New Year message from Liverpool City Council Leader

Speaking on behalf of Liverpool City Council, one of KQ Liverpool’s Partners, Council Leader, Cllr Liam Robinson, reflects on 2023 and looks ahead to the new year...

In May 2023, I was so proud to be elected Leader of Liverpool City Council. It is one of the greatest privileges of my life and of huge significance for me personally to represent the city I call home.

From day one of my term, my focus has been to end the statutory intervention at Liverpool City Council and restore trust in the Council.

I was always very conscious of the amount of work we needed to do to correct mistakes made in the past, but I am pleased that we are now making progress to address the concerns outlined when the intervention began.

Liverpool has now turned a corner and we are making significant progress. In fact, we can now expect a majority of the Government intervention to end in June 2024, with the departments of Finance, Highways and Transport returned to Council control in March 2024. We can truly say that the latest Commissioners’ Report marks the beginning of the end of intervention here in Liverpool.

Looking back at what we have achieved in 2023…

I’m especially proud of what this city achieved during the Eurovision Song Contest, we really stepped up and provided the world with a brilliant celebration of music and culture, while also boosting the local economy by £54.8million.

We’re also making great strides in education, with the proportion of good and outstanding schools in the city higher than ever.

Liverpool only thrives when our communities thrive as well, so we have delivered £17m of retrofit improvements supporting over 1,000 vulnerable residents and we have recently started piloting a scheme to tackle rogue and criminal landlords operating in the city.

I am proud of what we have delivered in 2023, but honestly, I know there is so much more to do in 2024.

My top priority is to be honest with you and to make sure that I am accountable for my decisions, there have been times in the past when the Council has not been as transparent as it should have been and I will continue to work to remedy this.

I’m also conscious that frontline services in Liverpool need to be better and up to the standards you deserve. That’s why I am excited by our new Neighbourhood Model, which we have designed to improve the delivery and effectiveness of our services in all of our communities.

The cost-of-living crisis has impacted people across the country and is keenly felt here in Liverpool. I’m saddened by the increase in homelessness that we have witnessed and combatting this is deeply important to me. I will work to improve how we tackle homelessness in the city and continue to challenge the Government as they are failing to respond to this national crisis.

I will continue to work closely with Mayor Steve Rotheram to secure a more ambitious deal for Liverpool, from Westminster. I want to make sure the decisions that impact the future of our city are made here in Liverpool.

I’m so excited for 2024 and look forward to delivering on our plan for the city. Finally, I would like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year!

All the best,

Cllr. Liam Robinson – Leader, Liverpool City Council

LJMU Bicentenary in 200 seconds

Celebrating 200 years in 2023

In July 1823 an institution was founded which became the catalyst for an educational revolution in the city of Liverpool. For the past two centuries, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has evolved into the university in which we know it today.

Over the past year, there’s been celebrations, events, exhibits, public lectures, international academic conferences, Bicentenary merchandise for graduates plus the launch of LJMU’s new strategic plan 2023 –2030.

LJMU has shared some of their key achievements and activities undertaken over the past year, which you can read below:

As we near the end of the year in which our Bicentenary began, here are just a few of our highlights:

  • More than 9,000 students graduated at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in our 200th year
  • 10 new honorary fellows were celebrated at an event in St George’s Hall
  • Our Artist in Residence created more than 150 sketches to capture the events over the year
  • Four Roscoe Lectures: LJMU’s public lecture series were held for the people of Liverpool
  • More than 100 members of students, staff and alumni joined the Liverpool Pride March
  • LJMU was awarded a gold rating for student outcomes and silver overall in the national Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
  • We officially launched our Forensic Research Institute, our School of Education and our Centre for Educational Leadership
  • We received an overall Ofsted: Good for our degree apprenticeships and primary and secondary education courses
  • We began profiling 200 individuals (opens in a new tab) who have shaped and been shaped by the university
  • We showcased our exciting new £30 million Robotic Telescope
  • We collaborated with Humans of Liverpool to profile 50 individuals from LJMU on our social media channels
  • We celebrated our long serving staff members who achieved a milestone of 25, 35,45 and even 50+ years in our Bicentenary
  • Our exhibition: Re-think, re-design, re-present showcased 200 years of LJMU history, through the eyes of our students, who exhibited their work to the public
  • A colourful display of 80 umbrellas were installed in our Student Life Building as part of our partnership with the ADHD Foundation, to raise awareness and celebrate neurodiversity at LJMU
  • Our Bicentenary exhibition was launched at the Students at the Heart Conference and attended by staff with over 2800 years collectively
  • We invited staff, students and children from local schools to come and spend the afternoon with an astronaut: Helen Sharman
  • We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both the LFC Foundation and ACC Liverpool

Plus, our Vice Chancellor Professor Mark Power celebrated 42 years at LJMU, we submitted to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings with our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and we invited our graduates back to campus for an alumni homecoming. What a year!

As we look to 2024, we’ll be marking our 200 years until the end of the academic year, with more exhibitions and further profiling and celebrations with our LJMU community.

Our Bicentenary

Visit our Bicentenary webpages (opens in a new tab) to find out more about 200 years of LJMU and our 200 people profiled.

