October 2019

The Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology

A new multimillion-pound research institute that will maximise the Oxford Road Corridor academic strengths in digital health and advanced materials to discover innovative health and care solutions is being launched by a consortium, led by The University of Manchester.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to work with our partners to exploit the Universitys strengths in digital health and advanced materials to make a real difference to the health and economic development of Greater Manchester”.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

The centre will be called The Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology. The name celebrates Dame Christabel Pankhurst, a driving force behind one of the most significant social reforms of the 20th century and demonstrates the University’s commitment to redress the underrepresentation of women and other groups in science and academic leadership through its equality, diversity and inclusion action plan.

The Institute is being launched following a £5million award from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund and is part of an ambitious plan set out to boost the city-region’s provision in this area. The consortium is made up of the University, Manchester Science Partnerships, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and Health Innovation Manchester.

The aim of the collaboration is to capitalise on the Oxford Road Corridor strengths in digital health and advanced materials and develop innovative products and services for the health care sector. In turn this will drive business growth and employment as well as boost the long-term health benefits of the city-region.

The institute will be housed in a flagship building at the centre of the University’s campus on the Oxford Road Corridorand will play a critical role in pulling innovations through from basic research to market ready products and services, which can then be accelerated into clinical use through Greater Manchester’s devolved health and care system and established innovation pathway.

May 2019

The University of Manchester’s GEIC wins RICS 2019 Award

The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) has won ‘Project of the Year’ at the region’s RICS Awards 2019.

​The new building, which is the first on the university’s North Campus in 40 years, won the ‘Design through Innovation’ award before winning the overall category.

The GEIC will open up opportunities for new innovation using the 2D material Graphene. There are plans for regeneration of the North Campus site to become a ‘Graphene City’, to which the GEIC will be pivotal and is expected to make an economic impact of more than £100m over the facilities’ lifetime. Diana Hampson, Director of Estates said: “We have an ambitious Estates Strategy and a billion pound investment programme that is now bearing fruit in the transformation of our buildings and Campus around Oxford Road.

“We are delighted with this award as recognition for the quality of our design and construction projects. The GEIC is one of our signature buildings and houses innovation for the 21st century using graphene technologies first isolated at The University of Manchester.

“Our ambition for developing the campus and adding value to the city was also boosted in March of this year when we launched Innovation District (ID) Manchester, demonstrating our commitment to developments that enhance the buildings, public realm and quality of Manchester’s built environment.
We are very proud to win this award – and to win it for such a unique building as the GEIC.”

April 2019

Manchester Science Partnerships delivers record financial results

Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has hailed a “year of strong progress” with levels of investment and growth reflecting strong demand from new and existing customers.

The 12 months to the end of September 2018 saw a 35% increase in the consolidated net worth of MSP and its subsidiaries from £58.3m to £78.9m.
MSP’s city centre campuses – Manchester Science Park and Citylabs, which are in the heart of Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district, offer lab and office space for digital tech and life science businesses together with specialist programmes of business support, including a post-accelerator innovation centre – Mi-IDEA in partnership with Cisco.

Combined, the Oxford Road Corridor campuses tripled profits from £4.7m (2017) to £17.2m as occupancy levels increased and property valuations rose. The year also saw MSP launch a Tech Incubator at Manchester Technology Centre, designed for entrepreneurs and SMEs working in data science and technology innovation.

Tom Renn, Managing Director, MSP said: “Against a backdrop of significant uncertainty in the wider economy, in particular for those working in the science sector, we are heartened by the extraordinary resilience of our customers and of the science community in the UK, who have  continued to successfully raise investment and grow their businesses at pace both within our portfolio and across Greater Manchester. 
“Construction of Citylabs 2.0 for QIAGEN, a world leading international molecular diagnostics company, who have taken a 100% pre-let, is a hallmark of that success and reinforces the quality of the Greater Manchester offer, partnerships and assets. Citylabs will be at the heart of a new globally-leading genomics and precision medicine campus which will create over 1,500 high value jobs and add over £150m to the Greater Manchester economy, and importantly benefit the 2.8 million people living here as new tests and treatments emerge.”

2019 will see continued growth; the next stage of the Manchester Science Park campus masterplan will get underway with additional development as part of plans to grow to 1million sq ft and progress in the construction of Citylabs 2.0.

March 2019

Oxford Road Corridor enters transatlantic partnership to enhance growth and competitiveness of life sciences innovation companies across the city region.

Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor, Health Innovation Manchester and TRUSTECH have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a new partnership with Nashville-based Life Sciences investment company, Briovation. This forms part of Greater Manchester’s continued commitment to foster the growth and competitiveness of its flourishing Life Sciences sector.

The Life Science industry plays a critical role within the health and social care system, providing a pipeline of innovation with the potential to transform population health and wellbeing. Oxford Road Corridor is fortunate in that it enjoys a diverse and burgeoning Life Sciences sector, encompassing everything from pharmaceutical, medical technology and digital companies who are thriving in the city-regions devolved health and social care system and deriving significant benefits from the level of support currently on offer such as funding, expertise and brokering.  However, this new partnership with Briovation will enable Greater Manchester to bolster its already highly attractive proposition with the provision of additional investment funding, entrepreneurial programmes, and innovation export and import opportunities between the city-region and the lucrative US market.

Briovation have a reputation for delivering results and currently provide a portfolio of services aimed predominantly at supporting life sciences SMEs including strategic advisory support, assisting companies moving from an idea to a successful launch, and securing investment;  all of which have the potential to contribute to accelerating innovation, yield additional growth and create additional opportunities for life sciences industry across the region – a priority for Greater Manchester and the wider UK. 

