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      What we Stand to Gain

      Knowledge capital is, in many ways, a representation of our culture. It’s the networks we build and the degree to which we actively nurture original thought and challenge ideas.

      21 Feb 2022 Andrew Groves, Head of Capital Markets, Bidwells

      Our intangible ‘stock’ of knowledge comprises the information we cultivate, while the speed at which this knowledge spreads is inextricably linked to the conversations we share.

      While the Arc comprises just 5% of the UK’s landmass, it has all the innate ingredients to become one of the most technologically advanced and knowledge-intensive regions in the world. A cultural foundation of ingenuity, experimentation, and enterprise connects prestigious universities as educators and incubators of novel ideas with tens of thousands of companies commercialising research.

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      If the Arc absorbs almost two-thirds of total venture capital investment across the life sciences industry, and generates over £110bn in GDP every year, we ought to ask how much more ‘knowledge capital’ can be cultivated organically.

      Total investment activity across the Arc reached almost £2.4bn in 2020, 56% ahead of 2019 levels, driven by a depth of demand in the Arc’s existing activity. The Arc also commands 22% of the nation’s science park floorspace, housing start-ups, industry titans, and everything in between. Is there a need to ‘supercharge’ the Arc if the region is performing well without intervention? How would this influence the culture of knowledge transfer already established in the Arc? These are questions of confidence, but also collective ambition. 

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      Commercial and residential rents are also rising exponentially while employment in technology-driven sectors climbs at an unprecedented rate – 6% year-on-year – within the nuclei of the Arc. 

      As an idea engine, the region is only as powerful as the resources available to it. Attracting global investment, empowering a skilled workforce, creating the infrastructure to foster knowledge sharing, and providing long-term solutions which enable the interfacing of universities, investors, accelerators, and companies commercialising ground-breaking innovation, demands structural investment and policy reform.

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