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SPark in the Science City

Spark, the new £300 million science park for Bristol and Bath, launched today 29 April 2008 with Lord Sainsbury, the UK’s leading expert on Science and Innovation, unveiling a model and images of how the first building, Spark One, will look.

The announcement came as part of a one day conference celebrating Science City Bristol and all that the city-region has done and continues to do in the world of science and technology.

More than 120 businesses, university and public sector leaders attended the event at HP Labs, Filton, to hear speeches from Lord Sainsbury, Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners and architect of the Cambridge Phenomenon and Johnny Ball, science enthusiast and former TV presenter. They discussed technology solutions to major issues facing Bristol and the surrounding area: sustainable transportation, skills shortage in the workforce and public-private collaboration across sectors.

As Lord Sainsbury said; “The Bristol city-region is known for its scientific heritage, including its links with Brunel, but the continuing impact of this scientific culture is often underestimated. Its scientists remain at the global leading edge of technological developments in areas such as mobile telephony, robotics and low power micro electronic devices. With such significant research and development work underway today in its universities and businesses, this announcement highlights the progress that Bristol is making in creating a high-tech cluster which will act as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.”

SPark is a ground breaking development driven by the South West RDA, the Universities of Bristol, Bath and the West of England and specialist developer Quantum Property Partnership. The 10-year project will provide dedicated space for science and technology businesses in South West England and create around 6,000 highly skilled jobs. Contractors for Spark One will be announced this summer, with work expected to start before the end of the year.

“Our remit is to support a sustainable economy by investing to unlock the region’s business potential, and SPark will play a major role in achieving this by attracting new companies to the area and building on the region’s reputation as leader in the aerospace, defence, digital technologies and biotechnology industries” said Stephen Peacock, Executive Director Enterprise & Innovation at the South West RDA.

He continued; “With investment totalling more than £30 million this is our single largest project in the region. It will include a 70,000 sq ft Innovation Centre and ‘grow-on’ centre that will act as a hub for developing and supporting young science-based businesses as they evolve.”

Tonianne Dwyer from Quantum, said “Significant work has been done over the last two years to plan a science park that will not only achieve new standards of environmental excellence, but act as an accelerator for the businesses that are based there. By connecting these businesses to the best academic and inward investment resources in the region, Spark will not just be a place to grow a business, but a highly flexible and valuable resource in its own right.

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1.The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region’s business potential. It works in partnership with public, private and social purpose organisations to drive up the region’s productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places, and promoting the strengths of the region. 

2. Thanks to initial investment from the South West RDA, and working in collaboration with a wide range of partners across the region, Science City Bristol will play a key role in the sustainable economic and social development of the city region over the coming years. 

3. Lord Sainsbury is the former Science and Innovation Minister and author of the Sainsbury Review of the Government’s science and innovation policies, ‘The Race to the Top, which forms the blueprint for the governments policies on Science and Innovation in the UK.

4. Herman Hauser, a PhD in Physics and Engineering from Vienna University and Cavendish Laboratories at Kings College, Cambridge, has been instrumental over many years in helping science-based start-ups to commercialise their technology successfully - examples include: Acorn Computers; NetChannel; Cambridge Network; IXI; Cambridge Network; Vocalis; Syngenix; Advanced Displays. He co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners with Anne Glover and Peter Wynn in 1997 and jointly they have led the field in terms of enabling innovative and science-based companies to commercialise their intellectual property. Most critically Amadeus Capital has also aided their investee companies in preparing to expand into the US and China. His participation in this conference comes at an opportune moment for the launch of Bristol Science City and the Bristol and Bath Science Park.

5. Bristol City Region is proud to have been designated a Science City thanks to its strenghts and achievements in world-class scientific research, development and innovation. Science City Bristol, backed by a broad partnership of public, private and academic organisations, will support and develop the area’s science and innovation assets to deliver sustainable economic and social benefit by: 

• Bringing business, academia and government together

• Creating a more connected scientific community

• Promoting the area’s scientific achievements to help us attract even more world-leading scientific enterprise and research 

• Creating a culture for all which understands and celebrates science and technology 

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