Running for an initial period of 3 years, the MoU is a critical first step in identifying aspects of Briovation’s US offer that can add value to the Greater Manchester Life Sciences economy, and, tailoring it to the UK market with a view to co-delivering it in an integrated manner, enhancing the overall support and opportunities on offer to the life sciences industry.  A comprehensive implementation plan will be launched in the second half of 2019.

Jackie Oldham, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Oxford Road Corridor said “We are excited to partner with Briovation to broaden opportunity for local and regional healthcare businesses that are looking both for strategic investment and the ability to introduce their offerings into the complex US healthcare market”. 

Vic Gatto, Briovation’s CEO and Co-Founder said “Briovation has identified Greater Manchester and the North of England as an important world-wide centre of healthcare innovation, and envisions this collaborative partnering relationship as highly complementary to its existing US business. The Greater Manchester region has developed a healthcare ecosystem that is recognised globally for its leadership in Health and Social Care, and its dynamic entrepreneurial environment creates an ideal opportunity to implement our proven approach outside of the US”.

March 2019

The University of Manchester has unveiled a bold ambition to create a world leading Innovation District in the heart of Manchester. Plans to develop a new neighbourhood on the university’s 10.6 hectare North Campus site which would bring huge economic benefits to the city, including the creation of around 6,000 jobs.

The site is in a prime location, adjacent to Piccadilly Rail Station and is part of the Oxford Road Corridor.

In their search for a development partner, the university’s £1.5bn vision for ‘ID Manchester’ was presented at MIPIM 2019 to over 150 property professionals from all over the world.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and Chair of the Oxford Road Corridor Partnership, said: “… I truly believe we can make ID Manchester the innovation capital of Europe, providing the perfect conditions for organisations of all sizes and from different sectors, to share knowledge and work together turning incredible ideas into reality.”

Joanne Roney, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council said: “The University and the city have long been closely aligned. We have grown up together and share a spirit of innovation, revolution and entrepreneurship. ID Manchester will build upon this proud shared history.”

An OJEU notice is due to be released this summer, signalling the start of the competitive process, with a view to appointing a development partner by mid-2020.

UK’s largest science and technology partnership formed

UK’s largest science and technology property partnership formed between Legal & General and Bruntwood

Bruntwood and Legal & General Capital (Legal & General) have established a landmark 50:50 partnership to create the UK’s largest property platform dedicated to driving science and technology growth in regional cities.

The deal will see the two partners invest £360m of capital, property and intellectual assets into a new company, Bruntwood SciTech, with a business plan supporting the creation of 20,000 high value jobs.

The deal represents the largest investment made in science and technology property assets in Europe this year. It ignites a business plan that will see Bruntwood SciTech’s assets grow from 1.3 million sq ft on day one to over 6.2 million sq ft over the next ten years, increasing the value of the portfolio to £1.8bn.

The new company combines Bruntwood’s commitment to creating thriving cities, working in partnership with public, private and academic institutions, and Legal & General’s ability to unlock urban renewal opportunities and accelerate growth of some of the UK’s key sectors through its long-term capital.
Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio is already home to more than 500 science and technology businesses ranging from digital start-ups to global life sciences companies. It is centred around flagship assets and development projects in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and includes the internationally-recognised life science campus in Cheshire, Alderley Park.  Liverpool also features strongly in its forward plans.

​The Oxford Road Cycleway has been recognised for a prestigious award at the recent 18thAnnual National Transport Awards. Winning the Excellence in Cycling and Walking accolade, the scheme was led by Oxford Road Corridor partners, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester City Council. 

Launched in September 2017, the ‘Dutch-style’ cycle lanes were one of the most ambitious highway projects Manchester city centre has ever seen. As a result of this success, Manchester plans to deliver the largest joined-up system of walking and cycling routes in the UK over the next five years. 

Transport for Greater Manchester also scooped the award for City-Region Transport Authority of the Year, reflecting on a number of successful initiatives for the city such as Metrolink’s Second City Crossing completion. 

The University of Manchester’s Board of Governors has approved a proposal to seek a corporate partner to develop its North Campus site in Manchester city centre over the next 20 years.

This development is made possible by the scheduled move of the University’s engineering schools to the new multi-million pound Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) adjacent to the University’s main Oxford Road campus, in 2021.

Working with its partner, the University expects that the mixed-use site will attract research, development, cultural and technology companies, as well as accommodating new residential space. The area and buildings for development are based around Sackville Street and adjacent to Piccadilly Rail and Metrolink stations, with plans to develop the 11.8 hectare (29 acre) site into an exciting research and business campus where the world’s most valuable ideas will be transformed into reality.

The University will retain significant strategic and decision-making influence within the partnership. It will retain the south end of the site where it has significant research activity, including the newly built Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, and it will continue to hold the freehold for the whole site.

Targeting technology and science-related occupiers, the site will focus on specialities which combine the research and industrial strengths of the University and the city region with national economic priorities. These will include advanced materials, applied health innovation, artificial intelligence and digital technology and industrial biotechnology.

The development, projected to generate potentially up to £2 billion of growth* over the next 20 years or more for the local economy, will create up to 6,000 jobs. It will also help to ensure the long-term financial strength of the University by delivering a continuing future income stream for investment in the University’seducational and research activities.

Plans are at an early stage and the next step will be a rigorous search for a partner. The University has been discussing its plans with Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. It is envisaged that work on the site will begin after the University transfers staff and existing facilities into its new MECD buildings in 2021.

North Campus will be allied to one of the UK’s foremost research-intensive universities, with high connectivity to a skilled local workforce. It will provide opportunities for graduate employment and student placements; and the development will benefit from outstanding transport links, plus access to national and international markets.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and Chair of the Oxford Road Corridor Board, said of the development: “We will be launching an international search in the next few months to find the very best joint venture partner to work with us to develop this prime site with its landmark buildings and unique footprint in the heart of the city.