View our Bicentenary films (opens in a new tab) celebrating 200 years of LJMU.

Vice-Chancellor’s Conference maps out a more successful future for Liverpool

More than 170 key figures from Liverpool City Region organisations attended the University of Liverpool Vice Chancellor’s Conference today (28 November 2023) to hear local and national viewpoints on Liverpool’s future success.

The event saw Mayor Steve Rotheram launch the interim report from his Liverpool Strategic Futures Panel, which was set up to help chart the city’s path to stability and prosperity. He outlined priorities for Liverpool over next 10 years which included: rebooting regeneration; 21st century public service reform; and turbocharging the innovation economy.

Speaking on the report, he said:

“Liverpool has all the ingredients of a fantastic, truly global city. Through the panel’s work, we want to help the city seize the major opportunities that lie ahead and ensure that all our residents can share in the benefits this will bring.”  

The Mayor was joined by Dharmesh Nayee from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), whose Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has approved the report.

The event at the Maritime Museum also included a keynote speech from the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Society of Arts, and former Chief Economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane CBE, on the national and local challenge in creating successful cities. Speaking about the plans for Liverpool, he said:

“The past 30 years have seen a welcome rejuvenation here. However, the pace has slowed a little in the last 15 years and Liverpool’s regeneration is plainly unfinished business – that’s what makes today’s event so timely.”

Liverpool City Council Leader, Cllr Liam Robinson and Chief Executive, Andrew Lewis discussed how they will provide leadership for a successful Liverpool. Cllr Robinson said:

“When we are given the opportunity, we can do some really significant things. We are already a world famous visitor destination but we also need more people to live, work and invest here. The future can be and must be really bright for Liverpool.”

Following this, four panel discussions with leading city figures explored different areas of opportunity:

How will we improve our economic performance?
Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer, Knowledge Quarter Liverpool and Sciontec
Phil Hall, Mersey Division Port Director, Peel Ports Group
Brian Woodhouse, Business Director, Lucid Games
Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impact, Bruntwood

How will we use development to create more successful communities?
Chris Capes, Director of Development, Peel L&P
Billy Hogan, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool Football Club
Professor Louise Kenny CBE, Executive Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool
Stephen Jones, Director, Core Cities UK

How will we improve the quality and performance of our city centre?
Bill Addy, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool BID Company
Nuala Gallagher, Corporate Director City Development, Liverpool City Council
Lorna Rogers, Assistant Director of Mayoral Programmes, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Dr Jonathan Falkingham MBE, Founder and Creative Director, Urban Splash

What have we learned and what will we do next?
Katherine Fairclough, Chief Executive, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool

Professor Tim Jones stands outside the Maritime Museum










Concluding the event, University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Jones said:

“I would like to thank all of today’s participants for their valuable and thought-provoking contributions.

“A number of priorities have been discussed today including the scale of our ambition – it is clear we need to think globally. Partnership between the public and private sector will also be critical to the city’s success in the coming years, and knowledge and innovation leaders like the University of Liverpool have a critical role to play.

“Inclusive growth to benefit all parts of our community is key, and the barriers to opportunity in our organisations and elsewhere must disappear. We’ve talked a lot and now it is time to deliver. It’s in our hands to make the changes, working together with local and central government and the private sector.”

What next for KQ Liverpool after Investment Zones? 

What next for KQ Liverpool after Investment Zones?

What will Liverpool look like post Investment Zone funding?

Are Investment Zones a one off or is this an opportunity to build on what could be achieved in the next five years? 


In the Spring Budget, a refocused Investment Zone programme was announced that will see the creation of 12 Investment Zones across the UK. This includes a health and life sciences Investment Zone in Liverpool City Region, with a package of £80m funding over the next five years. 

With a general election upcoming and Investment Zone delivery due to commence in April next year, Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) held a roundtable with some of its key innovation district stakeholders, to consider what’s next for KQ Liverpool and Liverpool City Region in the years to come. 

So what does the future look like for KQ Liverpool, the City and the City Region? The below write-up shares an insight into some of the main discussion points and priorities covered during the event, along with some recommendations, shared visions and overarching sentiments for the future.


Asset-based clusters

Following an initial welcome by KQ Liverpool CEO, Colin Sinclair, who Chaired the debate, then opened the discussion to the room, starting with a question around asset-based cluster development and why it is important to the future development of Liverpool City Region. 

In response, Professor Matt Reed, Strategic Director of the University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory, started by saying: “Asset based clusters can have a powerful effect. There is evidence to prove that organically grouped people and high density clustering of knowledge assets drives the economy. I would also suggest that we all need to look granularly at our growth trajectory and engage more with the outside world.”

Professor Janet Hemmingway, Founding Director of iiCON, agreed by saying: “We have got the set-up to be a global power, thanks to our existing industry, academia and NHS supercluster. This is starting to work and the consortium’s effort is delivering real life impact and leveraging new products.” She advised that: “We are still too academic in our approach however, and we need to strengthen our industrial base to leverage further activities in exporting and high value jobs for LCR.”


Civic Data

Following on from this, the conversation turned to why civic data and mental health is so important to inclusive innovation, and how local projects in this field can create global collaborations and encourage new occupiers to cluster in KQ Liverpool.

