As we know, the UK is moving towards an ever-increasing, globally-facing economy where assets that not only have worldwide reach, but are internationally-successful too, will become more and more important to building a successful economy.
Oxfordshire truly is a major asset to the UK economy. Not only are we one of just three net contributors to the exchequer with a GVA of £23bn a year – but we have genuine global assets that are growing from strength-to-strength.
From an academic-perspective, the University of Oxford – for a third year in a row – topped the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
This week, news emerged from Harwell Campus’ Diamond Light Source who announced that moon samples from the Apollo 12 and 15 missions are being analysed in Oxfordshire. According to Professor Andrew Harrison – CEO at Diamond Light Source – this development could 'pave the way for extended collaboration with NASA.'
Oxfordshire is more than global, it’s now (literally!) out of this world.
Part-funded by a government Local Growth Fund allocation that we secured, the development – located at the Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) at Culham Science Centre site, near Abingdon – sees the creation of a ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) pitlane’ offering four new workspaces, allowing world-leading companies to run significant testing and development of driverless cars.
Last month, we took the ‘Oxfordshire story’ to the House of Commons for the very first time, holding the first of four economic briefings lined-up for London over the next 12 months.
Each briefing will highlight a transformative technology and how it could bring major global opportunities to Oxfordshire. The county’s Science and Innovation Audit has suggested that the Autonomous Vehicles, Space and Satellites, Quantum Computing and Digital Health sectors collectively have the potential to add £180billion GVA growth to the UK economy by 2030.
It's true that we have a genuine global story to tell and it's a further reminder that we have one of the most successful and diverse economies anywhere, one that’s a key driver behind ‘UK PLC’.