The development offers the opportunity to transform this quarter of the city centre, generate thousands of new jobs and advance the reputation of the University. It will cement the reputation of the city as the place to be for technology, digital, research and development businesses – where the world’s most valuable ideas will be transformed into reality.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council commented: “The potential of the North Campus site is huge and this is great news for Manchester.

There are tremendous opportunities to regenerate this distinctive part of the city and we welcome the university’s growth, investment and job creation ambitions for the development.”

July 2018

With effect from 3rd September, the 147 Oxford Road Link bus service will be operated by Stagecoach, which includes an extended route from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station to West Didsbury.

The new service will begin on 3rd September at 05:31 hrs and will run from Piccadilly Railway Station to Citylabs near Manchester University Hospitals Trust on Oxford Road (not through the hospital boulevard) every 15 minutes until 06:46 hrs. Thereafter, the frequency will increase to every 10 minutes and the service will extend to West Didsbury. The last departure from Piccadilly Railway Station will be 19.25 hrs.

JULY 2018

New world-leading precision medicine campus set to open on Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor

Proposals have been announced to create a world-leading precision medicine campus in the Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone, located on the UK’s largest clinical academic campus – Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking partnership between academia, industry and the NHS – Health Innovation Manchester – has been working with global diagnostics firm QIAGEN on a joint project which will create and support up to 1,500 jobs – adding almost £150m to Manchester’s economy over a decade. The collaboration will also bring fast-tracked real health benefits to Manchester and Greater Manchester residents, and ultimately people nationally and internationally, through access to new tests and targeted treatments developed through pioneering research.

The proposals have been welcomed by Manchester and Greater Manchester civic, academic and health leaders.
Manchester City Council today, Wednesday 11 July, approved a one-off investment of up to £21 million, underwritten by life science enterprise zone business rates, as part of a public sector funding package to support a programme of research and development. Greater Manchester Combined Authority have already agreed to provide £3 million of loan funding.

This will confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry with enormous growth potential. The Life Sciences sector already contributes more than £10.8 billion a year to the UK economy and was identified in the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review as one of the North of England’s key strengths and opportunities and in the government’s industrial strategy as a huge opportunity. Manchester is already a UK flagship for life sciences, with major innovation hubs on the Oxford Road Corridor and at Alderley Park.


The benefits for Manchester and its people from this one-off investment will be twofold – delivering health benefits for residents by enabling strides to be taken in the prediction and prevention of disease through new diagnostic tests which enable earlier detection of disease and development of personalised treatments, and by supporting and creating jobs in the city’s economy. This investment will directly create around 250 jobs and safeguard an extra 215 while supporting more than 1,000 more indirectly across the Oxford Road  Corridor – adding an anticipated £140m to Manchester’s economy over a decade. It will anchor the life sciences sector, acting as a market for related small and medium-sized enterprises as part of an Applied Health Innovation Campus and reinforcing the city’s reputation at the cutting edge of innovation.

Greater Manchester’s unique health and social care devolution arrangements will enable patients to benefit more quickly from new tests and medicines and access to clinical trials.

Inward investment

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Chair of the Oxford Road Corridor Board, and President & Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “We are delighted by the announcement that Qiagen NV, a major and innovative diagnostic company will significantly increase their research and development activities in Manchester. This is excellent news for the city region and for The University of Manchester. This major inward investment demonstrates confidence in the city region and the University. At The University of Manchester, genomics, personalised medicine and early diagnosis of disease are major research activities, notably in cancer, one of our five ‘research beacons’. Qiagen has great expertise that is highly relevant to each of these areas.

“Attracting companies in the life sciences will add further to the attractiveness of Manchester and The University of Manchester as a hub of scientific discovery and medical expertise. Our research in life sciences and health is renowned world-wide and we are delighted to welcome expansion of such an exciting global business in healthcare to Manchester.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This will help confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry with enormous growth potential. This is an opportunity that as a city we cannot afford to miss. It’s a win-win – not just creating a raft of new highly skilled health science jobs and an economic boost but crucially also opening up revolutionary new health benefits for people here. Manchester’s future success depends on building on our distinctive strengths and life sciences definitely falls into that category.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We’ve always led the way in Greater Manchester, whether it’s cutting edge science and technology, being at the forefront of social change, or pioneering partnerships across different sectors. The NHS was ‘born’ here in Greater Manchester in the middle of the 20th century, 70 years ago and last week we celebrated this. This week we secure our position in 21st century health innovation with this global deal.”

Step change

Rowena Burns, Chair of Health Innovation Manchester and Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “This is a hugely important step change for Greater Manchester’s already strong life sciences sector. The new health innovation campus, with QIAGEN at its heart, will support the continued growth of businesses which are driving the future shape of medicine and health care, and cement our position as a world-leader in precision medicine. This is precisely what Health Innovation Manchester was set up to do, and combined with our devolved health and social care system, places us in an incredibly strong position to address the health challenges of the population.
“For MSP, this is a massive testimony to the existing strength of our partnership with QIAGEN, who have already added so much to the City’s life sciences community. QIAGEN will now become the flagship for the next phase of our Oxford Road Citylabs campus, being developed by MSP’s majority shareholder, Bruntwood, for MSP and our joint venture partner, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.”

