A £100m Innovation Quarter in Bath is aiming to create 2500 new high tech jobs in the region.
Bath Innovation Quay will create a business location for the growing ICT, low carbon and creative sectors within the city and will link with the research and academic base in the city’s two Universities. The development, which the Council will be encouraging to come forward by around the start of 2019, would create around 400,000 square feet of modern business space centred on the University of Bath Innovation Centre with up to 170 low carbon homes.
The University Innovation Centre is a core component of the plans. Dr Rob Head, Director of Research Development and Support at the University, said, “Our strong and successful programmes convinced us of the potential to build on these achievements and establish what we have termed our ‘Innovation Campus’. We have been working with the Council on these plans and I am delighted to see this important progress towards creating around 2,500 high technology related jobs within Bath.”
“Bath & North East Somerset Council wants to create a unique, compelling offer for businesses in the creative, digital, and knowledge sectors to relocate,” said Councillor Paul Crossley, leader of Council.
“The prospect of having hi-tech businesses, University research facilities, and places for people to live combining with the buzz of the city and World Heritage Site is simply mouth-watering in terms of opportunities for local people and prosperity for our area. A healthy, smart, zero carbon development will be created that will become the hub for imagination and creativity not just regionally, but worldwide as we take the area’s internationally respected reputation for digital expertise to the next level.”
The development costs for the plan would be around £65 million with the Council seeking a combination of Government money through the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the private sector.
The main locations that would be used are Newark Works, Avon Street Car Park and Coach Park. Investment worth £7.6 million has already been captured to tackle flood mitigation, highways works, and new footbridge over the river. The Council will also look to obtain £800,000 of funding to relocate the Coach Park.
No details are yet available about those private sector enterprises who would take workspace in Innovation Quay, although the Council says it is fielding considerable interest.
Bath Innovation Quay is one part of the Enterprise Area alongside the Residential Quarter where the Council, Crest Nicholson, Homes and Communities Agency and Curo Group are working together to create new homes and commercial space;
Commercial Quarter, of which Innovation Quay is the main part and the City Gateway comprising of Bath Riverside East and Green Park Station offers the opportunity not only for Sainsbury’s to develop their proposals for a new retail store, but also around 160,000 square feet of office, creative, and bar/ restaurant space.
The key investment is £189 million for big data and energy efficient computing to build on the research base’s capacity for analysing big data sets, in areas like earth observation and medical science, but there are other significant areas of funding.
There is a £35 million for centres of excellence in robotics and autonomous systems aiming to bring together the research base and industry. The Bristol Robotics Lab is the largest in Europe and at the forefront of such developments. Science and universities minister David Willetts (right) also announced a £1m Technology Strategy Board competition to help to accelerate the development of concepts where robots are able to interact with each other and humans.
There will also be £25 million of additional funding for the National Space Technology Programme for the development of commercial products and services using space technology and data from space-based systems which can benefit space technology companies in the region such as SciSys in Bristol.
There is also £45 million for new facilities and equipment for advanced materials research in areas of UK strength such as advanced composites, high-performance alloys, low-energy electronics and telecommunications, as well as £28 million to the National Composites Centre in Bristol.
In newer areas such as smart grid, the government plans to invest £30 million to create dedicated R&D facilities to develop and test new grid scale storage technologies, an area where the region is strong withthe Low Carbon South West group.
Wednesday 7th November 2012
New venue: UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre
Venturefest Bristol is back for a second year to showcase the latest new technology business ideas and innovations.
The venue moves from the Bristol & Bath Science Park to the Exhibition Centre at UWE, bringing together technology businesses at all stages, from pre-commercial to established organisations. Venturefest Bristol 2012 aims to offers opportunities to businesses regardless of their size, sector or location within the UK.
Last year’s event attracted more than 700 attendees and this year promises to be even bigger. Venturefest is aimed at anyone who has an early-stage technology business idea and is looking for support and advice to get that idea off the ground. Attendees can listen to other entrepreneurs’ stories, get IP and funding advice and to network with like-minded people.