Teesside University should be the driving force behind a Global Centre of Excellence based around bioscience, the zero-carbon economy and the potential of green steel.
The recommendation has been made by the UK2070 Teesside Task Force in a major report looking at how to tackle inequality in the region and provide opportunities for jobs and growth.
The findings of the report have been welcomed by Teesside University which has pledged to work with regional and national partners to deliver on its ambitions.
The Teesside Taskforce was established by the UK2070 Commission to work with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority to support the long-standing aspirations for a major increase in the number and quality of job opportunities in Tees Valley, alongside enhancing the wellbeing of people who live in Teesside. Its Report on Findings, published today, sets out immediate opportunities for reinforcing current initiatives.
This sets out a framework for Tees Valley to Go Big in delivering Green Growth, across the Tees Valley strengthening the national role of Tees Valley and building on the local distinctiveness and growing interdependencies of Teesside’s main towns.
The report sets out how these ambitions could be accelerated by the immediate implementation of programmes to tackle Green Fuel Poverty, level up access to job opportunities, transform the living conditions of the most disadvantaged communities and create a Global Centre of Excellence around the university and new industries.
The Global Centre of Excellence will build upon Teesside University’s established reputation of working together with industry to deliver impact, particularly in the fields of bioscience, innovation and sustainability.
Since it opened in 2019, the National Horizons Centre, at Teesside University’s Darlington campus, has established itself as a national centre of excellence for bioscience. In particular, throughout the coronavirus pandemic it has played a vital role helping train the vaccine manufacturing workforce.
The University is also working with Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority on a Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre which will bring together expert insight, resources and partnerships to grow net zero capabilities and opportunities, placing the region at the forefront of the clean energy agenda and helping to create hundreds more clean energy jobs.
The University’s Centre for Sustainable Engineering focuses on the design, development, and enhancement of engineering systems, processes, and products that are efficient and sustainable without compromising the natural environment.
From supporting the growth of the economy, to delivering the transition to net zero, Teesside University will continue to contribute the knowledge, skills and insight to develop solutions that shape the future, today.
The Teesside Taskforce report also recommends that Teesside University’s Ambition Delivered Today 2025 strategy is accelerated and for the University to work with the Combined Authority to establish new processes for local community engagement to strengthen the benefits of devolution.
Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Paul Croney said: “As an anchor institution with a civic mission, Teesside University takes an uncompromising approach to levelling-up opportunity. This can only be achieved with cooperation and collaboration; the time is now to work together and deliver real change.
“Universities are engines of innovation and impact. I am delighted to see this evidenced within the Commission’s findings and wholeheartedly support the recommendation to establish a Centre of Excellence in the Tees Valley.
“From supporting the growth of the economy, to delivering the transition to net zero, Teesside University will continue to contribute the knowledge, skills and insight to develop solutions that shape the future, today.”
The UK2070 Commission is an independent inquiry into city and regional inequalities in the UK. It has been set up to conduct a review of the policy and spatial issues related to the UK’s long-term city and regional development.
Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission, said: “I was pleased to chair a formal Teesside Taskforce session earlier this year, with Teesside University hosting the UK2070 Commission.
“This is the culmination of extensive consultation across the whole of Teesside. Evidence was provided by Mayor Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside University, industry partners and international submissions from South Africa.
“I wanted to thank everyone, especially Mayor Houchen, the Combined Authority and Teesside University, for their support of today’s publication.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to transform Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, level up our communities, drive growth and create good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people generations to come.
“I welcome the UK2070 Commission Teesside Taskforce report and thank Lord Kerslake for his visits to the region and evidence as to how we can achieve our ambitions, ambitions that will deliver a brighter future for local people as we spearhead the UK’s transition to being a net zero nation by 2050.”