Peer M. Schatz, Chief Executive Officer of QIAGEN, said: “These partnerships leverage QIAGEN’s rich expertise in Manchester to accelerate innovation as a basis for the development of valuable molecular tests. This is a true win-win situation, bringing together QIAGEN, the global leader in Sample to Insight solutions, with important intellectual assets in the U.K. to accelerate molecular biomarker research and subsequent development of new and promising diagnostic assays.
“We expect this collaborative initiative to serve as an innovation incubator to support translating genomic biomarkers into clinical use and ultimately to yield benefits for our customers and patients everywhere who need advanced diagnostic insights.”

Better care for our patients

Sir Mike Deegan, Chief Executive at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said “Securing and expanding QIAGEN’s future on the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust site is a pivotal component of our vision to create an internationally-leading research and innovation campus focused on integrated diagnostics leading to better care for our patients. Modern healthcare requires us to handle massive arrays of data from a huge range of technologies in order to come up
with the right answer for patients. This has never been clearer than with genomic medicine, QIAGEN’s immediate focus, which holds the power to deliver transformative clinical benefits at the level of individual patients–the heart of precision medicine.”

Tom Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) said: “We are proud to be part of the partnership that has led to this hugely important deal for our great city, and a thrilled that our long-standing customer QIAGEN has chosen our Citylabs 2.0 for their new home as they make this significant expansion. With our Joint Venture partner, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, we are excited to progress our £60m, 220,000sq ft Citylabs campus extension which will enable the creation of a world-leading precision medicine campus in Manchester. This is a huge investment in Manchester and our Citylabs campus, developed by our majority shareholder and MFT’s strategy property partner Bruntwood, will provide the facilities and growth support for world-leading clinical care, research and innovation to flourish. Undoubtedly this will be the biggest deal of the year for the sector in the city.”

CityVerve Marketplace Event

20th June 2018, Citylabs 1.0

Two and a half years ago, Manchester was selected by Innovate UK to be the UK’s Smart City IoT Demonstrator to show how Internet-connected technology and data can be used to transform the city.

This £16m project awarded to Manchester as the result of a successful bid, involved 20 partners from the public, corporate, SME and academic worlds forming a network of dedicated individuals whom shaped the demonstrator, which focused on the unique Oxford Road Corridor area of Manchester City Centre.

Today marked the end of the project which saw the outcomes brought together at one event. The partners showcased the results of two and half years of hard work and collaboration, on what is arguably Manchester’s highest profile Smart Cities Projects.

The five key themes of the CityVerve project have been identified as follows:

Building a truly open platform – CityVerve’s ‘platform of platforms’ treats the city as a living breathing organism by giving it a technology layer that acts as a central nervous system; smartly supporting and connecting independent systems and applications.

Building use cases – Their use cases were designed to specifically meet the needs and challenges of Manchester’s citizens. The CityVerve project has been needs-driven and benefit led, with its focus on 4 thematic areas: Health and Social Care, Energy & Environment, Travel & Transport and Culture & the Public Realm.

Community engagement – All CityVerve use cases have been developed through a “bottom-up” approach, ensuring applications are real and relevant to local citizens. CityVerve has aimed to demonstrate how technology can reignite the connections that turn a neighbourhood into a community.

Open innovation project – CityVerve has run open calls and events offering challenges, opportunities and API’s to developers and innovators from all walks of life.

Evaluating the true impact of the project – Evaluation has been a core part of the project, as we set out to understand if theory translated into the real world. We continue to assess if desired results have been achieved and examine the commercial viability of use cases.

CityVerve’s Chair, Rowena Burns opened the event delivering a ‘helicopter view’ of the project and providing a high-level summary of the work achieved from the large deployment of IoT during the last two and a half years. Rowena attributed partnership working as a critical aspect of the success of this project, and stressed that the ‘richness’ is found in the 200 or so use cases. Rowena stressed that it is in fact the learning from the project which has been extremely valuable, and ended the introduction positively by stating that the amount of trust built amongst the partners during this time has created a solid foundation that will enable the city to continue to collaborate, innovate and promote debate to secure CityVerve’s legacy.

Sir Richard Leese followed with an overview of CityVerve from a city perspective. It was noted that due to Manchester’s size, it is important to work smart and be a smart city; something which can be realised through CityVerve.

Last year, 29% of space in the city was taken up by tech companies, overtaking companies in the finance sector for the first time. This changing landscape provides an opportunity to use tech to enhance people’s lives by finding real life solutions, alongside the changes and ambitions demonstrated by younger people.

Sir-Richard discussed some of the challenges that IoT can potentially provide a solution for such as, energy efficiency, enabling people to manage some of their own health needs, and the overall shift in the way people are now living as a result of changing times and behaviours e.g. the way we travel, and the way we integrate our social lives and professional lives. Referring to Our Manchester Strategy, he spoke about how we can empower communities to contribute to solutions, moving from a needs-based approach to a more asset-based one.

Echoing the close of Rowena’s introduction, Sir-Richard agreed that the partnership should continue and that the innovation that has happened continues to grow with the support of Government.

Following the introductions from Rowena Burns and Sir Richard Leese, a series of thematic talks from the leaders across the partnership:

Energy and Environment

Bev Taylor provided an overview of how CityVerve can address some of the big energy and environment challenges the city faces over the next 2-3 decades such as potential food and water shortages, population increases and climate change.

Manchester is aiming to become a carbon neutral city some time in 2030’s. The ambition was initially for 2050 however after reviewing the timeline leaders recognised they needed to act much sooner.

Alongside international and national interventions to climate change such as, the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act, Manchester’s ambition to build a smart city where buildings have very low/zero carbon and are 100% clean energy, amongst other interventions such as, zero waste and electric transport could be realised through CityVerve, as some of the use cases have demonstrated. They include Building Retrofit, Smart Facilities Management, Workspace Occupancy and Smart Cleaning to name but a few.

