North West Coastal Arc Partnership for Clean and Sustainable Growth

A Science and Innovation Audit Report sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy


A Science and Innovation Audit Report sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

In Autumn 2015, the UK Government announced regional Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) to catalyse a new approach to regional economic development. SIAs enable local consortia to focus on analysing regional strengths and identify mechanisms to realise their potential. The North West Coastal Arc (NWCA) Partnership for Clean and Sustainable Growth was formed in 2017 to focus on our strength in science and innovation for Clean and Sustainable Growth. This report presents the results which include broad-ranging analysis of the NWCA Clean and Sustainable Growth Partnership’s capabilities, the challenges and the substantial opportunities for future economic growth.

The 2017 UK Industrial Strategy White Paper recognizes that Clean Growth is not simply a challenge but a very significant opportunity to increase productivity, create jobs and scale-up earning power right across the country. In 2014 the global market for low carbon products and processes alone was worth $US3.4 trillion and this is predicted to rise to in excess of $US8 trillion by 2025. In the UK, employment, turnover and GVA in this sector are all growing rapidly (12%, 25% and 28% respectively between 2010 and 2013) and are predicted to grow by 11% per year between 2015 and 2030 – 4 times faster than the rest of the economy. This could deliver between £60 billion and £170 billion of UK export sales by 2030.

This SIA provides the evidence base to demonstrate that the NWCA is exceptionally well positioned to lead globally in developing both the innovations and the skilled people that will drive forward the economic and environmental benefits of Clean and Sustainable Growth. The NWCA partners share a collective vision of translating world-class research via innovation for Clean and Sustainable Growth to create regional economic value.

The SIA consortium is led by Lancaster University and includes all the region’s LEPs (Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, Liverpool City, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire), the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and the Mersey-Dee Alliance, together with companies of all sizes, and across a wide range of sectors. It brings together the complementary research strengths of ten regional universities,

Lancaster, Liverpool (both members of the N8 partnership), Bangor, Chester, Cumbria, Edge Hill, Keele, Liverpool, John Moores (LMJU), University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Wrexham Glyndwr and other national research assets, together with Blackpool and The Fylde College.

“There is a need to be understood as an established cross-border region, as resources and programmes tend to be project-based and targeted around areas and geographies in either England or Wales. Given our functioning cross-border economy spans both countries, the traditional national funding models really do not help/actively hinder our development as a region.”

Ashley Rogers

North West Mersey Dee Council

North West Coastal Arc

“Lancaster University is very strong at engaging in R&D. They have been heavily involved with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment to disseminate the knowledge from the research to practitioners.”

Gillian Gibson

Gibson Consulting and Training

North West Coastal Arc

“We have seen evidence of interest from China in our expertise, but there is a need for support to overcome the challenges in translating this to commercial benefits through consultancy and other services.”

Rob Lamb

JBA Trust

North West Coastal Arc


The project writing team was led by Nigel Paul and included Ruth Alcock, Mike Entwistle, Mark Rushforth and Dion Williams. Additional support at Lancaster University was provided by Mark Bowen, Gemma Davies, Paul Graves and Masud Khokhar.

The work benefited from support by SDG (Simon Pringle, Scott Dickinson, David Briggs and Robert Macnee), Technopolis and project partner colleagues in particular Mark Bacon, Bryn Jones, Matt Fulton, Andy Plater, Stephen Fisher, Simon Bolton, Peter Alun Thomas, Paul Armstrong, Garfield Southall, Keziah Pickford-Avery, Melissa Crellin, Rob Lamb, Stephen Barnwell, Janet Addison and Gordon Smith. The team gratefully acknowledges the comments and advice from Michael Contaldo, Andy Walker, Mark Knowles, John Whaling and Iwan Trefor Jones. Thanks also to WASH for the design.

Contact Points

Professor Nigel Paul

Director of the Centre for Global Ecoinnovation
Lancaster University
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 510208

Dion Williams

Director of Research, Enterprise & Innovation
Lancaster University
Tel: +44 (0)1524 594204