Professor Iain Buchan, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation at University of Liverpool, said: “There is a social impact culture in Liverpool where people swarm if they believe in what they are doing. The Covid-19 pandemic saw people put organisational barriers aside and share data for the greater good. Liverpool gets the job done, and like tonight, gets people in the room who can make things happen.”

Professor Raphaela Kane, Pro Vice Chancellor – Faculty of Health at Liverpool John Moores University, added: “The healthcare workforce needs to ensure they have the right skills for the future and we need to think beyond traditional silos for healthcare delivery. A ‘grow our own’ philosophy will make a significant local impact for employment and health outcomes, as well as attracting the right people in.”


Global reach and scale

The next topic discussed was in relation to ensuring that the projects being brought forward under the Investment Zone also have a global reach and impact. 

Providing this international viewpoint was Professor David Lalloo, Director at LSTM, who explained: “LSTM’s focus is predominantly outside of the UK, but its work is relevant to the UK. We are seeing a huge change in countries becoming more wealthy thanks to an explosion of innovation. We need a long term strategy, as funding for global health is changing, and learn from global best practice.”

Dr Carol Costello, Chair of KQ Liverpool and Director of People and Services at the University of Liverpool, added: “We have a network of alumni around the world which provides a huge database that we don’t use as much as we should. We need to think more practically and maximise where there are interrelations that we can join up and benefit from.”

With regards to inward investment, Professor Mark Power, Chair of Sciontec Developments Limited, and Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Liverpool John Moores University, explained: “We don’t have sufficient large scale employers in LCR, but we do have a huge talent pipeline that has business ideas, but these will only form part of the supply chain. We need to identify where there is space for the bigger organisations to come in, as well as growing existing KQ Liverpool based companies. The challenge is selling the LCR lifestyle and incubation space, as we have the ambition to do it, so collectively we can offer a menu of opportunities.”


Commercial investment

Adding to the discussions regarding work space provision and commercial investment into LCR, Andrew Lewis, incoming Chair of KQ Liverpool and Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, said: “I have been struck by the number of assets in Liverpool City Region, and the concentration of them in KQ Liverpool. We have a big obligation to master plan the estate, as space is precious and not surplus. The Investment Zone has taken opportunities locally and created a network of capabilities which is quite profound, and will attract further attention in the coming years. 

“Hosting Eurovision demonstrated how Liverpool’s international brand is real and not just a perception. Referring to social impact, the role of The Pandemic Institute and businesses being attracted here is great, and we’re also attracting students and educating them who will then go into the world of work. It is important but there are massive shortages. 

“We have excelled on the academic side, and we now need to nurture commercial indigenous growth from academics and students creating new businesses, and also attracting inward investment. LCC is now making stronger capabilities and connections with the Combined Authorities, creating a stronger ‘to do’ list. It is great to hear the optimism in the room.”


National outlook

Giving a wider view of Liverpool City Region’s capabilities was Sean Davis, Finance Director – Investments at Bruntwood, who said: “From a national perspective, regeneration and the growth of clusters doesn’t happen overnight. Liverpool has to identify its unique set of strengths, which it is already doing, but also needs to try and get investment out of the golden triangle and develop stronger relationships.”

Sally Bloor, Head of Marketing and Communications at Sciontec, agreed and added: “We’re currently aware of a big lab space enquiry and are working on a bespoke pack for this. I think we’re three quarters of the way there in attracting large occupiers, but there is more to be done to refine the micro detail of our offer, in terms of available buildings, their specific location, plus access to R&D and talent. We have worked closely with Growth Platform and have linked up with the KQ Liverpool based Universities to make stronger messaging which is helping. Similarly with attracting Cashplus Bank, colleagues from LJMU, UoL, and the City Council helped pitch directly to them, so I think this type of leveraging should be undertaken more often.”


Communication, collaboration and skills

Further to Sally’s recommendation to refine our offer, Dr Charlie Whitford, Director of Regional Strategy & Engagement at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), echoed this sentiment by saying: “We need to keep the messaging simple when we’re communicating the story of superclusters. The Investment Zone is commendable, with the capabilities coming together for the greater good, which is greater than the individual parts.” 

He also discussed the role of local infrastructure by saying: “People who are looking to relocate place a key focus on the cultural environment in which they’re going to work. As such, the transport in LCR needs to be better, because the city will become clogged if we continue to expand at the same pace. We’re also experiencing a ‘tale of two cities’, as the north of Liverpool needs more development, and we need a positive approach to not being too localised with politics.”

The MTC is a High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC), whose Digital Manufacturing Accelerator is located within Liverpool Science Park (LSP). Another HVMC Centre based at LSP is CPI, and their Strategic Partnerships Manager for the North West, Damian Mohammed, added: “The key challenge we are solving is leveraging public funding to unlock private investment, to ensure projects have longevity and legacy. Having both a commercial focus with social impact makes a real difference, ensuring inclusive innovation. We are working with academic, industry and government-funded stakeholders in the region to help deliver this. We do, however, need to consider how the new Investment Zone projects will find the talent needed to deliver their impact, and we are working with the region to identify the skills of the future. We need to start working with schools, colleges and universities now, to develop STEM skills for the next 5-10 years.”


Workspaces of the future

Aligned with the future vision theme, Leanne Katsande, Head of Commercial at Sciontec, shared how “Space requirements have gone full circle, and lab occupier demand has grown significantly. Flexibility is essential and all of our developments will be futureproofed for occupiers so we can accommodate ongoing enquiries.”

Architectural practice, Fairhursts Design Group, have been behind some of the largest and most innovative lab schemes in the UK. When asked about how KQ Liverpool could differentiate and future proof new lab schemes, Laura Sherliker, Director at The Fairhursts Design Group, explained: “Labs requirements are ever changing, although building stock is finite. We need to make buildings not monuments, and civic architecture needs to be for locals and not contain any social barriers. For this, we must link up with schools and other groups in the community. Having the right strategy and vision is so important, so we need to consider how buildings will change in the next 5-10 years. I think smaller, tech enabled labs will be more in demand, although these use a lot of energy, so we need to set a sustainability agenda now and continuously strive for better standards.”

Rob Hopkins, Director at AHR (who was the lead architect when designing The Spine in Paddington Village), offered an additional view point, saying: “With regards to innovative workspaces of the future, we can no longer detach living and work spaces. We need to have the confidence to bring together both elements at Paddington Village, and we have a great opportunity to do it first and to do it best. What has been done at The Spine can be done with living spaces, as well as other workspaces.” He also added: “KQ Liverpool has the ability to bring all of the right ingredients together. Occupiers want the greatest place and environment for their workforce to thrive. We should think cleverly about existing spaces too and use what we’ve got.”


Living labs

Lorna Green, CEO of LYVA Labs explained that: “We have already seen the benefits of flexible work space and connectivity for our own company, and as a result of the investment we’re putting into creating new companies in the region, they will need somewhere to locate. The LCR Investment Zone means that we can run this additional accelerator space.”

She also set an interesting challenge for participants to consider. “After Investment Zones, I’d like to turn LCR into a living lab for healthcare. We can’t underestimate the importance of wrap-around support for startups, and we have got so many of the other building blocks already, like knowledge assets, data, and training. Through this support, businesses can then turn into innovators and scale.”

“Bring it on!” was the immediate response from Jan Ledward, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “A living lab would provide a combination of mental and physical health solutions within a care environment. We should also create doctors of the future who have a wider view of conditions, although we really need these skills now, not 5 years in the future.”


Partnerships and talent retention

Professor Tom Solomon, Director of The Pandemic Institute, discussed the benefits of partnerships, by saying: “I’d like to see more conversations about commerce, not academia, although we have a strength in joining them up through The Pandemic Institute, the city council and higher education partners. International partners have also been built up over many years and a recent visit to Bangalore has led to an exciting new partnership, but there were no council or commercial delegates on the trip, which I think was a missed opportunity.”

Linking back to Professor Mark Power’s point, Tom added: “Big companies have looked at locating within LCR, but they didn’t actually land here. We should have a drive to try and build new facilities, like our proposed pandemic preparedness and response laboratories, so that we can attract and accommodate these larger enquiries.”

Addressing the group next from KQ Liverpool’s perspective, was Rachael Stevens, Head of Partnerships and External Relations, who said: “The Investment Zone presents an opportunity for projects to happen, but we need to focus on bringing a spatial focus together to promote it externally. We can also use the Investment Zone as a way to attract graduate talent, but we need skills and mid management roles for the 25-40 year old workforce, as this is where we are losing people to other cities.”


Optimism for the future

To summarise the Roundtable, Andrew Lewis, incoming Chair of KQ Liverpool, said: “I’d like to end on a note of optimism and self confidence about our future. We’re all aware of the gaps we’re facing and when we put the table of points together, we get a platform for growth. Where we are now is incredibly powerful. We’ve got a common strategy, a fantastic global brand and have a real focus on what we’re good at. We should never be complacent, but we’ll succeed with partnership working. I think we should also look at Greater Manchester as a coalition opportunity rather than a competitor, and similarly with London.”

Colin Sinclair concluded: “This is just the start. I’ve seen massive change already since we created the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool innovation district in 2016 and I know this progress will continue, thanks to the people in this room and our wider partnerships.”

University of Liverpool and Liverpool University Hospitals sign MOU

Senior leaders from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance plans for an Academic Health Sciences Campus on the site of the former Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The MoU will build on a long-standing collaboration between these Liverpool City Region anchor institutions, for the benefit of patients, students and the people of the region. In partnership with North West NHS trusts providing placements to Liverpool students, it will also help to answer challenges laid out in the recently published NHS Workforce Plan, the biggest recruitment drive in health service history

It will support the continued growth of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, creating jobs and seeking to attract investment in this world-leading innovation district which brings together the city region’s key partners to collaborate in a creative environment and close the economic gap with London and the South East.

The facility would house the University’s medical, dental, nursing and allied health professional students, enabling new opportunities for interprofessional learning, thereby enhancing students’ clinical understanding and professional development within the context of a clinical team.

It would also feature flexible teaching spaces, clinical teaching facilities and simulation facilities, such as mock wards and patient homes, supported by state-of-the-art IT to train students to be part of a workforce that will increasingly use robotics, artificial intelligence and data.  As part of our Health Innovation LiverpooL (HILL) programme, it would also provide vital clinical research space for health professionals seeking to address regional and global healthcare challenges.

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool said:

“Since its founding in 1834, the University of Liverpool’s Medical School has been at the forefront of medical practice and associated with numerous leading medical alumni, including three Nobel Laureates. We have a rich heritage of working closely with hospitals across the region to train health professionals who go on to make a vital contribution to society.

“The new Liverpool Academic Health Sciences Campus is a really exciting opportunity to build on this work, providing new interprofessional learning experiences to enhance students’ clinical understanding and professional development within the context of a clinical team. New mock wards and mock patient homes, together with virtual reality-assisted learning and other state-of-the-art facilities and IT, would provide an authentic clinical and digital learning teaching environment for larger numbers of students, alongside a-state-of-the-art clinical research environment which would help us respond to future challenges.

“Our region has some profound health inequalities, and we remain absolutely committed to playing our part in addressing these. Increasing our capacity to train healthcare professionals and retain them here after training, something that the University has a strong record in doing, is a key part of our work in this area.”

James Sumner, Chief Executive of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: 

“The agreement between LUHFT and the University of Liverpool is an incredibly exciting opportunity for the city of Liverpool.

“A new clinical skills and health education facility would significantly improve and modernise the quality of health education for the next generation of health care workers across multiple professions, including medicine, dentistry, nursing and the allied health professions. It offers opportunities for collaboration and partnership in clinical research and innovation for the benefit of the NHS across the region, which is essential for improving the care and treatment we deliver whilst also helping to tackle challenges, such as the health inequalities within the Liverpool City Region.

“It would also be an important investment in the redevelopment of a key city centre location, sitting alongside two of the newest hospitals in the country and in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, all of which serves to benefit the people of Liverpool and beyond. We are committed to working with University of Liverpool to help support making this new facility a reality in the coming years.”

KQ Startup launched to support budding entrepreneurs

The new programme will support the growing number of startups and spin-outs created within the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) innovation district.

Launched today at Liverpool Science Park, KQ Startup is the latest addition to KQ Liverpool’s suite of Innovation and Growth Services, having been specifically designed to help budding entrepreneurs navigate through the early stages of their business journey.

The free to access programme will ensure eligible startups and spin-outs are connected directly with the right people, places and spaces needed to launch successfully in the market, and avoid critical stumbling blocks. 

Colin Sinclair, CEO of KQ Liverpool, said:

“By removing barriers to entry, we can boost the number of new local founders, as well as the success rate of existing startups, which in turn will add to the economic prosperity of our innovation district.

“With world-leading academic institutions and an established culture of entrepreneurialism within our innovation district, KQ Startup will ensure that the groundbreaking ideas and creative research being uncovered on our doorstep can succeed commercially and develop into thriving, scaling businesses.”

KQ Startup has enlisted the support of eight local organisations, who will be offering programme participants complimentary access to a range of bespoke advice and guidance. This includes one to one consultations, digital resources and expert masterclasses across the fields of compliance, marketing, banking and finance, and intellectual property, as well as providing discounted workspaces and networking opportunities. 

The eight KQ Startup Expert Advisors are Dearbridge, List & Found, Lloyds Bank, Marks & Clerk, Moore Media, Sciontec, Sedulo and Typocom.

Rachael Stevens, Head of Partnerships and External Relations at KQ Liverpool, added:

“Navigating the red tape around starting a new business can be both daunting and distracting from the excitement of launching a new product or service. 

“Through KQ Startup, we want to simplify this process and take some of the burden away from founders, therefore enabling business owners to focus on building their teams, attract customers and grow their business.”

KQ Liverpool will also be signposting KQ Startup participants to a number of other local organisations who provide complimentary support to entrepreneurs and SME leaders in the Liverpool City Region. This includes The Brett Centre for Entrepreneurship, The Women’s Organisation, Growth Platform, LYVA Labs, River Capital and the LCR Finance Hub. 

Through collaboration, partnerships and facilitated introductions, KQ Liverpool hopes to engage with around 20 KQ Startup participants across the next 12 months, and deliver new job opportunities, grow the dynamic business community and provide support for all, in line with their inclusive innovation agenda.

To find out more about the KQ Startup programme, Expert Advisors and proven success stories, please download the KQ Startup brochure here.

iiCON strengthens team following ongoing growth

iiCON, led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), is comprised of partners Unilever, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, LifeArc, Evotec, and Infex Therapeutics.

The c£250 million programme brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and innovations– saving and improving millions of lives globally through collaborative innovation.

Following the ongoing growth of the programme, iiCON has appointed a new Senior Programme Manager, Gillian Kyalo, who works closely with iiCON’s founding Director Professor Janet Hemingway to oversee and support the smooth running of the programme. Gillian brings over 20 years’ experience managing complex global International Public Health projects for international consortia and organisations including the United Nations, the European Union, UK Research Councils, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The consortium has also welcomed a new Business Development Manager, Dr Lizzie Crawford, who will focus on fostering strategic relationships and driving commercial partnerships for translational research. Lizzie will work with iiCON’s business development team to engage with companies looking to connect into iiCON’s platforms to support their research and development needs.