Health & Social Care

Carmel Dickinson – BeeActive is a step-count mobile phone application that incentivises users to increase their daily activity through gamification and nudges.
The app has the capability to set missions for users based on location and activity, alongside generic and personal ‘nudges’.

Successes from the project included the city exploration element and the ability for users to set missions for others and become ‘a games master’. Carmel also spoke about the challenges and lessons learned. In the future, TfGM will be partnering with BeeActive to deliver a walking/fitness app.

Another use case is PlaceCal, which addresses the negative impact social isolation has on the health and wellbeing of the elderly.  By linking up libraries, community events, groups and all associated data from various sources, PlaceCal is able to provide a social calendar for socially isolated residents in their community.  GP’s are now using PlaceCal to help patients and so far, the project has engaged 352 users with over 4,000 online activities. In the future, PlaceCal hopes to open this up to other cities.

The Augmented Neighbourhood Team demonstrates how Digitally integrated interventions can provide a quicker service and increased independence for the elderly.  Examples include the introduction of smart technology such as, home sensors to monitor behaviours and smart videos in nursing homes that allow the team to contact a professional digitally.

Travel & Transport

This theme focused on delivering more efficient, reliable and attractive public transport, reducing congestion and enhancing public safety.

Simon Warburton referred to Transport for Greater Manchester’s 2040 Strategy which seeks to achieve seamless mobility and sustainability. The aim is for a fully integrated transport network to cope with the increasing demand for travel and connectivity in a growing city, where the population, at 3 million inhabitants, is the highest population levels ever recorded in GM.

Some of the use cases included the City Concierge, a wayfinding service which enables users to make informed choices regarding the way they travel.

The increase in cycling take-up in the city as a mode of travel has led to the next generation of cycle sharing, for example, the Mobike cycle hire scheme. Through the development of IoT technology connected to bicycles, another use case was developed looking at patterns an
d behaviour of cyclists which has offered the potential for the city to optimise its investment in cycling infrastructure.

Culture & Public Realm

The event was closed by Drew Hemment of FutureEverything, who circled back to Rowena’s introduction by commending CityVerve and the great work it has achieved in being a truly citizen-focused project, with the benefits of all use cases highlighting how technology has a positive impact on the lives of the population in the city.

One of the use cases is a Local Communities Platform, enabling people within the Oxford Road Corridor area to access a public wi-fi network without the need to submit any personal data. The platform offers a high level of customisation, meaning that stakeholders can deliver their own hyperlocal content to a target audience.

There were also a number of art and cultural installations and exhibitions involving local communities, including Every Thing Every Time by artist Naho Matsuda, a project which is so successful it is launching at the Great Exhibition of the North 2018, and will also be exported to Hong Kong and Japan. There was also the Manchester Plinth, a collaboration between Sparta Digital and Manchester Metropolitan University, enabling users to access further information about assets or objects in the Oxford Road Corridor usually hidden inside of buildings, which incorporating augmented reality to enhance the visuality. There was also an exhibition called SuperGestures by artist Ling Tan, involving local school children, using wearable tech which lit up in the dark. The participants communicated gestures using their arms to an audience to describe how certain parts of the city made them feel.

In all, there is a great level of excitement for what has been achieved as part of the CityVerve demonstrator, Manchester is leading the way for Smart Cities going forward into the future. The enthusiasm for continuing the legacy and sharing best practise with others was evident throughout the event.

Last week, CityVerve released a short film called Manchester:City of Firsts. Directed by renowned writer and filmmaker, David Petch, the film celebrates how many of the world’s milestones have been created, and continue to be created, in Manchester. 

The film boasts over a dozen Mancunians and pays homage to innovations such as the first public library, passenger railway and football league, amongst many others. 

Photo credit: Joel Chester Fildes
​Monday 9 April 2018


Contact is pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning contractors F Parkinson Ltd for its major £6.75million building redevelopment, which began at the end of March 2018. The project will transform the building for the next generation of audiences, artists and young people.

Contact is the UK’s leading theatre and arts venue which puts young people at the heart of every aspect of the organisation. Based in a unique building on Oxford Road in Manchester, Contact is recognised nationally and internationally as a centre for excellence in the promotion of youth leadership and creativity. A dedicated team of young people, Con:Struct, has been fully involved in all aspects of the building project since 2014 and has been part of the tender and appointment process.

First established in 1972, Contact last underwent a major building redevelopment in 1999 with a ground-breaking new environmentally sustainable design. Twenty years on, the building needs to expand in order to cope with the growing demand from young participants and audiences as well as further improving Contact’s economic and environmental sustainability. This next stage in the building’s evolution will see Contact open in summer 2019 with new and improved performance spaces; a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects; an arts and health development space; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff; a new café/bar and many other exciting new features.

F Parkinson Ltd was established in 1934 in Blackpool and has since opened regional offices in Manchester and York. The organisation operates throughout the north of England and its vision is to be recognised for its outstanding achievements in social value, as well as delivering award-winning environmentally responsible projects.

F Parkinson Ltd places social value as key to its operations, providing positive social, economic and environmental impacts in the communities it works in. It also places great emphasis on the development, education, safety and health and wellbeing of its staff; an ethos which matches Contact’s organisational mission and values.

Billie Meredith, Con:Struct member said:
Being on the interview panel for Parkinson it was easy to see how well a fit they are; a great, hardworking company who care a lot for their community. I’m very much looking forward to the next steps of the project.

Matt Fenton, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Contact said:
The re-opened Contact building and our new facilities will massively improve the experience for audiences, artists and project participants. It will make the building more accessible, and will improve Contact’s economic and environmental sustainability. It’s fantastic to be working with a North West based contractor who aligns with our social values, and is also committed to creating opportunities for young people.

