New appointment designed to boost regional growth


The region’s newest enterprise and innovation programme has appointed Dr Belinda Clarke as its Director of External Relations.

Dr Clarke joins the University of Cambridge’s ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA) programme, which aims to support the early stage venture ecosystem throughout the east of England with a range of activities and projects.

She will be working alongside Stew McTavish, the Innovation Support Director, ensuring the iEA plays a leading role in the UK’s innovation policy and providing practical support for early stage ventures.

The former scientist will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships between the iEA and the Enterprise Hubs in the East of England, the Technology Strategy Board, research councils and Department for Business Innovation and Skills, as well as industrial partners and potential investors.

A graduate of both Cambridge and the UEA she will also be responsible for influencing the local, regional and national environment for business start-up and growth.

Dr Clarke brings a wealth of experience to the role.  She was formerly Life Sciences Manager for the East of England, a role which involved aligning regional economic strategy and investments with business needs, market opportunities and UK policy for the sector.

As part of that role she chaired EEDA’s Proof of Market assessment panel for life sciences, and also led the winning bid leading to a national “cluster mark” award from BIS for the regional health and life sciences cluster.

She is a member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Industry Strategy Panel and chaired the UK Life Sciences Network. Regionally, she is a member of the NHS Innovation Council and also founded and chaired the regional Business Support Forum for life sciences.

Formerly, she ran Norwich Research Park Science, a company which promoted the research park and facilitated collaborations, both internal and external, commercial and academic.

Dr Clarke said:  “I know from personal experience, the depth of talent we have in the region, both in terms of research and entrepreneurial activity.

“As the UK Trade and Investment biotech and pharma adviser, committed to supporting regional SMEs in their international business development activities, I was constantly inspired by the number of innovative, high-growth firms we have in the region.

“I also know the region’s research strengths; I’ve been closely involved in promoting the benefits of working with our world-leading research organisations and institutions.

“The Government has placed emphasis on the importance of new ventures and entrepreneurs to the economic growth of the UK.

“As the new landscape for business support evolves, the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator will be a key catalyst, locally, regionally and nationally, to ensure early stage ventures have the right practical help within the right environment.”



ideaspace Enterprise Accelerator
The ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA) is a four year programme to support the generation of economic, strategic and social value across the Eastern Region by:

• Identifying high-potential research- and innovation-led opportunities for early-stage business growth;
• Supporting the accelerated development growth of new ventures, leading to financial and jobs growth; and
• Increasing the knowledge and skills of people engaging in key roles across the enterprise lifecycle

The programme, made possible through support from the Hauser-Raspe Foundation and the East of England Development Agency, incorporates and builds upon the University of Cambridge ideaSpace which was established to support the coordination, development, acceleration and widening of entrepreneurial activity across the Eastern Region.

IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited
ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator is operated and managed by IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited (IfM ECS). IfM ECS is wholly-owned by the University of Cambridge. It disseminates the Institute for Manufacturing’s research and education outputs to industry and government through education, consultancy, events, and publications.

The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice. The IfM works closely with industry, at a Regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive.


For further information, contact:
Rob Halden-Pratt
Communications Officer
Institute for Manufacturing
Tel: 01223 748266
M: 07540 667330



ideaSpace believes that great organisations are founded by great people.