With a strong scientific background as a pharmacologist and a Ph.D in molecular and cell biology, Lizzie also has experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She spent nine years in technology transfer at the University of Manchester playing a pivotal role in supporting translational research, facilitating licence negotiations and establishing successful spin-out companies. Her expertise spans the full lifecycle of research projects from inception to licence agreements within the complex landscape of academia-industry collaborations. Lizzie is also the founder of a digital health spin out company, with experience across all aspects of the start-up process, including business planning, fundraising, partnership development and regulatory planning, providing a solid understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

iiCON has also strengthened its core team, welcoming a new finance manager, Lauren Thistlethwaite; programme manager Rose Lopeman; project administrators, Amy Collins, and Alexandra Pendleton; data analyst Jolene Dunlop, and senior finance business partner Laura Carney, to support operational activity across the dynamic consortium, which operates across ten platforms of activity.

Professor Janet Hemingway, founding Director of iiCON, said:

“We’re very pleased to have welcomed a number of new faces to the iiCON team, each one bringing particular skills and expertise.

“As iiCON continues to attract investment and expand activity across our platforms, the complementary experience and specialist sector knowledge within our team means we are well equipped to continue to develop and support long-lasting strategic commercial partnerships; collaborating effectively with diverse stakeholder groups to drive forward the programme – enabling world-leading infection R&D.”

New UK partnership and research fund aims to tackle infectious diseases

  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and self-funded charitable medical research organisation, LifeArc, are partnering to launch a new Translational Development Fund to help tackle infectious diseases.
  • LifeArc will invest £2.7 million into the fund, which will support the progression of new technologies and treatments for emerging viral threats and neglected tropical diseases.
  • LifeArc will also join the LSTM-led Infection Innovation Consortium: iiCON, making its platform to progress antibody-based treatments available to partners.
  • The partnership aims to help address the urgent need for new approaches to infectious diseases, which cause millions of deaths globally each year, with numbers escalating due to factors such as climate change.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has entered into a partnership with the self-funded charitable medical research organisation, LifeArc, which will join the LSTM-led Infection Innovation Consortium: iiCON and establish a £2.7m Translational Development Fund.

The research fund is being set up in response to a growing need for new and innovative treatments and diagnostic technologies to help tackle growing threats to health across the globe, including neglected tropical diseases and emerging viral threats.

The COVID pandemic highlighted the impact new viruses can have on our society and this new fund will support the progression of potential interventions, including diagnostics, treatments and devices. Infectious diseases currently cause millions of deaths globally each year with the impact expected to worsen due to factors such as climate change, migration and intensive farming.

The fund will be available to LSTM and iiCON partners and their collaborators, including research organisations in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs), and will have a focus supporting interventions that are appropriately aligned with deployment and treatment of patients in LMICs.

As well as the fund investment, LifeArc will make its antibody humanisation platform available to iiCON and its collaborators, to support the development of new potential treatments. Antibodies can trigger the immune system to help treat disease, and this platform enables promising antibodies from lab research to be modified, so that they can be used in people. LifeArc’s expertise and track record of success has helped transform the way many conditions are treated, with more than 90 antibodies humanised over the past 30 years, contributing to five licenced medicines.

LifeArc’s expertise will be made available commercially to any organisation domestically or internationally via a new platform at iiCON. This platform has been designed to provide partners and researchers in the field with streamlined access to LifeArc’s leading capabilities.

iiCON is a consortium led by LSTM with core partners including LifeArc, Unilever, Evotec, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics. The c£250 million programme brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and innovations– saving and improving millions of lives through collaborative innovation.

Professor David Lalloo, Director of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine said:

“This Translational Development Fund will not only help us to tackle the true diseases of poverty that impact the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities, but also allow us to prepare for the emerging threats of the future. This partnership between LSTM, LifeArc and iiCON will provide a number of significant opportunities for businesses, researchers and clinicians working in the antibody humanisation space and beyond. Facilitating access to advanced capabilities and new collaborations in this way will be a real boost to getting new therapies to market by helping overcome development obstacles and unlocking the potential of new innovations.”

Professor Janet Hemingway, Founding Director of the Infection Innovation Consortium: iiCON, said:

“Working with LifeArc to create a new platform focused on antibody humanisation marks an exciting milestone for both iiCON and for the development of tomorrow’s medical therapies. Our approaches to infectious disease research, prevention, and control are very closely aligned and we’re looking forward to seeing the vital breakthroughs that this collaboration will progress.

“The partnership with LifeArc underlines a core aspect of our mission at iiCON, which is to connect the dots across the health and life sciences sector to ensure that the best ideas and the newest technologies get the support they need to achieve significant, real-world results.”

Dr Mike Strange, Head of Global Health at LifeArc, said:

“LifeArc is committed to investing over £100 million in global health, with a focus on infectious diseases, over the coming years. We are delighted that partnering with LSTM and iiCON is part of this. The consortium’s aim of accelerating the discovery and development of innovative new treatments, diagnostics, and preventative products for infectious diseases, aligns with our own global health strategy. It also mirrors the remit of LifeArc – using translational science to turn lab-based discoveries into medical breakthroughs that can be life-changing for patients.”