Steve Williamson, Regional Director at F Parkinson Ltd said:
Parkinson’s are delighted to be appointed to deliver Contact’s fantastic redevelopment scheme. Their organisational values mirror our own which will enable a truly collaborative approach to leave a lasting legacy for the young people of Greater Manchester.

The project has been funded thanks to a £3.85million investment from Arts Council England plus generous grants from other supporters, trusts and foundations.

For more information, interview and image requests, please contact:
James Ducker
Marketing & Communications Manager
E: jamesducker@contactmcr.com | T: 0161 274 0605 | M: 07769 264882

Photo credit: Paul Daly
Thursday 19th April




Today Contact, Manchester’s critically acclaimed, trail-blazing theatre and arts venue, led and programmed by young people, launched the final phase of its Capital Redevelopment fundraising campaign, with a target of 500k, after raising over £6m of its £6.65m target.

The rousing campaign was launched with Making Contact, an event at Manchester Art Gallery introduced by Contact advocate Julie Hesmondhalgh, Contact’s Chief Executive & Artistic Director Matt Fenton, and an inspiring performance from Contact Young Company’s radical 5* show She Bangs The Drums.

Front and centre of the campaign is Con:Struct, the dedicated team of young people aged 13-30 leading the project to transform the building for the next generation of audiences, artists and young people. They revealed the plans for the building, which is looking to reopen in Summer 2019, along with a new film to introduce Contact to a wider audience.

The funds will complete the Contact redevelopment, supporting new and improved performance spaces; a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects; an arts and health development space; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff and a new café/bar.

The Con:Struct team have attended more than 50 meetings and sessions since June 2016, initially having appointed lead architects Sheppard Robson. Since then they have been involved in procuring F Parkinson Ltd as the official contractors, who broke ground in late March 2018; interviewing and appointing the caterers; consulting on its fundraising policy; interior design choices and signage strategy.

First established in 1972, Contact last underwent a major building redevelopment in 1999 with a ground-breaking new environmentally sustainable design. Twenty years on, the building needs to expand in order to cope with the growing demand from young participants and audiences as well as further improving Contact’s economic and environmental sustainability.

Fundraising to date

A new arts and health space has been funded by a Wellcome Trust grant of £500,000. This will provide a dedicated space to develop new partnerships and relationships with NHS, patient groups, young people, local communities and artists. Additional funding will support a three-year post of Health Producer to lead on projects and produce new theatre shows that explore health inequalities and other current issues.

Generous donations have also been made by Duchy of Lancaster, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Granada Foundation, G S Sanders Charitable Settlement, Morrisons Foundation, The Oglesby Charitable Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Charitable Foundation, Viridor Credits, Wolfson Foundation, W O Street Charitable Foundation.

Support from trusts and foundations follows initial grants from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council.  In addition, Contact has received in kind support and with Contact’s own funds and individual donations this brings the total secured to date to £6,161,133.

Contact in 2018

The Capital Redevelopment has been the catalyst for Contact, and its outstanding, nationally recognised and consistently diverse performances, from contemporary theatre to dance, live art, cabaret, spoken word, circus, comedy and music to explode out into the City of Manchester, reaching exciting new audiences.

Contact has gained powerful momentum with diverse productions such as Dancing Bear, She Bangs the Drums and Handlooms hitting new stages from the Palace Theatre, to the Museum of Science and Industry and a sari shop on Manchester’s famous Curry Mile, receiving critical acclaim across the board.

Contact is also expanding onto new platforms with a television co-production from Contact and 20 Stories High based on their hit theatre show ‘I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip…’  broadcast on BBC Two in January to huge critical acclaim, reaching viewers nationally both on and offline. The frank, warm verbatim drama about young people’s experiences of abortion will screen again at Manchester HOME cinema in May 2018 as part of Pilot Light TV Festival.

Ella Dix-Nagra, Con:Struct member said: “Contact is incredibly important for young people; it is diverse, warm and welcoming, and the knowledge and platform it has offered me kick-started a full time career in the arts. Now we need everyone’s help, whether they can offer donations or their voices to support the amazing we work we need to continue.”

“I already miss Contact but I am so excited about next summer when we can see all our ideas and hard work brought to life. It’s an incredible legacy to have been a part of at just 24 and an opportunity I couldn’t have even imagined.”

Matt Fenton, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Contact said: “We are incredibly grateful for the generous support we have received so far to get this project up and running, with our contractors now on site.  To have raised over £6 million in the last 18 months is testament to how much people value what Contact does with and for the young people of Greater Manchester, the kinds of radical new performance we produce with them, and the many communities we reach.  However, our challenge now is to raise the final £500,000 to finish the job, and to do that we need people who care about what we do to support our campaign now.”

Julie Hesmondhalgh, Contact advocate, said: “I know more lives transformed because of Contact than I can count. Some of the most prolific artists I’ve met started out at Contact. Contact has always championed young people, and were years ahead of everyone in promoting diversity. I’m delighted to support this new era in Contact’s life in our glorious city, bringing that wonderful building bang up to date to host the next generation of exciting, vital, diverse and ground-breaking work.”


For more information contact:

Tom McGarva
Account Manager
Sundae Communications
Suite 2A, 22 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1EA
0161 278 1452 / 07811359718
@todayissundae / www.todayissundae.co.uk

FutureEverything unveils what young people think about the future of Manchester in multimedia art installation by creative technologist Ling Tan

what SUPERGESTURES will empower you to take action in your city?

