Part 1 of this special feature showed that CCR has been very active in making astute investments in innovation – from the £38.5 million funding of the compound semiconductor ecosystem to the equally substantial sum invested in Aberthaw. But innovation is about more than ‘just’ investment. Innovation also needs inspiration, nurture, encouragement and championing. As CCR well knows …
CREATING THE CONDITIONS FOR COLLABORATION & INNOVATION
Collaboration and co-production are at the heart of sustained innovation – bringing together the energy and best practices of government, education and the private sector.
And in a few short years, CCR has already been a prime mover in galvanising and driving key collaborative innovations with world-class ambitions …
Creating a world-leading Cyber Innovation Hub
CCR have invested £3 million in co-funding a world-beating cyber hub that will open later this year – enabling our region to become a global leader in the cyber security that’s so essential to any digital innovation. We have partnered with the Welsh Government, Cardiff University, University of South Wales and industrial leaders such as Airbus, Alacrity Cyber and Thales NDEC to make this happen with a mission to grow our cyber security sector by 50% and train more than 1,000 cyber-skilled people by 2030.
Colan Mehaffey, CCR’s Head of Digital & Data Innovation, put the potential of this major development into its true perspective when he explained:
“Cyber Security is a priority sector for CCR – we have strength in the region, and this investment shows our commitment to growing the cluster significantly. Ensuring that we have a pipeline of new companies, and the best talent is critical to the cluster’s growth, and we’re delighted to work with Welsh Government in funding this transformational initiative. What we want is a healthy runway of innovation and entrepreneurs as part of the development of our clusters, and also access to capital; ensuring the finances are there to invest in our clusters for future growth and to make them robust. Ultimately, we want to realise benefits for our citizens and that will come in many forms as a result of the Cyber Innovation Hub – increased economic investment in the region, inward investment and in terms of social value and social benefit.”
Shaping Priority Sectors of international repute
Our strategy of supporting innovation in targeted sectors is achieving its goals (and more) in growing sustainable value and realising new horizons for the whole region – fully embracing the Strength In Places programmes of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support local innovation around clusters of existing strength.
The result? Inspired innovation powers each of our priority sectors, day after day. Our unique compound semiconductor cluster is the only one of its kind in the world and is the heartbeat of the fourth industrial revolution … our multiple-Oscar -winning creative Industries are amongst the best in Europe and beyond, taking centre stage in helping produce block-busters enjoyed by audiences on every continent … our thriving cybersecurity sector is recognised as world-standard, having evolved a testbed that can’t be found anywhere else … our fast-growing fintech industry is becoming exponentially important on a national and international stage – and we are consistently creating major breakthroughs in MedTech through the exemplary work of exceptional start-ups, scale-ups and university spin-outs.
Forging a joined-up Future-Skills Programme
The Cardiff Capital Region Skills Partnership has brought together key decision-makers from the worlds of business, education, training provision and government – creating a demand-led approach to developing skills and talent, shaping sustainable skills pipelines that are designed to increase productivity and prosperity across the region, all aligned to the CCR Industrial and Economic Plan.
Beyond that, CCR’s very own Venture Skills & Talent Hub is both helping fund and support a series of pioneering programmes that are helping create brand new learning pathways – including supporting the Innovate UK Young Innovators programme, the Cybersecurity Masters programme, the Infuse Public Sector Innovation programme and our very own Venture Graduate – a Graduate Recruitment service offered free of charge to every employer in the region.
Challenging our Public & Private Sectors to create novel solutions
The CCR Challenge Fund is aimed at re-building local wealth through innovative solutions that tackle some of our most urgent societal problems – from accelerating decarbonisation to transforming communities or supporting health and wellbeing.
Working in partnership with Cardiff University and Y Lab and other organisations such as Innovate UK-KTN, the fund is an open invitation for our public bodies to develop challenges and connect with the enterprises capable of solving those challenges – drawing on our region’s creativity and ingenuity, bringing together the public and private sectors in pursuit of novel solutions that make a telling difference.
As Gareth Browning, Head of CCR Challenges, aptly notes: “No one has all the answers, but by working together we can find the right answers. That is what the Challenge Fund is all about – encouraging fresh thinking and bringing together new ideas from all sectors, innovating for the good of all.”
BEING THE REGION-WIDE CHAMPION OF INNOVATION
Innovation is at the heart of all the ‘push and pull’ you would expect in a region that’s reimagining and reshaping. CCR is constantly looking to be the catalyst and home for that spirit – as well as a voice and champion that amplifies, encourages and celebrates ‘the new’ in action …
Amplifying ambition, encouraging the bold, celebrating the new …
In the past 12 months alone, we have celebrated the success of our potential Fintech unicorns – Coincover, Delio, Sonovate and Yoello – as well as remarkable financial technology start-ups such as Shipshape and Stock Up.
We have been proud to give a voice to extraordinary MedTech’s like Glucose Republic, ImmunoServ and MeOmics – and share the innovation that’s driving everything from the ingenious AI of Amplyfi and the inclusive broadband infrastructure of Ogi, to the astonishing inventiveness of Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB’s Advanced Digital Physiological Engineering Hub.
We have been impressed by what often appears to be a conveyor-belt of academia-based game changers being created by the Global Academies of Cardiff Metropolitan University, the Data Nation Accelerator of Cardiff University and the Faculty of Creative Industries that continues to set the world alight from its home at the University of South Wales.
It’s that consistent adaptation of novel thinking into real-world application – from the private sector, academia and public sector partnership working – that distinguishes our region as a centre of innovation punching far above its weight and building an enviable reputation far beyond our borders.
CCR ‘is’ innovation in action …
It could be said that CCR is itself an innovation in action. Ten unitary authorities have come together for the very first time, committed to working together to innovate on a scale never seen before, across a region that’s home to 50% of the Welsh economy and half the Welsh population.
This feature has scoped some of the areas where our interventions and inputs are driving and delivering innovative outcomes and outputs. But this is just the beginning.
As Kellie Beirne, Director of CCR, summarised when asked about the importance of spotlighting innovation in our region:
“It’s almost too important to put into words. Every single success achieved through out-of-the-box thinking needs to be applauded. Every partnership and collaboration that pushes the boundaries of current practice has to be highlighted. The best is yet to come – a new mindset, building a new region.”
Over the coming months and years, the fruit of this ‘New’ will become increasingly apparent as the net results of all of the above transform our communities, businesses, public services – and the everyday lives of the 1.5 million people who choose CCR as their home, enabling everyone to reap the benefits of a region being reinvented by #InnovationInAction.
To discover more about CCR and our investments go to: