Booming White City Innovation District attracts best scientists in Britain

H&F Council has helped attract more than £1.5bn in investment from businesses.

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H&F Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan speaking at a life sciences summit at the White City Innovation District

The new White City Innovation District is becoming Britain’s best destination for scientists after we helped attract more than £1.5bn in investment from businesses.

Life science firms represent a third of the £5.2bn invested locally – with White City now home to pharmaceuticals giant Novartis, Autolus, GammaDelta and Synthace.

Speaking at the recent life sciences summit at the White City Innovation District, H&F Leader Stephen Cowan said: “As part of our commitment to turn White City into a global economic hotspot in science, tech, engineering, maths, medicine and media, we’ve attracted anchor institutions, and have had 60 life science start-ups and scale-ups move to White City.

“We’ve changed our planning rules so businesses can afford flexible office space. And we are changing our housing policies to try and prioritise whom we house locally and build things for.

“The idea is if we create a centre of gravity where excellence happens, we think that we can become the next Silicon Valley of the 21st century.”

Watch the two-minute recap of the life sciences summit on YouTube.

Fostering young talent

Creating opportunities for the next generation of engineers and makers lies at the heart of our pioneering Industrial Strategy. We’re encouraging local schools to heavily invest in training for science, tech, engineering and maths (or STEM) careers.

According to recent student performance data, H&F pupils are gaining significantly better grades in maths on average. In H&F 33 per cent of  pupils chose to take their A-levels in biology, chemistry and physics compared to just 26 per cent nationally.

Cllr Cowan added: “If we want to live up to our message that tomorrow is made here, we need to make sure that Britain dominates these sectors.

“To make our economic ecosystem an inclusive one, we’re pursuing a 20-year talent strategy to get our children that are born today to go to Imperial College London and go on to being the next person that sets up the next Google tomorrow.”

H&F’s pioneering Industrial Strategy helps:

  • fostering professional development for teachers in science and maths
  • supporting young people into high-quality apprenticeships and training opportunities to develop the skills they need
  • attracting business and working with key anchor institutions in the borough to create jobs.

Maker Challenge

Last month, 94 White City pupils unveiled their inventions as part of Imperial College London’s ‘Maker Challenge’, ranging from writing robots to prosthetic legs and motion-activated, illuminating cycling gear.

The scheme encourages people living in or close to White City to create their own prototype products and gadgets at Imperial College’s Innovation Rooms in White City.

The next Maker Challenge will take place in July and August –  apply here.

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