Minister Visit UK2070 Commission and Teesside University (Trade Mission 6)

By | News

South Africa Minister and Department for Science and Innovation Delegation visiting the Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre, Teesside Hosted by UK2070 Commission

Led by South African Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, the delegation visited the Tees Valley to learn how the University’s Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre (NZIIC) is helping to support the region’s ambition of becoming the first and largest decarbonised industrial cluster by 2040.

The £13.1m facility, which opened for business earlier this year, is a national centre of excellence for net zero technologies and is already helping position the Tees Valley firmly at the heart of the UK’s green industrial revolution.

The visit was organised by the UK2070 Commission, an independent inquiry into city and regional inequalities in the UK and led by UK2070 Commissioner and Teesside Taskforce Chair, Professor Michael Henson.

Industry partners including representatives from global companies Turner & Townsend and bp joined the delegation. As part of the programme, the visitors were shown how the University is supporting the growth of innovative new businesses which are finding solutions to address the climate emergency and had the opportunity to talk with representatives from SeerBi,Stuff4Life and XHeat.

The NZIIC’s work to create a circular economy was demonstrated by its collaboration with Stuff4Life, a start-up business that is finding a use for end-of-life workwear which would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

Professor Stephen Cummings, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), said:
“We were delighted to welcome our guests from South Africa and to showcase how Teesside University is fulfilling its role as an anchor institution for the Tees Valley by driving forward innovation and investment in green technologies.  Since opening this year, the NZIIC has had a demonstrable impact on green innovation in the region. We were very pleased to show how industry and academic collaboration is reaping dividends and helping position this region as a hub for green and sustainable growth.”

Gari Harris, Director of the NZIIC

“A key part of our mission is to support the just transition to a net zero economy and we look forward to sharing knowledge and cooperating further to support our communities to achieve this goal.”

Gari Harris, Director of the NZIIC, added: “Since opening this year, the NZIIC has had a demonstrable impact on green innovation in the region.

“We were very pleased to show how industry and academic collaboration is reaping dividends and helping position this region as a hub for green and sustainable growth.”

Through the UK20270 Teesside Taskforce, Teesside University has already established strong links and hosted previous visits with South African officials and has signed a collaboration agreement with South Africa’s Stellenbosch and Pretoria Universities deepening UK-South African academic collaboration on hydrogen.

Professor Michael Henson, UK2070 Commissioner, said:
“Over the last year I have had the pleasure of leading the UK2070 Commission’s South Africa/UK partnership programme championing the role of the Tees Valley and Teesside University in green industries. The programme has included several missions to the UK and a visit to South Africa with Teesside University colleagues.

“As Commissioner, I was delighted to welcome the South African Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande and his team back to Teesside for a second visit. We look forward to building on this latest visit and identifying further areas for collaboration.”

Website version here

See previous press release – Trade Mission 5-Presidential Climate Commission:

Building on international collaboration between South Africa and Teesside University
Dr Crispian Olver Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Commission established by the President of the Republic of South Africa

Website version here

It’s not just supply and demand: Rethinking England’s housing crisis, the scope and need for local solutions

By | News

The UK2070 Commission today publishes a report titled “Rethinking the Housing Crisis: the Challenges and Opportunities in England’s combined authority areas”, written by Dr Leonard Gibbs, Dr Wei Zheng and Professor Cecilia Wong from the University of Manchester.  

The report reveals the key changes in housing tenure in England, showing the high rates of growth in outright ownership and private renting and the related issues around housing affordability for new entrants and renters. Using geo-mapping, the report highlights the different housing markets within England, showing the places where the market is overheated and those where prices are declining or failing to keep up with inflation. The report shows the clear divides in England’s housing market and the impacts and influences on inward migration. The report shows the complexity of factors influencing housing affordability, demonstrating the need for regional and local solutions, and makes the continuing case for levelling up in the North of England.

