Technology has moved to top of Liverpool’s agenda with a series of key appointments.
Iain Hennessey, clinical director of innovation at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Liz Mear, chief executive of the Innovation Agency (pictured below), are both big supporters of digital and are among five new members of the Liverpool City Region Innovation Board.
The body’s stated mission is to accelerate the growth and competitiveness of the Liverpool city region’s economy by translating knowledge and ideas into commercial activities.
The other appointments are Jeremy Stevens, strategy and external communications director at eCommerce giant Shop Direct; Clemens Wangerin, managing director at virtual reality social media platform vTime; and Jonathan Brown, managing director of energy at Cammell Laird.
“The Innovation Agency works with small businesses, clinicians and academics in Liverpool City Region and beyond and every day we experience the inventive, entrepreneurial culture and passion to innovate to improve health care for residents,” said Dr Mear.
“I am delighted to have a role in supporting and promoting the fantastic knowledge, skills and ambition within Liverpool City Region, particularly in the life sciences sector.”
New Liverpool metro mayor Steve Rotheram has taken on lead responsibility himself for the innovation and digital agenda.
The appointments come against the backdrop of £2 billion of direct or indirect investment in innovation infrastructure across the region, including £113 million government funding for the Hartree Centre, £200m support from IBM linked to the deployment of its Watson artificial intelligence platform, £64m for the Materials Innovation factory, £15m for the Sensor City incubator, £335m for the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Unilever’s new £24m advanced manufacturing centre.
The Liverpool City Region Innovation Board was formed in 2012 and been led since 2015 by Dr Jon Hague, VP for operations and open innovation at Unilever Global R&D.
He said: “Liverpool City Region has an excellent record in research and innovation with potential to improve further.
“By strengthening the board and bringing in more private sector involvement this will accelerate our aim to commercialise the region’s scientific, industrial and innovation assets and maximise economic growth.”
Wangerin (pictured above) said: “Throughout two decades spent working in the region, I have been involved in managing, creating and delivering world-class, innovative and pioneering products and services for game consoles, mobile devices, and new forms of computing like virtual and augmented reality.
“I’m looking forward to adding some of that experience into the considerable pool of talent and expertise already on the board and hope to help shape tangible future outcomes.”