September 27, 2016, by Liz Cass
Four week countdown to Nottingham in Parliament day
Medal-winning Paralympians, leading business figures, MPs and diplomats will be joining forces next month in a one day take-over of Parliament.
Nottingham in Parliament day is a festival of research, debate and showcases, taking place in Westminster on October 25, led by The University of Nottingham.
It is the first time a city has staged an event of this sort in the Houses of Parliament and has had the endorsement of John Bercow, Speaker of The House of Commons.
He said: “Nottingham in Parliament day is a great idea, not only because Nottingham is such a fine city but because all parts of our country should have a stake in democratic life and public policy-making. I’m really looking forward to the October 25 and the novel ways in which Nottingham can make its mark.”
Highlights of the day include academics from The University of Nottingham pitched against members of the House of Commons in an episode of University Challenge, members of the GB archery team giving Robin Hood target practice, and Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff conducting live chemistry experiments with Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.
This is against a backdrop of high profile debate between key business leaders and politicians such as Sir Vince Cable, Lord Michael Dobbs, Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Boots, Chief Constable Sue Fish OBE, QPM, Nottinghamshire Police, Sir John Sawers CMG, Former Head of MI6, Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive, UK Sport and Sir Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline plc.
The University of Nottingham Vice Chancellor Professor Sir David Greenaway said: “As a city, we sometimes compare ourselves with London and Manchester and think that we’re something small but we’re actually the ninth biggest city in the fifth biggest economy in the world.
“We have huge strengths in those areas that play to the Government’s agenda of great technologies. Yet we don’t have a loud enough voice in Westminster.
“Government needs to know that Nottingham matters for two key, strategic reasons. It’s an important part of the Midlands Engine, which is about more than just the West Midlands and the automotive industry. It’s also about better exploiting the strengths of the East Midlands economy, which are considerable.
“Then there are those strengths in the great technologies that support science and business going into the future. That has to be at the centre of a forward-looking industrial strategy.
“One of those great eight is Big Data. Nottingham doesn’t pitch itself as central to Big Data but it has been for a long time – we have large organisations like Experian, which is almost a heritage business in Big Data, and an important ecosystem of smaller, growing companies operating in the same sector. The level of data and digital talent here is of international standing.
“The same is true of life and health sciences and transport innovation. Both are a heritage industries in Nottingham and the East Midlands, with companies like Boots and Rolls Royce worldwide brands, yet remain anchored in Nottingham, working closely with the University and our world leading researchers. Energy is another of the great technologies – with one of the £180m Energy Research Accelerator hubs based right here.
“All of these things have concentrations in Nottingham. All of them are activities which speak to the future, not the past.
“Nottingham in Parliament Day can only be the beginning of a campaign to get the city’s significant strengths and substantial potential better understood.”