March 2018, Manchester: FutureEverything to unveil a new multimedia art installation about the future of Manchester, by creative technologist Ling Tan for CityVerve, titled SUPERGESTURES. The SUPERGESTURES installation will be exhibited from 23-29 March in Manchester’s Bright Building.

From Malcolm X’s black power salute, a symbol of solidarity and support, to Winston Churchill’s V for victory, Ling harnesses the collective power of the gesture and translates it to Manchester. The exhibition will reveal personal stories recorded by young people across Manchester and collective SUPERGESTURES that embody their personal relationships to the city. 

Rubbish puts me in a bad mood – I want to see a more sensitive Manchester… support me by stretching your arms and fingers out as far as they can go and take it all in…

I am concerned about housing and insecure about the private rental economy… we need more power, support me by raising your fist to your heart and reaching out…

I feel unsafe and claustrophobic on public transport in busy periods… I envision a future with more options for transport… support me by horizontally opening your arms out wide…

I am concerned about emotional wellbeing and cheering miserable people up on a rainy day… support me by stretching your arms out wide, fingers open, embracing the city…

I am concerned about freedom.  How Manchester identifies itself lies in the people that work, live and interactive with it every day… support me by putting your right fist to your heart and extending the right arm out in front of you…

I concerned about homelessness on Market St. I feel shocked when I see the amount of homeless people in Manchester city centre compared to other cities. I envision a future where more is done to help the homeless around the city by the government. Support me by crossing your right and them your left arm across your chest and give yourself an embrace…

​SUPERGESTURES has been commissioned by CityVerve in partnership with FutureEverything as part of its FAULT LINES talent development and commissioning programme and responds to the development of smart cities and Internet of Things (IoT).  

Ling, one of seven artists selected as part of FAULT LINES, has been collaborating with young people across Manchester in a series of workshops that culminated in a large-scale outdoor multimedia performance through which people expressed their relationship to the city and their visions for the future with body gestures performed using wearable technology. 

During the workshops 50 young people from across Manchester gathered to co-create SUPERGESTURES – collective actions, postures and gestures performed with a wearable power suit laced with technology, including body gesture sensors, vibration actuators, LEDs and audio feedback.

Coordinated through social media as well as local community groups such as The Proud Trust (the only LGBT purpose-built centre in Europe), The Hideaway, (the oldest youth group in Manchester), and students from Manchester School of Architecture, the young people recorded and shared stories of freedom, pride, technology and ownership while laying out their visions for Manchester’s future.

Later, in a dramatic public spectacle, another group of 30 members of the public donned the SUPERGESTURES power suit, lit up with animated LEDs and triggered by a high tech sensor system, to listen to, ‘embody’ and perform all the co-created stories, visions, and gestures at key locations around Manchester. The hour-long semi-choreographed interactive walking performance was designed to lead people across several different neighbourhoods and immerse them in a future envisaged by the young people of the city, who will be most affected by current policy and technology decisions, some being driven by the CityVerve project. 

Ling Tan says; “I am really grateful for the enthusiasm and creativity that the 50 young people brought to this project. We had an incredibly diverse group of participants and it’s essential that they get the chance to explore and express their relationship with technology and policy making in the city, especially given that they are the future generation and will be impacted the most.” 

Drew Hemment, Founder and Creative Director of FutureEverything says: “SUPERGESTURES is a new way for a city to speak to its citizens. It gives young people a voice and metamorphoses that voice into a thrilling visual spectacle. The result is a totally unique participatory survey and demonstration of young residents’ hopes and fears for their city.

SUPERGESTURES is a deep dive into burning issues for the Internet of Things and Smart City. It uses wearable IoT technology developed by the artist herself using open hardware. Fundamental themes were brought to light including freedom, homelessness, safety, public transport, and caring for one another.

SUPERGESTURES puts CityVerve in a class of its own among big tech projects, and shows how the ‘CityVerve way’ is to put people at the centre. Here young people in Manchester are more than “users” of technologies the companies want to sell. They are the true stakeholders, the life blood of the city.

As the lead for the Culture and Public Realm theme for CityVerve, we are delighted and proud to have worked with Ling Tan on this groundbreaking new participatory IoT artwork for CityVerve. SUPERGESTURES represents exactly the type of artwork FutureEverything is aspiring to achieve, empowering communities to bring positive change through art and open technology.”

All the interaction during the performance was recorded to be exhibited at Future Sessions, the culmination of Every Thing is Connected, a three-day ‘conference-as-lab’ exploring the findings from local and international Smart City projects.

Led by Manchester City Council, CityVerve is a consortium of 20 organisations from the public, corporate, SME and academic sectors, who have united to transform the city and create endless possibilities for the people that live and work there, a smart, innovative, inspiring Manchester. The CityVerve partners include FutureEverything, Manchester Science Partnerships, the University of Manchester, Cisco and BT.

The final goal of the FAULT LINES programme is to develop new forms of sustainability for the creative practice of digital artists working today, encouraging cross sector collaboration and providing resources for art from beyond the arts. It is supported with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The SUPERGESTURES exhibition will premiere at the Future Sessions launch party on Wednesday 21 March 2018 and be on show to the public from Friday 23 March to Thursday 29 March at the Bright Building, Manchester. 


