Our 'Science Cities ll' forum this week with the Infrastructure & Projects Authority


Stephen Dance, Director of the Commercial Adviser Team at I&PA

This week Future Cities Forum will be holding its 'Science Cities ll' discussion event on 7th October to debate the best ways of supporting the planning, development and design of the UK's knowledge clusters. It will have contributions from - among others - Stephen Dance, Director of the Commercial Adviser Team at the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, Professor Lynette Ryals, Chief Executive of MK:U - the new Milton Keynes University - and Dr John Williams, Managing Director of Birmingham Health Partners.

Stephen Dance will give an update on connectivity projects for HS2, the Oxford- Cambridge Corridor, the Thames Estuary, Lower Thames Crossing and driving economic growth through broadband roll-out. In his current role Stephen leads a team of commercial advisers, providing expert advice to HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and other government departments to improve the performance of project delivery across Infrastructure , Enterprise and Growth, and Public and Security services. Current IPA responsibilities include Oxford - Cambridge Corridor development, HS2 stations development and leadership of the Transforming Infrastructure Delivery Programme. Stephen's contribution follows IPA Deputy Chief Executive, Matthew Vickerstaff's input at out February forum 'Infrastructure and Development 2020.' Stephen is also a non-executive director of Local Partnerships LLP, a joint venture between HM Treasury and the Local Government Association.

Dr John Williams will be stressing the importance of transport links including HS2 to help drive better connections with London and internationally for both life sciences and medtech companies and medical talent wanting to relocate to Birmingham - or travel to work at the Edgbaston Medical Quarter. The city region has a diverse set of population health issues that makes it an outstanding source of data for solving health inequalities. He will be outlining how important a city it is for attracting the medtech sector to develop transformational solutions for complex health needs. Birmingham Health Partners is a strategic alliance between two NHS trusts - Birmingham Women's and Children's and University Hospitals Birmingham - and the University of Birmingham where members collaborate to bring medical innovations through to clinical application. The Birmingham Health Innovation Campus which is currently under construction over 10 acres of brownfield land at Selly Oak, is core to these objectives.

Professor Lynette Ryals, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University is leading the creation of MK:U, a new university for Milton Keynes. The curriculum will include courses on engineering and technology as well as design and innovation and Lynette wants the university to borrow from the strengths of the apprenticeship training model as well as focus on the commercialisation of ideas. She has looked with interest at the educational models of Stanford d.school, and Boston's MIT as well as life long learning programmes in Finland. Lynette would like to see innovation in transport and housing design spring up around the new Cranfield and Milton Keynes Council-backed and STEM-focussed university, where research programmes, particularly in the transport area, will be carried out and tested in Milton Keynes itself. She is optimistic about the proposed connectivity of the Oxford -Cambridge Arc to improve links from East to West of the country and provide a balance to the traditional accent on London and North-South communication.

Future Cities Forum will create new research through the event discussion - with input from land-owner developers, leading transport and technology consultants, planners and architects - which will be written up for our October Science Cities ll report.

It follows on from evidence and case studies collated at our November 'Science Cities l' event at Newnham College Cambridge, which showed the vital importance of cross-council collaboration and partnerships between private and public sector on transport planning, and the design of hospital campuses and university science parks that integrate with their host cities and neighbourhoods.

Below: CGI of colonnade at the proposed MK:U campus (Hopkins Architects)

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