AstraZeneca and Microsoft boost innovation push for Cambridge

Business Weekly article | By Tony Quested

A powerful organisation promoting Cambridge innovation on a global stage has received a further boost from AstraZeneca and Microsoft.

An initial 100 organisations have signed the Innovate Cambridge Charter to support, promote and enhance science and technology originating in the Greater Cambridge ecosystem.

Innovate Cambridge – founded by Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital and the University of Cambridge in September 2022 – is pledged to develop ecosystem-wide initiatives that ensure Cambridge continues to compete effectively on the international stage in the future.

Local government, startups, universities, science parks and investors, have backed the charter joining industry leaders, such as AstraZeneca, Microsoft, and Arm with more signatories expected soon.

Ant Rowstron, Distinguished Engineer & Deputy Lab Director at Microsoft Research Cambridge and Shaun Grady, AstraZeneca’s Senior Vice-President Business Development Operations, have joined a strong steering committee.

In another significant move, Tabitha Goldstaub – CogX co-founder and UK Government adviser – has been appointed Innovate Cambridge’s Executive Director, alongside Lord Willetts, who has been appointed as Chair of the initiative’s steering committee.

Goldstaub and the former Minister for Universities and Science and Treasury official will be joined on the steering committee by Messrs Rowstron and Grady; Professor Andy Neely, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge; Prof. Yvonne Barnett, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation for Anglia Ruskin University; Robert Pollock, Chief Executive of Cambridge City Council plus representatives from across the Greater Cambridge innovation ecosystem.

Innovate Cambridge’s founders, new steering committee and charter signatories will now begin to define an ambitious, inclusive vision for the greater Cambridge area.

The sweeping vision is to secure the ecosystem’s future for the next generation and support the innovation coming out of its exceptional universities, thriving startup ecosystem, vibrant entrepreneurial culture, rich angel and venture investment network, leading medical campus and the committed presence of globally leading businesses.

Tabitha Goldstaub, said:

I’m honoured to lead Innovate Cambridge and serve this fascinating ecosystem. Having recently moved to the area, I have a lot to learn about what makes Cambridge the uniquely innovative place that we all know and love. I’m looking forward to working with stakeholders and charter signatories to ensure that the benefits of the science and technology conceived in the city are felt by all areas of society, globally and locally, here in the Greater Cambridge region.

“It is clear from the early responses that organisations from across the city share a determination to rally around a combined vision for the future. I encourage more organisations to join in.

“We need voices from across the city to be heard in order to create a glue that supports the ecosystem to be more than just the sum of its parts and continues to transform the UK and the world for the better.”

Andy Neely added:

Cambridge has made a difference to the lives of millions of people around the world. A constant source of new ideas and innovations, the Cambridge innovation ecosystem spawns new ideas, technologies and insights that change the way we live and learn. The charter is a really exciting next step in the development of the Cambridge innovation ecosystem, bringing together key organisations and people to help shape the future of Greater Cambridge and ensure that together we continue to contribute to society.

And Diarmuid O'Brien, CEO of Cambridge Enterprise, said:

Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and the University of Cambridge came together to found Innovate Cambridge to frame a conversation around, and then agree a concrete set of goals that will help to develop the greater Cambridge area from an innovation perspective.Many cities and regions across the world are rapidly getting organised to secure their futures. We must learn from and build on their experiences. Standing still is not an option.

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