Local Enterprise Partnerships, Universities and local government leaders across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc have unveiled a bold and ambitious vision in a new economic prospectus that has been submitted to Government.
Described by the Chancellor of Exchequer as a “key economic priority” for the country, the Arc’s ambition is to unlock the potential of its assets, including many in Oxfordshire, to create a world-leading innovation economy. It represents a bold vision to create a global hub for innovation and green development that inspires communities worldwide.
The Arc is already home to nearly four million people and two million jobs which together generate over £111bn of economic output each year. Based upon determined leadership and new financial backing, forecasts show that intensifying the Arc’s global strengths in science, technology and high value manufacturing, could double the area’s economic output to over £200bn by 2050.
OxLEP is an active partner in the Arc and played a leading role in shaping the prospectus and its vision. The prospectus sits alongside the Oxfordshire Investment Plan launched in September, which details ambitious proposals worth over £4 billion to develop the physical, digital, financial and knowledge infrastructure of Oxfordshire – many of which feature in the Arc prospectus.
Jeremy Long, Chair of the Arc Local Enterprise Partnerships Group and Chair of OxLEP, said: “Our vision is for the Arc to be a global hub for innovation, and home to exemplary models of green development that will inspire communities around the world. The Arc’s place is at the forefront of the UK’s green recovery and this will be made possible through bold leadership that focuses on the big opportunities. The Arc’s world-leading innovation across multiple sectors can deliver prosperity for the UK. We now need the commitment from Government and international investors to make the ambition a reality.”
Culham Science Centre-based Reaction Engines is one of thousands of innovative Oxfordshire companies that is set to take advantage of the new infrastructure, connectivity, and investment in the Arc.
The growing company employs over 200 people who are developing new engines to make space and hypersonic travel more efficient, as well as commercialising thermal management technologies and improving the performance of electric vehicle batteries.
Mark Thomas, CEO of Reaction Engines, said: “We benefit greatly from our location and already collaborate with a number of suppliers and partners across the region and also undertake validation testing and share ideas with the UK Aviation Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship cluster at Cranfield University.
“By coming together as an Arc we gain a more powerful voice, both with government and with international investors, and it gives us all the opportunity to bring revolutionary green technologies and their supporting supply chains to worldwide attention.”
The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is a strategic area incorporating the ceremonial county areas of Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.