“Our work in antibodies has had real impact for patients in other areas and we are pleased that we will also be able offer this platform and expertise to iiCON partners. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the coming years.”

Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre opens to patients

Thousands set to benefit from faster access to vital NHS tests as new Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre opens to patients

People in Liverpool will now benefit from faster access to vital tests and scans for a wide range of health conditions, with the opening of a new NHS community diagnostic centre on the Paddington Village development in Edge Hill.

The new Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre offers tests to people referred by health professionals to check for a wide range of conditions including musculoskeletal problems, gastrointestinal conditions, lung conditions and cancer. It will help them get a confirmed diagnosis so they can begin the treatment they need or to get the all-clear, putting their minds at rest.

The centre is just the first phase of a wider development transforming what was previously the privately-run Rutherford Cancer Centre North West into a first-class NHS facility for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside. In a landmark agreement in March 2023, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust acquired the building on behalf of the NHS in our region.

Initially, Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre will offer MRI and ultrasound scans as well as blood tests (phlebotomy). That will extend to CT scans from the autumn once a new scanner has been installed and commissioned. Future phases will see it expand with additional services, further boosting NHS diagnostic capacity in response to local demand.

Community diagnostic centres (CDCs) provide the NHS with additional capacity to carry out vital tests and scans in locations away from the pressures of a busy acute hospital providing emergency care.

Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre is the eighth CDC to open in Cheshire and Merseyside, which has been at the vanguard of rolling out the new centres as part of a national NHS England programme supported by government funding.

St Helens was the first CDC to open nationally, closely followed by Clatterbridge Diagnostics in Wirral. Cheshire and Merseyside now has CDCs in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool Women’s, Northwich, Southport and Halton, with two more on the way: one in Congleton and one at Shopping City in Runcorn.

Together, the new CDCs in Cheshire and Merseyside have already delivered 250,000 additional tests and scans for the NHS than would have been possible without them – a figure that will rise to 318,000 in 2023/24. That’s important because demand has grown year on year.

The number of diagnostic tests performed now is double what it was five years ago, with more than 100,000 carried out each month in Cheshire and Merseyside and demand keeps rising. It means CDCs are an essential tool in cutting waiting times and supporting earlier, faster diagnosis. 

Dr Liz Bishop, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for Diagnostics in Cheshire and Merseyside, said: 

“People in Liverpool are more likely to experience ill health than the national average so it’s particularly important that they can get the tests they need when symptoms develop.

“Faster and earlier access to tests thanks to community diagnostic centres like this will mean people with potentially serious conditions – and those living with pain or other symptoms – can get diagnosed and start treatment more quickly, giving them a better quality of life and a better chance of a successful outcome.

“Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre will help people with many different kinds of health conditions and we feel a real responsibility as a leading specialist trust to develop services like this that support the wider NHS and the communities we serve across Cheshire and Merseyside.”

Dr Michael Gregory, Regional Medical Director at NHS England – North West, said:

“We know that rapid diagnosis saves lives, and the opening of this new facility at the Paddington Village will mean thousands more patients can get life-saving tests, checks and scans in the heart of the community, without having to travel to the hospital.

“This new community diagnostics centre will help address disparities in health within the wider community and decrease the demand for referrals and hospital visits, easing the pressure on hospital facilities.

“It is another fantastic step to ensure that the NHS is making a positive difference to the way the people of Liverpool and beyond receive care.”

Professor Rowan Pritchard Jones, Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“We are one of the few health systems in the country to have a dedicated programme to improve diagnostics and we welcome the opening of this additional Community Diagnostics Centre for Cheshire and Merseyside as part of that work, helping us to give patients much quicker access to the tests and scans they need. We know that diagnosing patients as soon as possible can lead to better treatment outcomes, which is why centres like this one in Paddington Village are so important.”

Tracey Cole, Diagnostics Programme Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“Excellent healthcare can only be provided once a patient has a diagnosis. Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre will help ensure that everyone in Cheshire and Merseyside has fast access to the tests they need in a setting local to them. Paddington Community Diagnostic Centre will see all types of patients, not just those who could have cancer. We want patients who are offered an appointment to take up their offer so that we can either rule out anything to be concerned about or be offered treatment if it is required.”

About The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s leading cancer centres, serving a population of 2.4m in Cheshire & Merseyside and surrounding areas including the Isle of Man and parts of Lancashire.

We provide highly-specialist services including pioneering chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy. Our unique networked model includes three Clatterbridge Cancer Centres (Liverpool, Wirral and Aintree), Clatterbridge clinics in other hospitals, and our multi-award-winning Clatterbridge in the Community service treating patients at home.

Our flagship Liverpool hospital opened in June 2020 with state-of-the-art facilities including 110 individual inpatient rooms, stem cell transplant, radiology, a Teenage & Young Adult Unit, clinical therapies, and a wide range of cancer information and support.

