Silverstone Park chief urges Arc to consider ‘multiplier effect’ at Westminster conference
07 October 2019
Silverstone Park Commercial Director Roz Bird’s call for a cross-industry ‘super cluster’ in the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc has been welcomed by politicians and developers at an influential conference in Westminster.
Roz attended a Westminster Business Forum event focusing on the Arc’s future at which she was invited to speak on its panel examining the region’s research base.
The Westminster Business Forum is part of a larger organisation, Westminster Forum Projects which organises senior-level conferences on a wide range of public policy areas. Politicians often participate in its discussions, using information for their work in Parliament.
“I think we’re really missing a trick if we just call it the Oxford-Cambridge Arc,” said Roz, re-emphasising her call for the region to be known as the ‘UK’s high tech super cluster’.
Roz also explained how MEPC’s thinking behind its development of Silverstone Park – particularly in collaboration, networking and building a sense of community – had been used to help create and grow the Silverstone Technology Cluster of which she is also Chair.
She added: “It isn’t just about high tech activity (in the Arc); it’s about the ‘multiplier effect’. If you support R&D and innovation, and business growth, you’re supporting all of the professional services and the people that serve that community – everyone that’s going to work to build the buildings and run new schools and hospitals, and it drives the economy.”
Roz highlighted the many “assets” located between Cambridge and Oxford. “All of these household names and places have real latent potential, as the government’s termed it,” she continued.
“And my view is that if we can promote all of this activity… the other universities, the hospitals, the research institutes and science parks, then we can start getting people together and that will help to inspire and do all those things that we’ve seen work so well at Silverstone Park.”
Her presentation quickly drew praise from Oxford East MP and Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds who, as recorded by WBF, said: “Thank you very much indeed. That was terrific.
“That was a really inspirational idea, and another new title of course, the UK’s High Tech Super Cluster, which is quite inspiring.”
There was further support from fellow panellist Jo Stevens, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation.
In WBF’s recording, she said the breadth of technology sectors and activity in Oxfordshire “is one of the things that, building on what Roz said about this super technology cluster, is actually one of the strengths. It’s that connectivity between those sectors that will really add the value.”
Elsewhere Martin Garrett, Chief Executive of Cambridge and Oxfordshire Cleantech labelled Roz’s work at Silverstone Park as “terrific”.