A Paper on the issue of Mass Transit in the future is published

By | News, Think Piece

The UK2070 Commission today publishes a Paper on the issue of Mass Transit in the future, written by Dr Peter Ewen. Mass Transit systems are fundamental to the Gross Value Added of Major Cities but are unaffordable to most and take too long to implement. The situation is set to worsen as by 2050 the number of people living in cities will grow by 60%.

Dr Ewen proposes that tinkering with current Mass Transit solutions will not meet the needs of today, let alone the future, and that a paradigm shift in how we provide Mass Transit solutions is required. Autonomous Network Transit systems provide a credible and affordable solution. They are cleaner, infinitely quicker to build and provide a much better service to the customer than traditional Mass Transit systems. Dr Ewen spent many years in aviation before moving into Mass Transit rail where he soon realised that the time has come to think differently and embrace the opportunities presented by technology for the people of our cities.

Press Statement

By | News

Baroness Judith Blake CBE will take on the role as chair UK2070 Commission following the death of Lord Kerslake.

Baroness Blake is currently a Life Peer in the House of Lords and the UK2070 Commission deputy chair – appointment with immediate effect.

By | News


Chair UK2070 Commission

UK2070 commission express our deepest sorrow to the passing of UK2070 Chair Lord Bob Kerslake. 

Bob will remain in our hearts and memory forever. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends. 

UK2070 Commission Go Local Report

By | News

Cecilia Wong and Helen Zheng, both from the University of Manchester, are authors of the ‘UK2070 Commission Go Local’ report`

Unlike most macro-economic and regional analysis, this report unravels the spatial patterns behind the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ of the UK. Through GIS mapping analysis, the report aims to provide a better understanding of the emerging spatial landscape of productivity and employment change and to examine whether the spatial patterns are related to different labour market conditions and infrastructure provisions across England. When analysing the more recent trend between 2015 and 2019, five combined authority areas (West Yorkshire, North of Tyne, Greater Manchester, North East, and West Midlands) enjoyed growth in GVA per hour worked for over 4.4% in real terms, which outperformed Greater London’s 3.19% increase. The analysis in the report lays bare the spatial landscape of different socio-economic conditions and challenges faced by different local and combined authorities, as well as highlighting opportunities for more creative spatial thinking to exploit synergies across different places. The report aims to inform the ‘Go Local’ agenda of the UK2070 Commission to achieve its 10-Point Action Plan.

Levelling-up Economies

By | News

Philip McCann at the University of Manchester, who is also a UK2070 Commissioner, has recently produced the report ‘Levelling-up Economics’. 

The UK interregional productivity inequalities are nowadays widely recognised as posing some of the greatest challenges to our economy, society, and governance systems. However, attention to, and concern about, these regional development issues is a very recent phenomenon in the UK. The nature and consequences of the UK’s economic geography for its national economic performance were barely considered in mainstream economic thinking until very recently, reflecting the fact that as a polity, the UK and its institutions have, until just a few years ago, largely failed to consider the UK as having a serious regional problem. Even now, most economic policymakers and institutions at the very highest levels are belatedly struggling to comprehend the scale and complexities of the challenges ahead. Moreover, the role that UK-specific governance and institutional issues may have played in exacerbating the regional problem have also been largely outside of the narratives and debates in mainstream UK economics. Prior to the EU Referendum shocks of 2016, very few economists understood the scale of the problem (McCann, 2016), and it is only the political shocks associated with Brexit that have placed these issues centre-stage in UK policy and political debates. Unfortunately, in the meanwhile, this has allowed non-economic narratives, sometimes with little or no real substance, to flourish and drive the political economy of levelling up and devolution. For the sake of future good policy and institutions, UK economics must seriously engage with the regional question.

Philip McCann
The University of Manchester

By | News

The UK2070 Commission expresses its deep sadness at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She dedicated her long life to public service and will be mourned by many people across the UK and around the world. Our condolences and thoughts are with the Royal Family.