New University role to build innovation and policy links in Greater Manchester

Professor Richard Jones, a noted expert on innovation policy has been appointed to a new, senior role as Vice-President for Innovation and Civic Engagement at The University of Manchester, to enhance links with regional businesses and policy makers.

Professor Jones, who is also the author of more than 190 scientific papers in materials physics will focus on connecting the University to the wider innovation and policy agenda in the Greater Manchester region. He is already the independent science advisor for Innovation Greater Manchester.

Before moving to The University of Manchester in 2020, he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Sheffield University from 2009 to 2016, was a member of EPSRC Council from 2013 - 2018, and chaired Research England’s Technical Advisory Group for the Knowledge Exchange Framework. He has written extensively about science and innovation policy, and was a member of the Sheffield/Manchester Industrial Strategy Commission. He is the author of an influential blog and is also active on Twitter.

The University of Manchester is already a significant international player in working to help develop organisations through academic expertise and turning its own research into businesses. Recently the University, alongside the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, launched Northern Gritstone - a new investment company that is looking to raise £500m of capital.

The University of Manchester is the original civic university and in keeping with the nature of the city has always had a pioneering spirit. My role is to work with the people in our region, whether working in enterprise or policy, who can benefit from our world-leading expertise.

Alongside Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, The University is also developing ID Manchester - a £1.5bn innovation district in central Manchester. This year, University is top for the value of funding received from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), being awarded £98 million of competitive Research & Innovation Grants.

This role in regional innovation sits alongside the University’s commitment to the local community. Manchester is part of a civic university agreement with the other higher education institutions in the city-region. This outlines a number of priorities agreed in partnership with the elected Mayor, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and local authorities.

Professor Jones said: "The University of Manchester is the original civic university and in keeping with the nature of the city has always had a pioneering spirit. My role is to work with the people in our region, whether working in enterprise or policy, who can benefit from our world-leading expertise. This is very much about listening to those people and developing shared solutions, so I am keen to speak to as many of them as possible."

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: "Richard is a leading researcher and highly influential and respected authority on innovation, policy and civic engagement, and this new role will put him at the centre of this important aspect of our University’s strategic aims. I am often told that our University’s close connections and partnerships are part of what makes the city-region so successful and having Richard in this role can only enhance that."


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