The government has just announced a new Investment Zone for West Yorkshire, titled the West Yorkshire Life Sciences Investment Zone, which will benefit Kirklees businesses in the health, wellbeing and digital industries.

West Yorkshire is one of eight areas nationally which have been earmarked for the establishment of an Investment Zone, and each of these areas are recognised as having ‘high potential’ for business investment by the government.

This new Investment Zone, focusing on supporting innovation in the health, wellbeing and digital industries, means that West Yorkshire will receive government investment to boost innovation, productivity and growth, and support the commercialisation of research.

The government will provide the funding to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, who will share this out amongst West Yorkshire’s local authorities – including Kirklees Council, who will then allocate and manage this investment within Kirklees.

The announcement coincided with a ministerial visit to Paxman Scalp Cooling, a Huddersfield-based business pioneering the use of cryotherapy technologies to reduce risks of chemotherapy-induced alopecia for cancer patients.  Paxman have worked closely with the University of Huddersfield to develop their products – the kind of innovation activity which will be supported through this investment.

Kirklees Council’s proposals for the Investment Zone centre on the Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor in Huddersfield, anchored by the University of Huddersfield’s upcoming National Health Innovation Campus.

The Investment Zone will build on Kirklees’ existing local strengths in innovation and research, and will aim to further strengthen the interconnectedness of local businesses, suppliers and other research institutions, extending beyond Kirklees to other Investment Zones in Leeds, Bradford and the rest of West Yorkshire.

The council will now be working closely with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to produce a more detailed business case, and to secure final approval of these plans prior to the funding being allocated.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Leader of Kirklees Council, says:

“The health and wellbeing sector is so important, not just for us here in Kirklees but for people all around the world.  And it’s a sector where Kirklees is already making waves, not least because of the university’s National Health Innovation Campus and innovative businesses like Paxman Scalp Cooling.

“This Investment Zone will allow us to build on the fantastic research and innovation already taking place, and really put us on the map for health tech.  It’s fantastic news for Huddersfield, for Kirklees, and for West Yorkshire as a whole.

“We’re excited to work closely with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to develop our plans further, and hopefully help local innovators deliver real, meaningful change that will transform our health and care systems in years to come.”

Charles Maltby, Programme Director of Huddersfield Unlimited says:

“This is fantastic news for Huddersfield and the whole of West Yorkshire as it will promote and support the growth of key businesses in the health and wellbeing sector. Many such businesses are already in the town and as they or new businesses grow, the high value jobs created will benefit the whole community. 

“When allied with the research and educational benefits from the University of Huddersfield’s development of the National Health and Innovation Campus in the Investment Zone, the opportunities from the region can expand further, making Huddersfield the place to be for any organisation in the health and wellbeing sector.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, says:

“We know that devolution is working for West Yorkshire, and this new Investment Zone is further recognition of that from the government.

“Home to NHS England, our region’s digital and health tech businesses are driving forward innovation and transforming the lives of patients worldwide.

“This investment is a massive vote of confidence in our top-tier universities and talented graduates, and will help our mission to build a stronger, brighter region that works for all.”