LANCASHIRE Innovation Board, a new body created by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, has appointed its first chair.

Professor Graham Baldwin will now work to deliver greater innovation to the county’s economy and help businesses to develop their leadership capacities.

The new chair, who is also vice-chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, will face challenging times ahead as the region struggles to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Baldwin said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a whole host of partners to build on our existing innovation resources and drive forward Lancashire’s innovation agenda.

"Lancashire has many strengths and assets to build on to move our productivity efforts forward.

“We are home to leading global businesses at the cutting edge of innovation in advanced manufacturing, supported by a supply chain cluster of high-tech small and medium-size enterprises.”

The board will bring together Lancaster University with companies like Panaz and Victrex along with public sector institutions such as the Innovation Agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and more.

Professor Baldwin said: "Our long-standing and well-known strengths in aerospace, automotive, and energy industries sit alongside exciting, emerging strengths in sectors such as digital and applied healthcare.

“And through our high- performing universities and further education providers, working closely with national centres of research excellence and knowledge transfer partnerships, our excellence in deep thinking and research provides us with crucial competitive advantage.”

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership will now hope that the appointment will give the new body the strategic thinking and status it needs to spearhead development across the county.

LEP Chair Steve Fogg said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Graham as Chair of the Lancashire Innovation Board and look forward to working with both Graham and the board to deliver our innovation plans for Lancashire, which are more important now than ever.

"From the Spinning Jenny to the development of the jet engine, Lancashire has always been able to build a vibrant economy, based on the innovation of those who work here. In 2020 the challenge has never been greater to harness innovation, to retain its competitive position and imagine Lancashire's industries of the future."