The Knowledge Economy in the north east could be the new Silicon Valley and this is good news for the UK
It may be a surprise to some to learn that the area in question is the north east of England – surprising because the northern regions of the UK have suffered from the loss of its industrial prowess of previous decades and has lagged behind in terms of wealth, employment and prominence. But why is the knowledge economy good news for the UK and what is this knowledge economy?
The knowledge economy refers to the use of knowledge to one in which the generation and exploitation of knowledge has come to play the predominant part in the creation of wealth. It involves the most effective use and exploitation of all types of knowledge in all manner of economic activity driven in particular by research and development, investment and innovation. A report produced by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy at the University of Ulster in conjunction with Oxford Economics, analysed and published data on 21 indicators including employment, salaries, venture capital investment, research and development, start-ups, PhDs and patent registrations and concluded that the north east is the fastest growing areas in the UK and has grown by one third in the last five years.
The ability to form a prosperous economic region in the northern areas will reduce the pressure from a very crowded south east where highly competent potential middle and higher income earners have been priced out of the expensive areas due to the high cost of living. This ‘brain drain’ will be accommodated into the northern areas and assist in creating a buoyant and thriving economy where the cost of living is considerably lower and workers are able to contribute positively. In turn, this may lead to the much needed creation of new dwellings where workers are able to relocate. Indeed, many of the young graduates who would have looked towards the southern regions for their post university work placements, will be attracted to the northern areas, particularly if the attraction was a more permanent career based on knowledge and innovation where a proactive approach is considered a valuable and indispensable asset.
As the knowledge economy grows, interest from companies gathers pace and investment, either foreign or from within, becomes a mechanism whereby investors are able to participate profitably and contribute to the creation of wealth. Companies must utilise the untapped pool of talent to continue to drive innovation which is vital for industries. It is crucial that the northern regions assist its southern counterparts in the creation of wealth so as to take the pressure away from the crowded southern parts which currently feeds into an overstatement of prices and living costs and potentially could assist in reducing the aforementioned factors. In essence, knowledge is power and innovation induces competitiveness – a much needed guarantor of success and if the north continues to perpetuate confidence in its ability to enhance economic growth, other areas may follow and this can only be a positive factor for the UK economy after many years of recent underachievement.
Dr. Victor Chukwuemeka
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