AstraZeneca and Microsoft join steering committee as Innovate Cambridge initiative to support, promote and enhance the Cambridge Innovation ecosystem on the global stage gains momentum

  • 100 initial signatories join Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and the University of Cambridge to initiate an inclusive, ambitious, and broad-ranging innovation vision for the Greater Cambridge area
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, CogX co-founder, appointed Innovate Cambridge Executive Director and Rt Hon. Lord Willetts joins as Chair of the initiative’s steering committee

Innovate Cambridge today announced that an initial 100 organisations have signed the Innovate Cambridge Charter to support, promote and enhance innovation in the Greater Cambridge ecosystem, and develop a set of ecosystem-wide initiatives that ensure Cambridge continues to compete effectively on the international stage in the future. Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and the University of Cambridge launched ‘Innovate Cambridge’ in September 2022 to create an inclusive vision for the future of Greater Cambridge and its innovation ecosystem that will be implemented over the next decade. To date local government, startups, universities, science parks and investors, have backed the charter, joining industry leaders, such as AstraZeneca, Microsoft, and Arm, with more signatories expected to sign soon.

Tabitha Goldstaub, CogX co-founder and UK Government advisor, has been appointed Innovate Cambridge’s Executive Director, alongside the Rt Hon. Lord Willetts, who has been appointed as the Chair of the initiative’s steering committee. Goldstaub and the former Minister for Universities and Science and Treasury official will be joined on Innovate Cambridge’s Steering Committee by Prof. Andy Neely, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge, local business executive Shaun Grady, AstraZeneca’s Senior Vice-President Business Development Operations, Prof. Yvonne Barnett, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation for Anglia Ruskin University, Robert Pollock, Chief Executive of Cambridge City Council, and representatives from across the Greater Cambridge innovation ecosystem.

Innovate Cambridge’s founders, new steering committee and charter signatories will now begin to define an ambitious, inclusive vision for the greater Cambridge area. To secure the ecosystem’s future for the next generation and support the innovation coming out of its exceptional universities, thriving start-up ecosystem, vibrant entrepreneurial culture, rich angel, and venture investment network, leading medical campus, and the committed presence of globally leading businesses.

Tabitha Goldstaub, Innovate Cambridge’s Executive Director, said:

“I’m honoured to lead Innovate Cambridge and serve this fascinating ecosystem. Having recently moved to the area, I have a lot to learn about what makes Cambridge the uniquely innovative place that we all know and love. I’m looking forward to working with stakeholders and charter signatories to ensure that the benefits of the science and technology conceived in the city are felt by all areas of society, globally and locally, here in the Greater Cambridge region. It is clear from the early responses that organisations from across the city share a determination to rally around a combined vision for the future. I encourage more organisations to join in. We need voices from across the city to be heard in order to create a glue that supports the ecosystem to be more than just the sum of its parts and continues to transform the UK and the world for the better.”

Professor Andy Neely OBE, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge added:

Cambridge has made a difference to the lives of millions of people around the world. A constant source of new ideas and innovations, the Cambridge innovation ecosystem spawns new ideas, technologies and insights that change the way we live and learn. The charter is a really exciting next step in the development of the Cambridge innovation ecosystem, bringing together key organisations and people to help shape the future of Greater Cambridge and ensure that together we continue to contribute to society.

Professor Yvonne Barnett, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation for Anglia Ruskin University, said:

Our lives have been transformed by the ideas, technologies, and companies that have originated from Cambridge. We can travel the world, unravel the secrets of the genome, treat life-threatening diseases, and help create life because of Cambridge innovation. Strengthening the foundations of that ecosystem will ensure the city’s life sciences and technology sectors continue to transform the UK and the world for the better. That means driving inclusive growth, increasing diversity, and working with Innovate Cambridge’s signatories to understand how to support innovation better – whether it is providing improved access to capital, more lab space, better infrastructure, or easing barriers to talent recruitment. Cities and regions across the world are rapidly getting organised to secure their futures and we need to do the same.

Diarmuid O’Brien, CEO, Cambridge Enterprise, said:

Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and the University of Cambridge came together to found Innovate Cambridge to frame a conversation around, and then agree a concrete set of goals that will help to develop the greater Cambridge area from an innovation perspective. Many cities and regions across the world are rapidly getting organised to secure their futures. We must learn from and build on their experiences. Standing still is not an option. Today’s news, last night’s event, and the subsequent number of signatures we have secured for the charter to date, have confirmed that we are securing visible commitment from all key stakeholders to deliver an enhanced Cambridge innovation strategy.

Michael Anstey, Partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital, said:

“We have an ecosystem where companies have the potential to go from lab to market quicker than anywhere else; a place that excels in life sciences, deep tech, and interdisciplinary research; and is home to a blend of start-ups and global leaders. The fact that so many of Cambridge’s key stakeholders have already signed up to the Innovate Cambridge Charter is proof that the ecosystem is proud of what we have achieved together, but determined to come together to define, and then implement, an inclusive, forward-looking vision for the ecosystem, which ensures the city continues to innovate, compete, and deliver impact on a global scale well into the future.”