£15m facility, a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, offers world-class research and development into the use of sensors. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s pioneering technical innovation centre Sensor City has attracted 42 businesses in its first year.
The £15m facility, a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, offers world-class research and development into the use of sensors across a host of industrial processes.
Since it was opened in November 2017 by Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark, Sensor City has welcomed 11 tenants and 31 hot deskers and has worked with student start-ups, entrepreneurs and big businesses from America, Asia and Europe.
It has seen the completion of 45 projects to date, covering healthcare, sport and industrial – with a 50% rise in laboratory projects in the past three months. They have included 3D printing support, use of its specialist laser cutter and mechanical laboratory work and there is an increasing interest in access to the centre’s unique 3D electronic prototyping facility.
Engineers have also assisted with a further 27 projects through Sensor City’s partnership with LCR 4.0 – a part ERDF funded business support programme.
Dr Joanne Phoenix, interim executive director at Sensor City, said: “The progress we’ve made in the last year is really encouraging. We’ve surpassed what we thought was possible in terms of providing business support and bringing in state-of-the-art machinery, as well as attracting new tenancies and stimulating community engagement.
“Liverpool city region is innovative by nature, so there are many new and existing companies coming up with pioneering ideas every day. It’s our job to make those ideas a reality through the advanced technology, funding, partnerships and expert support we provide.”
As a flagship University Enterprise Zone, Sensor City is paving the way for bringing knowledge and experience in technology together through fostering industry-academic collaborations. It has established 12 partnerships in its first year, in addition to hosting almost 300 events at the building, with 10,000 people in attendance.
Sensor City has also established a corporate partner programme, linking major enterprises with SMEs to drive innovation and collaboration. Three of these have been undertaken to date with Unilever, EDF Energy and housing provider Halton Housing.
The long-term objectives of the technical innovation hub is to create 1,000 jobs and 300 businesses over the next decade.