Published: 09:10, 13 August 2020
| Updated: 09:13, 13 August 2020
A research and innovation project to help boost the county's life science sector has received nearly £50,000 of new government funding - a move which could pave the way to the creation of hundreds of jobs.
In total 17 innovative projects across the UK have been awarded similar sums as part of the second round of the government’s Strength in Places Fund.
The programme, delivered through UK Research and Innovation, aims to "drive forward research and innovation investment with a clear impact on local economic growth".
The cash will allow a proposal to be developed over the next six months to bid for up to £50million of funding from central government coffers.
The KSS AHSN is one of 15 AHSNs across England, established by NHS England in 2013, to "improve health and generate economic growth by spreading innovation at pace and scale".
Innovative businesses will be able to collaborate with industry partners such as Pfizer, the National Measurement Laboratory and the University of Kent, creating around 400 jobs and contributing an estimated £180m to the local economy over the next 15 years if successful.
It follows the announcement in June of over £400m for research and innovation right across the UK, as part of wave one of the Strength in Places Fund.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We are backing our innovators and with the support they need to turn great ideas into first-class industries, products and technologies.
“I am delighted we are helping to kick start plans for a pioneering research project led by the Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, which will build on local strengths, helping to create jobs, while developing new skillsets and increased productivity across Kent.”
Melissa Ream, digital and AI consultant at Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, said: “Everyone involved in this bid is really excited about its potential to bring jobs and economic growth to Kent. The race to develop, test and manufacture medicines for Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of being able to accelerate the design of future new medicines quickly and safely.
“The project will be a global innovator in digital medicines design, speeding up the complex development processes for new medicines, to ultimately benefit patients globally.”