Supercharging the Arc
Over the last 18 months we’ve experienced some of the most profound and wide-ranging changes to our everyday lives.
COVID-19 now forms part of our global conscience, in its indiscriminate impacts, uncertainties, and upheaval, having catalysed change to our language, culture, and our sense of belonging. Fundamentally it has tested us, driving us apart in its fragmentation, forcing a difficult transition away from the comfort of our communities.
In the same vein, the arrival of numerous vaccines and their global effectiveness is testament to human ingenuity. Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna, are all contributors to our collective prosperity in their own right. We’ve never been more proud, or indeed, more aware, of the social significance of the innovation concealed within the four walls of laboratories, science parks, and university campuses.
The development of novel vaccines and discoveries in disease prevention showcase one small but remarkable aspect of science’s civic value. Across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, thousands of companies from micro to massive are pioneering new technologies in ground-breaking sectors like aerospace, automation, genetics, and AI; digital infrastructure, forensics, microbiology, and medical equipment, supercharging our future with fresh ideas and innovation. As a nation, our innate intellectual capabilities, education, entrepreneurial pragmatism, and propensity to innovate collectively define our ‘capital’.
It’s right to say that our ‘stock’, is what’s locked into these companies solving some of the greatest societal challenges of our time.
Nourishing this capital is at the centre of many governments’ investment and recovery plans. In Britain, R&D has become a focal point of discussion as the country seeks to define its post-Brexit future, buttressed by the Government’s Innovation and Life Sciences Strategies and a commitment to spend 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027. As one of the UK’s largest concentrations of scientific contribution, the Arc accounts for 7.1% of England’s GVA or 5.9% of the UK as a whole.
Of course, as policymakers, politicians and interested parties have come to realise, the Arc’s potential as a powerhouse of innovation is not so easily activated through one lever alone. Transformational growth cannot be solely embodied in new infrastructure, industry presence, tax incentives or planning reform. Generating the energy required to sustain such an expansive region is, as we now understand it, a multi-dimensional endeavour.
As a pathway to access the untapped potential of the Arc’s resources, Radical Capital reconceptualises the region as a lock which is only primed to open when each segment is in alignment. Attributes, in the form of knowledge, community, infrastructure, natural, and future ‘capital’, can only be advanced simultaneously, to elevate the Arc’s international standing as a world-beating centre for innovation.