Knowledge Quarter awarded landmark Government Science and Innovation Audit

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has instigated a Science and Innovation Audit for an area of London known as the Knowledge Quarter; encompassing Bloomsbury, Euston and King’s Cross. The consortium leading the audit includes the British Library; Camden Council; the Knowledge Quarter; the Royal Veterinary College; City, University of London and UCL.

The Knowledge Quarter area, part of the boroughs of Camden and Islington, is home to 18 higher education institutions and over 600 research groups as well as world-renowned companies such as Google, Wellcome Trust and Springer Nature. It has attracted international attention in recent years due to the arrival of the Alan Turing Institute, the Francis Crick Institute and Central Saint Martins, UAL.

The next five years will see continued growth for the area with the construction of corporate headquarters for Universal Music, McKinsey & Company, and Google, as well as an extension for the British Library and the national Dementia Institute at UCL.

The audit will investigate the extent and ability for the Knowledge Quarter area to deliver major economic benefits for the wider UK. It will focus on five ‘smart specialisms’ including emerging Infectious Diseases, including Antimicrobial Resistance; Musculoskeletal Pathology Associated with Ageing; Dementias; Digital Archiving, Curation and Publishing; and Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence.

In addition, the audit will map the area’s global competitive advantages and build on identified areas of research innovation and scientific strength which will increase UK productivity, create jobs, and drive economic growth.

Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said:

“Now in its third wave, the Science and Innovation Audits are providing valuable insight into the ground-breaking work taking place across the UK and the contributions we are making to solve challenges across the world.

“The work of the successful regions undertaking their SIA in this wave will support the development and delivery of our Industrial Strategy and allow local places to build on their strengths.  This will ensure that the UK remains competitive in the global market and is best placed to continue leading scientific discoveries and taking them to market.”

Chair of the Knowledge Quarter and Chief Executive of the British Library, Roly Keating, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted that the Knowledge Quarter has been selected as the focus for one of the Government’s Science and Innovation Audits.  Across its 88 member organisations, KQ already boasts a unique concentration of world-class talent and resources across science, research and culture.  The Audit will provide the catalyst – and the evidence base – that will help us make an even greater contribution to UK innovation and economic growth.”

Principal of the RVC, Professor Stuart Reid, said:

“The RVC is delighted to have a leading role in this Science Innovation Audit on behalf of the Knowledge Quarter.  The future success of science depends on organisations working together, exploiting the synergy between our different skills sets and ensuring the outcomes have social, economic and political impact.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost for Enterprise and London, said:

“We are delighted that the Knowledge Quarter proposal for a Science and Innovation Audit has been supported. This is an exciting opportunity for all of the Knowledge Quarter’s world-leading partners in Camden, including universities and industry. The Science and Innovation Audit will help to unlock innovation and new collaborative initiatives across sectors, contributing to our neighbourhood, London and the country.”

Dr Natalie Cozier, Head of Knowledge Transfer at City said:

“This announcement galvanises my optimism about the future of the Knowledge Quarter. With a focus on business and the professions and a central London location, I believe City will make a strong contribution to the KQ SIA Steering Group and KQ Alliance”.

Professor Andrew Jones, Vice-President (Research & Enterprise), at City said:

“We have an exceptional collection of science and innovation assets and our strategy is focused on greatly enhancing their potential. The establishment of the KQ SIA will enable us to demonstrate how our work in artificial intelligence, data science and in the creative industries can impact even more sectors.”

Click here to read the full press release.