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Chemistry graduate opens UK’s first independent science incubator

Unit DX launch

Dr Harry Destecroix (left) with Professor Tim Gallagher (Dean of Science - University of Bristol)

20 March 2017

Congratulations to Chemistry PhD graduate Dr Harry Destecroix who has just launched Unit DX, a revolutionary innovation centre for scientific enterprise

The science incubator will provide entrepreneurs with laboratory space and business support they need to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

The 15,000 sq ft facility will accommodate over 100 scientists and engineers. It offers flexible private laboratories for industry and individual lab benches for new start-ups. The repurposed industrial unit in central Bristol takes inspiration from Silicon Valley by providing science and tech start-up companies on-site access to instrumentation, technicians and a network of business and technical support, including a partnership with the University of Bristol's SETsquared Centre.

The UK is an internationally recognised leader for scientific research, ranked second only to the US in terms of research outputs, yet lags behind in converting these research opportunities into commercial technologies.

The inspiration came from a problem experienced by University of Bristol Chemsitry PhD graduate and Unit DX founder Dr Harry Destecroix. Whilst launching his first start-up, Ziylo, based on research conducted during his doctorate at the University, he found a remarkable lack of appropriate laboratory space in the area to house his new company. Further investigations showed that it was a common complaint from scientific entrepreneurs, and Unit DX was created to overcome this.

Dr Destecroix said: "Scientific companies need spaces built specifically for them. They need laboratory space to conduct research and access to state-of-the-art instrumentation. Unit DX is designed around the needs of scientists and will lower the time and cost required to take a great idea and turn it into real world working technology.

"I'm especially excited about what’s going to be achieved when great scientific minds from across different disciplines such as synthetic biology and quantum technologies come together under one roof, in one of the UK’s most entrepreneurial cities."

Unit DX is only a few minutes’ walk from the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Campus near Temple Meads train station, and the team have been working closely with the University to ensure the facility meets the needs of local spin-outs and start-ups. This includes the launching of a new service, The Instrument Link, which will provide its customers with access to a full suite of cutting-edge research instrumentation at the Universities of Bristol and Bath.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor & President of the University of Bristol, said: "We actively support and encourage our graduates to think outside the box. It’s been a revelation to witness the journey of Unit DX since first meeting Harry a year ago. Innovation and entrepreneurship is at the heart of the University of Bristol’s new strategy and we look forward to working with Unit DX to inspire our science graduates."

Unit DX opened on St Philips, Bristol on Friday, March 17. More information can be found at www.unitdx.com or on twitter - @unit_dx