21-22 March at Future Sessions
23-29 March at Bright Building, Manchester

Press contact
Rebecca Ladbury

Photo credit Benji Redi
Contact will close the doors of its iconic Oxford Road building at the end of December 2017 ahead of a major £6.75million capital redevelopment. During this time, the organisation’s staff will relocate to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side, with a year-long programme of performance and participation activities taking place in partner venues across Greater Manchester.
Contact today announced the first part of its exciting year out programme, which will see it forge new creative partnerships with venues including the Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, the Museum of Science and Industry and The Lowry, as well as various interesting and unexpected spaces, including a working sari shop on Manchester’s Curry Mile. 
The season will kick off in style in February with two high profile shows as part of the annual Queer Contact Festival, beginning with Dancing Bear at the Palace Theatre Manchester (Tue 6 – Wed 7 February). Produced by Jamie Fletcher & Company and Contact, Dancing Bear flips between dramatic storytelling and catchy pop songs to explore personal, social and mental health issues experienced by LGBT+ people. This will be followed by club culture meeting high art at the House of Suarez and Contact Vogue Ball at Manchester Academy 2 (Sat 10 Feb).
Queer Contact Festival marks its 10th anniversary year with its biggest line-up of events yet. A packed programme of theatre, music, cabaret, film, clubbing, dance, spoken word and visual art examining gender, sexuality, health, religion, politics and more, will be hosted at venues across Greater Manchester (Sat 3 – Sat 24 Feb). Partner venues include: Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, Manchester Central Library, People’s History Museum, Waterside, Texture and 53Two.
The award-winning Contact Young Company will present Manchester’s rich social history in a celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918). She Bangs the Drums will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry (Thu 8 – Sat 10 Mar) in a humorous and political reflection on votes for women and working-class men. Following this, Contact and Rasa co-production Handlooms by Rani Moorthy shifts the scene to a working sari shop, Alankar House of Saris on Wilmslow Road (Tue 13 – Sun 25 Mar). Handlooms explores the generational gap between a mother and son, who are both seeking solutions to a business crisis. Finally, as a teaser for what’s to come later in the year, Contact is delighted to announce a one-off gala performance of Sophie Willan’s smash-hit Contact commissioned show Branded at The Lowry (Thu 31 May).
Contact is thrilled to be relocating to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side for the duration of 2018. This will not only be home to staff, but will also be a venue for Contact’s regular programme of free participatory activities throughout the year. The building is operated by Manchester Young Lives, and houses a number of other young people focused organisations, services and activities. As a company, Contact will be working with these organisations to increase the numbers of young people using the building. Contact’s other arts and leadership projects such as Contact Young Company, Future Fires and The Agency will continue to engage and inspire young people whilst the building on Oxford Road undergoes its transformation.
Contact will continue to regularly announce performances, projects and activities for the rest of 2018.  Contact’s young producers group Re:Con are currently working on a project in response to the anniversary of the anti-Section 28 protests in Manchester in 1988, and a brand new Christmas show written by the award-winning Jackie Hagan will be taking place at a partner venue during December.
Working alongside a dedicated team of local young people, Con:Struct, and with architects Sheppard Robson, Contact will re-open in 2019. The refurbished building will feature a new performance space, a recording studio for young people, new offices and rehearsal spaces for artists and other cultural organisations, and a new café and bar. The project aims are to increase the number and range of creative opportunities for young people and to strengthen the organisation’s financial sustainability. Access throughout the building will also be upgraded as well as improving its environmental performance.
The project will be funded by over £6million of investment from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council with generous grants and donations from local and national trusts and foundations. Corporate and individual supporters and a public fundraising campaign will raise the remaining £600,000. 
Matt Fenton, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Contact said:
This is an incredibly exciting and important time for Contact. While our building is expanded and improved, 2018 will see us present a year-long programme at partner venues and found spaces across the city, taking Contact productions to new communities and letting new audiences experience our work. Contact productions will also be touring nationally, and a recent show will be broadcast on BBC TV and iPlayer. We’re also thrilled to be relocating our staff and all of our participatory projects to the Powerhouse in Moss Side. As a team we’re really looking forward to forming new relationships with the organisations there to provide new opportunities for young people in the area. We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England and all our other funders, trusts and foundations, and our partner venues for their support on this project which will enable Contact to offer even more life-changing opportunities for young people, sustainably and for many years to come.
Jane Beardsworth, Director North, Arts Council England said:
Working with children and young people is an absolute priority for the Arts Council. Contact has always put the needs of the young people at the forefront of its work and we’re delighted that they will benefit from these improved facilities. I look forward to the re-opening in 2019.
Paul Fletcher, Chief Executive at Manchester Young Lives said: 
Manchester Young Lives is delighted to welcome Contact to the Powerhouse; this will open up opportunities for talented young people in Moss Side and surrounding neighbourhoods to engage with the arts.
Alistair Cox, Powerhouse Board member added:
We are delighted with this new collaboration with Contact, which has for many years engaged young people from Moss Side and surrounding communities in its artistic activities. This is a real opportunity to broaden this work and to open increased cultural, social and educational opportunities for young people using the Powerhouse.
For more information, interview and image requests, please contact:
James Ducker, Marketing & Communications Manager
Ejamesducker@contactmcr.com | T: 0161 274 0605 | M: 07769 264882
Notes for Editors:
Contact is where young people change their lives through the arts. Based in Manchester, Contact is a vibrant, professional, contemporary theatre and arts venue, with young people driving every aspect of its work. First established as a theatre in 1972, in 1999 Contact reinvented itself as a multi-disciplinary creative space specialising in producing work with, and providing opportunities for, young people aged 13 to 30. Today, Contact is recognised nationally and internationally as a game-changer in the field of youth leadership and creativity. Contact works with the young people of Greater Manchester and with local, national and international artists to create new models of arts engagement – fostering new talent, building skills and ambition – and creating important new productions that tour nationally. Contact is unique in its ethos of placing young people’s decision-making at the heart of everything. Young people work alongside staff in deciding the artistic programme, making staff appointments and act as full Board members. This model is seen as a national exemplar of best practice in relation to young people and diversity, influencing organisations nationwide. www.contactmcr.com
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk