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A year in review: Exeter Science Park’s highlights

By Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park

The past year was an extremely busy one for Exeter Science Park and, as we’ve come to the end of the 2018/19 financial year, I’ve taken a look back at some of the highlights.

In 2018 we developed and pre-let 27,000 square feet of space for science, technology, engineering, maths and medical (STEMM) businesses in the new, spec-built Grow-on Buildings. We also designed and sold the plans for a new 12,000 square foot engineering building – the University of Exeter’s VSimulators facility – with construction now underway. Funding was also secured for a 20,000 square foot, spec-build Open Innovation Building. Overall, Exeter Science Park secured and developed almost 60,000 square feet of STEMM innovation space in 2018.

The Grow-on Buildings will accommodate over 200 high-quality jobs once all the tenants have moved in. They were named by local primary schools in a competition that aimed to educate key stage two students about inspirational scientists from history. Schools were provided with a booklet about seven scientists and asked to write a short essay on their three favourites. The pupils were then invited to an awards ceremony in the Science Park Centre where the winners were announced and all those who entered had a tour of the Grow-on Building construction site. One of the buildings is named after Hedy Lamarr – the actress and inventor, who patented an idea that later became integral to WiFi and GPS – and the Director of ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’, Alexandra Dean, sent a video message of congratulations to the students.

In 2018 Exeter Science Park was listed in Start Us Magazine’s ‘UK’s Top Science Parks For Startups’ alongside Cambridge, Oxford and the University of Southampton’s Science Parks, and we were credited as being “one of the most renowned science parks in the world” with “considerable resources at its disposal” – a real stamp of approval and recognition in a national arena.

In March 2018, we hosted Gareth Davies, Director General of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who was impressed by the growth opportunities and developments presented by the Science Park’s entrepreneurs.

2018 also saw the opening of the Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab on the campus, a European funded initiative to help businesses solve key technical challenges in big data or environmental futures. Support includes access to technical specialists and academics from the Impact Lab’s seven partner organisations, access to collaborative workspace, mentorship programmes, a dedicated Innovation Manager for the duration of the project, as well as advice and referrals.

The Impact Lab is a key component of Exeter Science Park’s masterplan and a great asset for Devon’s STEMM businesses, providing deep technical assistance to allow businesses to develop new products, services or processes. Find out more about it here.

Our mission is to help innovative STEMM businesses deliver extraordinary growth, and our work over the past year has demonstrated our ability to do just that. We’ve taken great strides in developing both the Park’s masterplan and also putting Exeter on the map as an outstanding place to do business. We aren’t resting on our laurels and there is much more to come.

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