WARNINGS have been sounded over future funding for the science group hoping to create more than £60m of jobs in the North East.
The Newcastle Innovation Machine, set up in 2009 to bring experts to Tyneside and help them create high-tech firms, has been hailed as providing a chance to boost the region’s economy in an independent evaluation of its success.
Consultants at Brighthouse say the Newcastle Science City project could see firms created or supported by the Innovation Machine bring some £62m to the region by 2013 – if the project survives that long.
They warn that cash for the flagship Newcastle Science City scheme has not yet been secured past next year, meaning Government hopes of building up a strong private sector in the North East would face an even bigger challenge.
The Innovation Machine sees researchers paid to create a firm during a six-month stint at Newcastle Science City’s Gallowgate offices.
Those firms are then expected to grow and create jobs, while repaying the cash if possible.
It also sees help and tailored support offered to established firms.
But Government cuts and a decision to scrap main funder One North East has already seen a recruitment freeze enforced and raised question marks over the project’s long-term hopes.