Cluster Development





STFC has pioneered the identification and development of industrial clusters for almost a decade. Through its deep knowledge of the UK economy, and what is driving productivity, STFC builds thriving and collaborative sector communities in places where there already exists a critical mass of knowledge and activity. The truly novel and exciting thing about STFC’s cluster model lies in the organisation’s ability to connect these innovators into a wider network of public and private sector partners and unique science and research infrastructure, enabling disruptive innovation to flourish.

North West Space Cluster

Powered by the commercial application of satellite data and world class advanced engineering manufacturing, the space sector has become one of the UK’s fastest growing industrial sectors, trebling in size since 2010 with an annual income of £16.5 billion.

The North West’s strengths in nuclear, cybersecurity and advanced engineering manufacturing provide the region with enormous potential to capitalise from the unprecedented growth of the global space sector.

The North West Space Cluster was launched in 2022, in collaboration with a number of regional and national stakeholders, to take advantage of an opportunity to further contribute to the UK space economy. It also works collaboratively with the Harwell Space Cluster, which includes more than 100 organisations and over 1400 staff working together at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. The cluster fosters an environment of collaboration and advancement for businesses looking to explore the benefits of applying space technologies to existing and future innovations as it actively connects those in the cluster to other clusters STFC is growing.

The North West Space Cluster comprises a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and networks supporting commercial, academic, and public sector interests within the region to deliver sustainable economic and societal development, further advancing the UK Space sector as a whole.

More information

If you would like to know more, please contact Alan Cross, North West Space Cluster Development Manager.

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Digital Tech Cluster

As the world becomes increasingly dependent on digital technology, the impact of this sector touches all areas of our economy.

The Digital Tech Cluster leverages the commercial, research and innovation strengths and opportunities across the North West region and beyond, connecting to national priorities and creating an environment to drive UK innovation and economic growth. The cluster drives the uptake of digital solutions to address economic, social and environmental challenges across multiple sectors and connects into STFC’s other clusters across the country.

Businesses in this cluster take advantage of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s unique scientific assets, including STFC’s The Hartree Centre, which is home to some of the most technically advanced high performance computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence experts in the UK.

In addition, the cluster also offers a host of additional benefits to its members including business support, training opportunities and access to expertise. A dedicated Cluster Manager runs regular Chief Technology Officer (CTO) meet-ups to facilitate knowledge sharing within the sector.

More information

If you would like to know more about the cluster, please contact James Bedford, Digital Tech Cluster Development Manager.

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North West Health Cluster

The UK’s Health and Life Science sector encompasses a number of disciplines from medical technologies and digital applications, to pharmaceuticals and biomedical technologies. It is respected worldwide for its research and innovation, hosting one of the largest health organisations in the world – the NHS.

In the North of England alone there are:

  • 28 universities fuelling research, education and skills development
  • More than 1,200 life science companies employing over 50,000 people

The North West Health Cluster was established in 2019 in partnership with the NHS, through the Innovation Agency, and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network. It was the first of STFC’s regional clusters in the north, and brings together nearly 50 stakeholder organisations around the common vision of increasing intra and cross-sector connectivity to support cutting edge R&D, commercialisation and global growth of health technology solutions.

From developing thematic activities in areas including pandemic resilience and diagnostics, to running events to help innovators understand the complexities around regulation and sustainability, the cluster’s activities provide a platform to raise the profile of organisations and enhance the capacity for collaboration.

More information

If you would like to know more about the cluster please contact Dr Phil Carvil, Head of Clusters in the North West and the lead for the North West Health Cluster.

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Future Cluster Development

We are always looking at how we can support both new sectorial clusters in the region and the UK as a whole. Currently we are looking at the following opportunities:-

  • Space North
  • North West Advanced Materials Clusters

More information

If you would like to get in touch to learn more, or share ideas for future cluster development – please do get in contact with Dr Phil Carvil, Head of Clusters in the North West.