Invest Newcastle was at Expo alongside other UK cities to showcase some of its innovation districts because the city has a large student population and one of the largest research bases outside London, which has already attracted substantial foreign direct investment.
One of the key sites is the Health Innovation Neighborhood. Newcastle is focused on longevity and healthy aging and the city hosts the National Innovation centre for aging on a 29-acre site, formerly the city’s general hospital. Newcastle University now owns the property and a mixed-use development is underway comprising commercial and residential uses. The residential element houses multigenerational living and co- living and will be a focus for academic research.
Newcastle Helix is a 24-acre former brewery site where development has taken place already but where there are plots still available.
The city was also at Expo to promote the Forth Yards housing regeneration site next to Newcastle Central Station where a partnership with Homes England has begun site remediation.
Two major sectors that are active in the North East are defence, space and security and the creative industries.
Italian defence company Leonardo have opened an AI and data driven tech hub in the Helix Innovation centre, while the creative sector has attracted a large games cluster and companies like Ubisoft and Sega group have settled in the city.
“Part of the reason that they’re coming, as well as being around like-minded businesses, is the ease of doing business in Newcastle,” said Invest Newcastle director Jenny Hartley.
“It’s a perfect sized city and you’re able to connect very quickly,” she said.