A huge investment for Science City York

Introduction

  • European funding managed by Yorkshire Foward will allow major expansion of facilities
  • 685 new jobs will be created
  • 90 new businesses helped to start up

Summary

Hundreds of new jobs, businesses and ventures can be created, which is expected to boost productivity of the region’s hi-tech industries by £37M.

Science City York is a successful business and skills development initiative, driving the creation and growth of business and employment opportunities across York and North Yorkshire within three fast-growing technology sectors – bioscience, creative industries, and IT & digital.

The European Commission has now approved £19.7 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme in Yorkshire and Humber, which is managed by Yorkshire Forward.

Science City York

In Detail

£19.7m investment for region's technology base

The European Commission has approved Science City York’s major project application for £19.7 million investment to create 685 new jobs, 90 new businesses, and assist a further 697 ventures.

By 2014, the project, led by Science City York in partnership with the University of York and The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), is also expected to boost productivity of the region’s hi-tech industries by £37M.

The £19.7M investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme in Yorkshire and Humber will focus on developing new infrastructure to stimulate R&D and improve regional competitiveness in science and technology sectors.

The bulk of the investment will support the development of more than 9,000 square metres of new business floor space for technology-based ventures, providing purpose-built knowledge exchange and business incubation facilities at the University of York and the creation of an ‘Innovation Campus’ at Fera’s Sand Hutton laboratory complex on the outskirts of York.

Project lead is Fay Treloar, Head of Operations at Science City York:

“That York has been able to attract this level of investment from the ERDF programme is a testament to the influence of the strategic partnership between Science City York and two of the primary research institutions in the North of England,” she commented.

She added: “This is a significant achievement which will have a major impact on the City, offering tangible, long-term benefits and helping to strengthen the region’s economy.”

More than £15M will help fund the expansion of facilities on the University’s new Heslington East campus, to include the development of an iconic central ‘Hub’ building comprising circa 4000 square metres of knowledge exchange accommodation, providing an integrated network of support for target businesses.

The Hub will also house a new Higher York Creative Technology Centre, and offer collaborative research space, office and exhibition space, creating a custom-made environment for start-up and early-stage businesses.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor at the University of York said: "One of the principal drivers for the University's expansion was our conviction that world class universities, such as York, are the intellectual, cultural, social, economic and technological dynamos of the modern world.”                        Contd. Over

Professor Cantor continued: “This substantial investment is a tremendous vote of confidence in the University's ability to build new and exciting partnerships, between our world-class research base and businesses, for the good of the economy. The Hub building on Heslington East will enhance a vibrant, intellectual atmosphere that will foster knowledge transfer, innovation and collaboration across a range of disciplines.”

Knowledge exchange accommodation will be further complemented by The Catalyst, a new, on-campus business incubation facility supporting the development and growth of businesses in the creative, digital and media sectors. Managed by York Science Park Ltd (YSP), 1850 square metres of the facility will be lettable space in the form of 42 flexible incubation units.

Tracey Smith, General Manager of York Science Park said: “York Science Park Ltd has taken an active role in developing the knowledge space on Heslington East which will expand our facilities as well as consolidating YSP’s reputation as a leading centre for science and technology businesses.

“This new space, embedded within the University’s campus will give creative, digital and media companies a unique opportunity to be located amongst teaching, research and academic departments.”

The Science City York project also connects with a significant new business strategy by The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) to provide specialist grow-on space for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and R&D collaboration across the life sciences, biotechnology and environmental sectors.

£2M investment forms a critical part of Fera’s overall plans for remodelling and refurbishing existing facilities to provide 1936 square metres of lettable laboratory or hi technology manufacturing space. Facilities will be available to established SMEs seeking to expand, offering the additional benefit of co-location alongside an internationally-renowned research agency.

Adrian Belton, Chief Executive of The Food and Environment Research Agency, commented: “Fera's facilities at Sand Hutton are unique in that they provide and support truly multidisciplinary science. This development can only be good for growing innovative businesses wanting easier technology transfer and faster times to market.

“It means we can play a part in helping the competitiveness of businesses based in the region. It also makes the region a better place in which to invest and develop, for the benefit of us all. We're delighted to be at the heart of a truly collaborative partnership between the public and private sectors, and academia.”

Completing Science City York’s project is £2M direct investment into two nationally significant bio-refinery projects being undertaken by the University of York. The funding will be used to support the creation of a semi-scale bio-refinery at the University, enabling the scaling up of laboratory research examining the potential for the production of chemicals and bio-fuels from waste materials.

"The biorefineries being developed by Green Chemistry and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products are an exciting vision of how the world might realise the potential of renewable resources,” added Professor Cantor.

Approval for Science City York’s most recent project application to the European Commission follows the announcement in July of the company’s successful bid to secure £1.3M investment from the ERDF Programme in Yorkshire & Humber, funding a new structured coaching programme to individuals within high growth businesses.

Now the Commission has approved the latest ERDF investment of £19.7 million, the offer letter is being developed between Science City York and Yorkshire Forward and is expected to be signed in the near future.

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