We are also a leading research centre with an extensive portfolio of clinical trials including early phase and first-in-human (Phase 1). We are part of Liverpool ECMC (experimental cancer medicine centre), a Biomedical Research Centre with The Royal Marsden, and Liverpool CRF (clinical research facility).

About CDCs in Cheshire and Merseyside

Eight community diagnostic centres (CDCs) have now opened in Cheshire and Merseyside since the programme launched in 2021:

  • Ellesmere Port – Ellesmere Port Hospital (run by Countess of Chester Hospital)
  • Liverpool – Liverpool Women’s Hospital (run by Liverpool Women’s)
  • Northwich – Victoria Infirmary (run by Mid Cheshire Hospitals)
  • Paddington – Paddington Village (run by The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre)
  • Runcorn – Halton Hospital (run by Warrington and Halton Hospitals)
  • Southport – Southport Hospital (run by Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals)
  • St Helens – St Helens Hospital (run by Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals)
  • Wirral – Clatterbridge (run by a partnership between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and Wirral University Teaching Hospital)

Two more are due to open by the end of 2023/24: one in Congleton and one at Shopping City in Runcorn.

LCR announced as the UK’s second Investment Zone

  • The Liverpool City Region has been unveiled as England’s second Investment Zone, focused on Life Sciences 
  • Sites in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens could be set to benefit from £310m of private investment and more than 4,000 new jobs over the next five years. 
  • An initial £10m from a US pharmaceutical company to enhance its capabilities in manufacturing a drug used to treat cancers, arthritis and skin conditions 

Communities across the Liverpool City Region could be set to benefit from over 4,000 new jobs and a multi-million-pound investment in the life sciences sector as part of the UK’s second Investment Zone. 

The government has today (26 July 2023) launched England’s second Investment Zone in Liverpool City Region, which could unlock £320 million of private investment and deliver 4,000 jobs, across the Liverpool City Region over the next 5 years. 

An initial £10 million investment will be made by US pharmaceutical manufacturer TriRx, to enhance its capabilities to manufacture monoclonal antibodies, a type of immunotherapy that work by blocking certain diseases from affecting healthy cells and are used to treat numerous types of diseases including cancers, arthritis and skin conditions. 

This investment in the city region’s existing Speke Pharma cluster – home to one of the UK’s leading regions for bioprocessing – is the first step in unlocking a total pipeline up to £320 million of further private funding from a range of investors in the life sciences sector, helping to deliver over 4,000 jobs in the region over the next 5 years. 

Backed by £80 million in government funding, the Investment Zone will benefit from a range of interventions which could include skills, infrastructure and tax reliefs, depending on local circumstances – with the potential to make the Liverpool City Region a pharmaceutical production superpower. 

The health and life sciences sector already contributes an estimated £290m to the Liverpool City Region’s economy every year and Mayor Rotheram, has an ambitious target to invest 5% of its GVA to research and development – almost double the national target. 

Mayor Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, regional universities and other local partners will continue to work with the government to co-develop the plans for their Life Sciences Investment Zone, including agreeing priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, over the summer, ahead of final confirmation of plans. 

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:  

“Our area is fortunate to play home to world-leading clusters in life science research and innovation, which support thousands of secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities for local people. I am incredibly proud of what our region has achieved in the sector – but this is just a down payment on my future ambitions. I want us to go even further and establish our region at the forefront of UK science and innovation.

“With a potential £310m worth of investment and thousands of local jobs on offer, it is clear that this is an opportunity worth exploring. Yet, throughout this process, I have been clear that any investment in our area must go much further than purely financial incentives. I want to use our status as a force for good, to connect our residents up to secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities, and attract transformational investment into our area.

“To play our part in making that happen, we will be investing 5% of GVA in R&D over the next few years – that is nearly double national targets. Becoming an innovation superpower  might sound like a lofty ambition – but I believe that if anywhere has the potential to achieve it, then it’s the Liverpool City Region.”

Mark Proctor, AstraZeneca Site Lead for Speke said: 

“AstraZeneca welcomes the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Investment Zone focussed on life sciences, which has the potential to attract more businesses to the region’s already thriving medicine development and manufacturing cluster.

We employ 400 people at our site in Speke to manufacture our intranasal influenza vaccine, used in the UK for the child and adolescent immunisation programme and exported to markets around the world.

The site has the potential to expand into new technology platforms for vaccines and we look forward to working with the Liverpool City Region to identify opportunities to develop these capabilities in the coming years.”

Tim Tyson, Chairman and CEO of TriRx, said: 

“We are delighted to be expanding our capability in this critical immunotherapy area, to become a worldwide centre of technical excellence located in the UK in the monoclonal antibody development and manufacturing field to serve the human and animal pharmaceutical markets”.

The Liverpool City Region Life Sciences Investment Zone will be developed alongside the city region’s freeport, which became operational earlier this year. 

By grouping high-productivity and innovative businesses close together, the freeport can play a role in the region’s work to tackle the underlying weaknesses in the local job market such as productivity, pay and job security. 

The region’s leaders have chosen to pursue businesses and industries that align with the values and priorities of the Combined Authority. These include innovation in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and green energy – with a particular focus on the region’s target to be net zero carbon by 2040 at the latest and protections in place for both environmental standards and workers’ rights.