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27 Apr 2021

New partnership could help unlock economic potential of Sheffield City Region’s GatewayEast development

A new partnership that is aiming to help unlock the economic potential of the area surrounding Doncaster Sheffield Airport has been launched this week (27th April 2021).

The collaboration between Peel L&P, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the University of Sheffield, is set to explore how the parties can work together to catalyse the development of a high-value innovation cluster at GatewayEast.

Peel L&P’s 11 million sq ft GatewayEast development has been highlighted as an emerging innovation district by the Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan. Anchored by Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the district has international connectivity for both passengers and freight as well excellent road connections for logistics and travel throughout the UK.

The district offers a wide range of development opportunities and has the potential to be harnessed to create up to 35,000 jobs and 3,000 new homes worth £6.5bn to the local economy by 2037, according to the district’s lead - Peel L&P.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed which enables the partners to bring together their expertise and consider projects that could accelerate development of the area to benefit the region. One option could be to develop a business case for a research and development (R&D) facility in the district.

Linked to research from across the University together with the expertise of the partners, an R&D facility would have the potential to become a world class asset where research, innovation, sustainability, education and training come together to put technology into practice for the benefit of industry, the Sheffield City Region and the North.

A facility could also provide the foundation to introduce a skills academy that focuses on working with industry to deliver a deep pool of talent across the region, in collaboration with local further education providers.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted to be forming a partnership with Peel L&P and Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The partnership gives us the opportunity to see how we can work together on projects that will help unlock the economic potential of GatewayEast whilst also driving skills, education and innovation for the benefit of the region.”

Stephen Wild, Peel L&P’s Executive Director for Strategic Investment & Growth said: “We’re seeing an unprecedented change towards living more sustainably and this collaboration will help to drive forward innovation, sustainability and technology focused on mobility and transportation.

“This together with the significant opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics at GatewayEast make this Sheffield City Region’s largest opportunity for sustainable economic growth and we’re proud to be working with the University of Sheffield and DSA to explore opportunities that will strengthen the region and help level up the country.

“The collaboration also builds on Peel L&P’s wider sustainability commitments as a regeneration business to bring benefits to communities and the environment for generations to come.”

The partnership will also maximise further opportunities already provided through the Catapult status of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC).

The Catapult Network is an integral part of the UKs innovation system, supported by the government to support universities, businesses and UK technologies that can bring substantial economic benefits, and assist the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda. The partnership proposes to foster continued collaboration between the University, including its Catapult centres, Peel L&P and Doncaster Sheffield Airport, its common purpose to create opportunities for economic growth.

Robert Hough CBE, Chair of Peel Airports said: “The partnership highlights the intention of positive collaboration, bringing together the proven development skills of Peel L&P, with the space, ambition and aspirations of Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the academic and practical expertise of the University, to create a development plan for a high-value and excellence-led innovation cluster.”

“The delivery of a Research and Development facility on the site would be an opportunity for academic, industry and public sector bodies to pool their expertise to tackle economic, social and environmental issues and for the site to act as a gateway to enable future generations of students, engineers, scientists and industrial partners to pioneer discovery”.

Chris Harcombe, Managing Director, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “We know that airports act as important catalysts to regional economic growth.  The partnership between DSA, Peel L&P and the University of Sheffield to create an excellence-led innovation cluster, will be a powerful tool for high-value inward investment for the Sheffield City Region.”

More about GatewayEast including opportunities here.

Photo: L-R:  Prof Dave Petley, UoS, Chris Harcombe, DSA, Neil Biddle, Peel L&P, announce their new partnership to create an R&D innovation hub.