The North East LEP has welcomed two new members to its Innovation Board, which is responsible for driving innovation and economic growth in the North East.

Dr Colin Herron, Managing Director of Zero Carbon Futures and Tony Ikwue, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Sunderland, are the newest members of the board, which is comprised of

The board is chaired by Professor Roy Sandbach, the North East LEP’s innovation champion. Professor Roy Sandbach said: “Innovation is a vital part of the North East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan which ultimately aims to create more and better jobs for the region. It’s a pleasure to welcome two new members to the Innovation Board, who are ideally placed to join us in driving innovation within the North East business community.”

Colin Herron is Managing Director of Zero Carbon Futures, the North East-based electric vehicle consultancy organisation responsible for delivering projects which helps towns, cities and countries adapt to the introduction of low carbon vehicles. Colin joins the Board as a representative of the North East Automotive Alliance and to support the North East LEP’s smart spec area of the development and adoption of electric vehicles.

Colin said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to join the LEP on the Innovation Board to represent the automotive industry. 

“The automotive industry has grown to become a cornerstone of the North East economy and it is still growing at an incredible rate. We are seeing unprecedented innovation taking place with the launch of new products such as the Nissan Leaf, as well as technologies and ideas that will change the face of the industry like never before. It is essential that the North East is at the forefront of driving the industry forward and I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to support the LEP to stimulate growth and support automotive businesses to continue to grow.”

Tony Ikwue is the Director of Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Sunderland. He is passionate about low carbon economic development and brings a wealth of experience in the design and implementation of innovation systems as drivers for sustainable growth and prosperity.

Tony said: “We are entering an exciting period of change at the University of Sunderland. Our new Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, due to open this coming winter, will support business growth – encouraging entrepreneurship and creating knowledge jobs within the city and region.

“The North East has a huge amount to offer businesses and investors and we are delighted to work with organisations like the North East LEP, to harness that potential and help nurture the regional economy by sharing our skills, knowledge, facilities and research capabilities to help businesses prosper.”

The Innovation Board, whose members share their expertise on a voluntary basis, meets several times a year.

Professor Roy Sandbach added: “The membership of this group is diverse and includes leaders and experts in a variety of sectors who are working to continue the region’s growth as a centre for innovation. This will have a real impact on our ability to drive economic growth and deliver more and better jobs for the people of the North East.”

Other members of the North East LEP Innovation Board are Dr Alan Lowdon, Visiting Professor at the University of Durham; Dr Peter Simpson, Director of N8 Research Partnership; Neil Hemming, Managing Partner at global software leader SAP; Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Newcastle University; Dr Tim Hammond, Director of Business and Innovation Services at Durham University; Professor George Marston, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Research at Northumbria University; Gillian Hall, Senior Partner and National Head of Corporate Law at Watson Burton LLP; DrArnab Basu, Founding CEO of Kromek Group Plc; Brian McCarthy, Relationship Manager at Innovate UK; Norma Refearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside; Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council; and Hans Mőller, Director of Innovation at the North EastLEP.

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