A multi-million pound deal to help all of us in the UK lead longer, happier lives has been launched today and will drive new jobs, skills and businesses in the North of Tyne region.
The £5.6m joint investment brings together the North of Tyne Combined Authority covering Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and will see cutting-edge research being translated into new jobs, skills and tech start-ups in the area. Innovations could include smart homes, connected devices, remote monitoring and models of health, care and support that enable older people to live independently – solutions that preserve independence, and support the challenge of getting to net zero.
The emerging market for ageing innovation is huge and it will add 2% to global GDP by 2040. Multigenerational housing alone is likely to triple by 2040 and the numbers of people over 65 who are in work has doubled since 2001.
Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor said: "The UK's population is ageing dramatically. This creates challenges but also opportunities. Our phones in our pockets are incredible and powerful tools that can help keep us fit and healthy as we age. Technology is more accessible than ever before and has the potential to do so more.
"Our region leads on digital tech so we are perfectly placed to launch this latest innovation deal. It will grow local tech businesses, support them to be ready for these emerging markets, and create new good jobs. We will be investing in products and services that make a difference, and help people to live well as they live longer."
The innovation deal has a specific focus on the Internet of Caring Things (IoCT) which uses the latest tech to support people to maintain their independence. This phase of investment will directly benefit North of Tyne by working with 600 businesses and creating 145 new jobs. It will work with over 1000 residents to engage them in the development of brand-new products and services.
The region which spans from the Tyne to the Scottish borders, is already home to cutting-edge research within its Universities and National Innovation Centres. It has a rapidly growing data and digital economy; and a health, public services and life sciences sector that is large and globally recognised. Companies like P&G, onHand, Piaggio Fast Forward, BreatheHappy, GlycanAge, ConnectedLife, Solongevity and Coop Italy are already using NICA's Ageing Intelligence™ approach to translate this expertise to create new products and services.
The deal builds on existing significant Government and Newcastle University investment into ageing and it will specifically accelerate the innovation and economic dividend for local and regional businesses.
Our patterns of living, working and socializing are changing and services need to catch up with that. The innovation deal will help achieve this by amplifying and clarifying the opportunities of the Longevity Economy - by putting people and meaningful, accessible innovation at the heart of our work so that, together with our partner CPI, we can design an informed future aligned to changing needs.
This could be in new products that support aging and healthy longevity 'by design' such as housing, intergenerational living, workplace, mobility, finance, health. The Longevity Deal will create new jobs, start-ups and scale-up businesses that benefit the region and the UK."
Professor Nic Palmarini, Director of NICA
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and North of Tyne portfolio holder for Jobs, Innovation and Growth said: "We want people in Newcastle and the North of Tyne to live a longer happier life. This is what this deal is all about. It means businesses with good ideas will gain the support they need to contribute to our flourishing research and technical sector, to develop products that will make a real difference to people's lives.
"It's about creating a virtuous circle within Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland where we attract the talent and innovation that will drive growth, attract further investment, and make the North of Tyne a better place to live, work, and do business."
The region is making strides in leading the country in building critical mass as an innovation ecosystem with Newcastle University in partnership with Newcastle City Council, NHS Trusts and others developing outline masterplan proposals for the redevelopment of the Campus for Ageing and Vitality on the old General Hospital site. The vision for the site is to deliver an intergenerational residential environment, world-leading research facilities and an integrated health hub to deliver longer and healthier lives. Community consultation is already underway.