Huddersfield’s plans to become a leading centre of health technology and innovation has received a massive boost.

The Government has just approved Kirklees Council’s proposals for the new West Yorkshire Life Sciences Investment Zone.

The proposals centre on the council’s Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor, stretching from Huddersfield Railway Station to the John Smith’s Stadium, which is anchored by the University of Huddersfield’s National Health Innovation Campus.

The new Investment Zone, funding for which was announced in November last year, will focus on supporting innovation in the health, wellbeing and digital industries.

Kirklees Council, and other local authorities across West Yorkshire, are set to receive Government investment to boost innovation, productivity and growth, and support the commercialisation of research in these areas.

The Government has recognised West Yorkshire as an area of ‘high potential’ and Kirklees Council has been working closely with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to produce their detailed business plan for the funding.

The council’s plans for the Investment Zone will build on Kirklees’ existing local strengths in innovation and research, and will aim to develop a strong cluster of interconnected businesses, suppliers and other local research institutions, extending beyond Kirklees to other Investment Zone sites across Leeds, Bradford and the rest of West Yorkshire.

The Innovation Zone programme will speed up delivery of the National Health Innovation Campus, and bring forward high quality investment sites within the area to attract more businesses looking to co-locate and benefit from links to the campus. 

The plans include investment in key infrastructure to unlock barriers to development, and also improve walking and cycling links across the area.

Revenue funding will also provide more business and innovation support for organisations in the health and digital sectors.

This will build on existing programmes already benefitting from Government support, including the university’s Health Innovation Partnership and ‘Thrive’ – a new incubator programme for brand new businesses and entrepreneurs in the health and wellbeing industry.

Thrive will be based at the Glass Box, the flagship business centre for Business Kirklees in Huddersfield town centre, which sits opposite the National Health Innovation Campus.

Now that these proposals for the Investment Zone have been approved, the council will continue to work with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to agree business cases for each of the key projects – some of which are expected to begin later this year.

Council leader Cathy Scott said: “This is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the health and wellbeing sector in Kirklees.

“The West Yorkshire Life Sciences Investment Zone will allow us to build on all the fantastic research and innovation already taking place, and really put us on the map for health tech.

“It’s a sector where we’re already making waves, and now that these proposals have been approved we’ll be doing so much to support new innovation, to help businesses grow and thrive, and to get brand new ideas off the ground which could transform our healthcare systems in years to come.

“This is fantastic news for Huddersfield, for Kirklees, and for West Yorkshire as a whole.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: “We are creating the future of health tech and digital tech here in West Yorkshire.

“Our universities are conducting groundbreaking research, our businesses are creating cutting-edge innovations, and our people are developing the critical skills they need to make the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

“This investment will catapult our strengths to the next level as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”