Building on his region’s strengths in innovation, high tech and creativity is one of the priorities of West of England mayor Tim Bowles.
He outlined his aims in his draft strategy, which was presented to delegates at the University of the West of England in late July.
At its core, the plan aims for economic growth that benefits every resident by ensuring more job opportunities, a stronger economy and a better quality of life.
Of the three priorities laid out in the plan, he says: “The first priority is to build on our strengths as a leader in innovation, high tech and creativity, and continue to nurture successful businesses.
“Secondly, we need to ensure that our residents have the right skills for our regional businesses.
“Thirdly we must put the foundations in place to create more homes that are affordable, improve public transport, roads, cycle and pedestrian routes, as well as digital connectivity.”
The West of England’s digital sector was hailed as the most productive in the UK according to a Tech Nation report.
The area is leading innovation with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the National Composites Centre, the UK’s hub to develop and implement composite manufacturing technologies.
Some of the world’s first autonomous robots were developed there, a tradition continued by Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which is the UK’s largest centre for multidisciplinary robotics and AI research and development.
Historically, the area also has a strong track record on innovation and knowledge intensive industries. It is the place where the transputer chip was invented, from where Concorde first took flight and where the use of composites in aircraft was pioneered.
We have also highlighted the digital plans of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, as well as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer and Sadiq Khan’s plans to make London a world-leading tech centre.
Area: Bristol and Bath
Mayor: Tim Bowles
Digital jobs: 35,924
Digital GVA: £1.7bn
Digital tech turnover: £8.16m
Average advertised digital salary: £47,063
Tech employers: JustEat, Sony, Amazon
Famous for: A history of microchip design and aerospace. Supercomputing expert Cray has set up its European HQ in Bristol. Bristol Robotics Lab is a leading academic centre for robotics research.