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Sci-Tech Daresbury named leading UK science park

Sci-Tech Daresbury has been hailed as the science campus making the most significant contribution to innovation in the UK.

The recognition came at the prestigious UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) member awards, held recently in York when Sci-Tech Daresbury picked up the award for “setting the pace” in innovation and for supporting the growth of knowledge-based firms.

Sci-Tech Daresbury was also shortlisted for ‘Best Project’ award for last year’s phenomenally successful Open Week, which attracted more than 7,500 members of the public.

The UKSPA awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of the science park and innovation movement in the UK. UKSPA was created by the sector for the sector and has seen its membership grow to more than 150 member locations.

John Downes, group managing director of Langtree and chairman of the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture company, said that the award reflects the continuing success of the campus’s business strategy.

He said: “The last 12 months have been very strong for the campus, with new developments in the Enterprise Zone and a record number of new companies joining our business community. This award underlines our reputation as a place where business can innovate and flourish and we are delighted to have won it.

“Since 2005, 95 per cent of Sci-Tech Daresbury companies have achieved three-year business survival rates which compares to a UK average of between 50 and 60 per cent for this sector.                                              

“Campus companies also achieved average sales growth rates of 30 per cent per year over the past five years with 41 per cent of these exports. This is all supported by a 10-year collaboration with the Department for International Trade.

“It is figures like these that helped us to attract 34 companies to the campus in 2016 and that also give us the confidence to increase investment. We have recently completed and opened the £20m Techspace One and Two buildings, which are already attracting major interest.”

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a private-public joint-venture partnership between developer Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Halton Borough Council.

STFC provides a range of facilities and support including rapid prototyping facilities, labs, analytical equipment, and computing/visualisation facilities.  It is also involved in running incubator programmes at Sci-Tech Daresbury to connect companies with the likes of CERN and the UK Space Agency. Half of campus companies work with STFC, in addition more than two thirds work with a UK university, an achievement among the best of science parks in the UK.  Collaborations with STFC and universities deliver £16.7m of sales value to campus companies.

Mr Downes added: “Collaboration, co-development and business support make a big impact on all the companies and organisations who locate here. The campus is deliberately designed and operated to encourage catalyse opportunities between SME businesses, corporates, academic institutions and public sector bodies.  For many this community and culture are the key reasons to be based at Sci-Tech Daresbury.

“Sci-Tech Daresbury is also playing a strategic national role in areas like data-centric computing and is a critical asset in supporting the growth plans of the three Local Enterprise Partnerships on its Enterprise Zone board. Still, we believe there is much more to be done and we will be rolling out further exciting plans, collaborations and developments in the future.”