effectively.

Since our first tenants arrived earlier this year, we’ve seen them make the most of the knowledge, skills and networks available. The communication and ideas that have evolved between these forward-thinking tech companies has been inspiring. By clustering together in one purpose-built environment, our tenants and members are beginning to visualise how their products and concepts can be improved through the sharing of ideas.

But our focus is not only on collaboration within the building itself. Sensor City is strategically located at the gateway to Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, a £5bn vision which will see a concentration of expertise and ground-breaking innovation take shape within a 400-acre area of the city centre. The Knowledge Quarter already encompasses the two city centre universities, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the new Royal Liverpool Hospital, so we’re in fantastic company.

Sensor City 5

The 25,000 sq ft Government-backed research base Sensor City completed in July 2017

Sensor City and its tenants will benefit from, and be very much a part of, this community of scientists, inventors, academics and students who are at the forefront of discovery in science, health, technology, culture and education. This supportive community will see companies and organisations co-exist and grow together in a unique way.

A key element of the Knowledge Quarter will be Paddington Village, a £1bn development comprising state-of-the-art labs, teaching spaces, shops, restaurants and a hotel at the eastern part of the city. A new train station at Paddington Village will link the district to the city centre, making its unrivalled facilities and innovation spaces even more accessible.

Focusing on collaboration and offering the very best facilities, the city will be in a position to build an exceptionally strong collective of innovators, retaining the very best talent and closing the economic gap between Liverpool and London.

Sensor City is a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, which successfully bid to create the city’s first University Enterprise Zone. The building presents an excellent opportunity for the universities to exchange knowledge with SMEs and also offer further facilities to these businesses. The relationship works both ways, with students and graduates getting the chance to use our world class equipment and lab spaces and learn from our experts and to work with companies.

By sharing ideas and facilities, and offering each other support, those setting up base in the Knowledge Quarter are showing how businesses, organisations and individuals, of varying types and sizes, can work cohesively towards the common goal of discovery.

The regeneration and reinvention of this area of Liverpool is extremely significant not only in its physical addition and resource for the city, but as a catalyst for collaborative working and a focal point for growth and investment.

Sensor City and the Knowledge Quarter can lead the way in creating products and ideas that propel Liverpool onto a global stage in science and technology, a place it wholly deserves to be. The infrastructure and talent is here and 2018 is going to be a very exciting year for innovation in the North.

The North West in 2018 series features guest contributors looking ahead to next year and is published throughout December.

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