March 2024: News from Metro Mayor Dan Norris

AS your Metro Mayor, and as a West of England resident, I am incredibly proud of our great region’s history of science and innovation.

It is a history centuries in the making, to which Europe’s largest supercomputer, focused on AI, is yet another world-beating recent addition.

There’s Brunel himself, that genius of engineering who ‘built the world’; Bathonian Caroline Herschel, the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist; Concorde, which was built and maintained in Filton; even the world’s first hollow chocolate Easter egg.

The West of England has always been, and continues to be, home to vital industries, iconic inventions and awesome achievements.

In short, innovation is in our region’s DNA. And it’s absolutely key in today’s world – to our physical health, to our region’s economic prospects, and to our place nationally and globally.

I’ve always said the West of England has the potential to be an innovation engine.

The Mayoral Combined Authority I lead has the ambition to make that a reality.

That’s why, since I was elected Mayor, a key focus of my Mayoral Combined Authority has been building the West’s innovation credentials, and further putting our incredible region on the map as the place to innovate – to create the high-quality jobs locals deserve.  

I am proud of all we have achieved so far.

The West of England region is an innovation leader. 

Our people and firms excel at innovation, while big investments are being made towards solving regional and global challenges alike.

We’ve become the nation’s 5G logistics test bed, seen via the incredible links between Avonmouth Docks and the Gravity smart campus in Somerset – soon to be home to the biggest gigafactory in the whole country!

Or how about the fact we’ve built England’s largest wind turbine, that we’ve launched Space West – the second biggest space cluster in the UK – and we’re working hard to harness the power of the Severn Estuary to kickstart the age of tidal, right here in the West.

But with the world now in the foothills of the fourth industrial revolution, I want us to go even further.

Because I fully recognise there are some pretty big challenges we need to overcome to become the innovation engine I know we can be.

Some of the most beautiful places to live in our rural towns and villages are let down by poor access to the online world.

And right now, not everyone in our part of the world has access to the digital skills they need which is vital for success today.

That’s why, through things like my soon-to-be-launched Innovation Prospectus, and other measures, the needs of West of England residents are at the heart of my innovation plans.

Our region is a powerhouse of scientific talent – and it’s time we realised our true potential.

My Mayoral Combined Authority will continue to provide the purpose, power, resources and leadership necessary to do just that.