Bristol & Bath Science Park celebrates second anniversary with royal visit
(l-r) HRH The Duke of Gloucester receives a Crookes Radiometer from Richard Pitkin, innovation centre director at Bristol & Bath Science Park, during his visit today to mark the Park’s second birthday
The Bristol & Bath Science Park has celebrated its second anniversary today (September 26, 2013) with a visit from His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO.
The visit took place exactly two years to the day since the Science Park opened its doors in 2011.
The Duke of Gloucester formally marked the anniversary at a small celebration which took place in the Forum – the Park’s glass atrium – next to a display of three glass virus sculptures by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram which were officially installed in time for the anniversary.
Just two years after opening, space at The Park’s Innovation Centre, which is for early stage and high growth businesses, is now 89 per cent let, with 32 companies now based there. The Grow On Centre, which accommodates more mature businesses, is 75 per cent let.
Bonnie Dean, chief executive of the Bristol & Bath Science Park, said: “It’s been an exciting and rewarding two years, and the lettings figures are just one indicator of the Park’s success. The South West has all the ingredients for a vibrant science and technology eco-system and the Park provides a collaborative space that brings organisations and ideas together.
“The interest in the Park over the last two years goes to show that this sort of hub has been needed for a long time in the region. It’s an important part of the region’s economy, helping to stimulate growth and create new opportunities for companies based here.”
The Park provides a professional and supportive environment for collaboration between universities and businesses to enable them to accelerate the commercialisation of new and applied technologies.
The latest company to have taken space is Altair – a leading global provider of engineering technology and services.
“Our unrivalled experience in working with manufacturers to minimise the weight of their products has proved invaluable to our clients in the South West. Our recent relocation, placing us alongside the National Composites Centre, of which Altair is a partner organisation, as well as the Park’s network of innovative science and technology businesses provides the perfect situation for Altair’s continued growth plans,” said Paul Kirkham, manager of Altair’s Bristol Office.
The Park has hosted several high profile people since opening, including Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at the Work Foundation and government ministers including Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, David Willetts and Michael Fallon. It has also hosted major events including The Manufacturing Summit, organised by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Venturefest – an event for early stage technology businesses.
The Duke of Gloucester was taken on a tour of the Park as part of the anniversary celebrations, which included introductions to key stakeholders in the project, tenants of the Park and representatives from the University of Bath and the University of the West of England. It was followed by a tour of the National Composites Centre, which is based at the Science Park.
As part of his visit, The Duke was presented with a gift from the Science Park – a Crookes radiometer which is a glass bulb containing metal paddles that spin when powered by sunlight. A five metre high chandelier, created by artist Luke Jerram, made up of 700 Crookes radiometers is suspended from the ceiling in the Park’s Forum.
The Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of George V and cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. He is particularly interested in architecture and conservation and is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).