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£300m science park for the South West

Press release issued: 26 March 2004

The South West is to become home to a major £300 million science park thanks to a new investment by the South West Regional Development Agency.

The South West is to become home to a major £300 million science park thanks to a new investment by the South West Regional Development Agency (South West RDA). 

The South West RDA has purchased 12 hectares of land between the M4 and the Avon ring road at Emersons Green on Bristol’s north fringe to deliver the first phase of a new science park comparable in size and scope to the best known science parks in the UK like Warwick, Cambridge, Oxford and Manchester.

The first phase of the science park includes a further 13 hectares of land which will be included in the development.  A further phase could provide an additional 10 hectares depending on demand.

The science park will make the South West an even more attractive place for investment and create around 6,000 highly skilled, high value jobs when fully completed over the next decade.  Acting as a major hub for science and technology in the north of the region, demand for the park will come from the established key sectors in the South West; aerospace and defence, digital technologies and biotechnology.

An innovation centre will be developed on the site which will be operated in collaboration with the University of Bristol, the University of Bath and the University of the West of England.  The innovation centre will be dedicated to growing science based businesses including ‘spin outs’ from the universities.

The South West RDA will drive forward development by working with a steering group which includes senior representatives from Bristol University, Bath University, University of the West of England, Hewlett Packard, Airbus, Quinetiq, the West of England Learning and Skills Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Government Office South West.  The group has expertise in research and development, knowledge transfer, land acquisition and planning guidance.

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol said: "This is a huge step forward for an ambitious project and we take our hats off to the RDA.  Bristol University is already very active at the interface between research and business, but the science park will enable us and our partners to move our enterprise and knowledge transfer work up a gear.  The potential economic benefits to the region are immense."

Johns Steeds, Chairman of Emersons Innovations Limited, said: "This announcement has taken a long time coming, but I am absolutely delighted that the carefully laid plans for a Science Research Park of international standard are finally being realised.  I anticipate that this exciting development will have a most important impact on the local economy and that of the region.  It will provide a much-needed base for promising spin-outs from the local universities and bring inward investment into the region."


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