Bristol & Bath Science Park and Northern Ireland Science Park share ideas
A high profile business delegation from Northern Ireland visited Bristol recently to find out more about the development of the Bristol & Bath Science Park.
The visitors from the Northern Ireland Science Park and government advisors were interested in knowing how the Park in Bristol had factored in the goal of fostering open innovation in the design of its first buildings for early stage companies and industry and academic collaborations. The visitors also met with key industry partners of the National Composites Centre to understand how they approached the same challenge with established multinational corporations.
The chief executive of the Northern Ireland Science Park is planning to open a similar ‘Open Innovation Institute’ and wanted to get an insight into the recent developments in Bristol.
The delegation was particularly keen to find out how careful design of physical spaces, both indoors and outdoors, can create a culture of open innovation and what else can to be done to encourage science and technology businesses to collaborate.
Bonnie Dean, chief executive at the Bristol & Bath Science Park said:
“In the true spirit of open innovation, we are more than happy to share our learning with other science parks nationally and internationally and I am sure we have much to discover ourselves as we develop out the Park here.
“The Northern Ireland Science Park is very successful in its own right and the new open innovation institute is an exciting new phase in its development. They have an opportunity to benchmark on a global basis and we are delighted that the Bristol & Bath Science Park is one of the locations they selected to visit.”
As well as serviced office space, high bandwidth, excellent communications and conference facilities, Bristol & Bath Science Park tenants have the use of The Forum, a striking glass-fronted communal area, available for networking and food and refreshments, which is also open to the public and other businesses.
Only seven months after opening, the Park is already home to 18 businesses and recent tenant surveys show the opportunities for collaboration created at the Park are one of the aspects they most value.
The Northern Irish visit came as the Bristol & Bath Science Park scooped a second national award for ‘Engineering Excellence’ for its infrastructure, following being named recently as the ‘Best Commercial Workplace’ in the region, in the prestigious British Council of Offices Awards.
The Northern Ireland Science Park was established in Belfast in 1999 and is now home to 1,500 people in 100+ companies, including SAP, Intel and BroadSoft. Six of the planned twelve buildings envisaged on the 24-acre (97,000 m2) site are now occupied, including an Innovation Centre for small tech firms and start-ups, the Queen's University Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technologies, as well as larger companies, all of whom are committed to high levels of Research and Development and to the employment of knowledge workers.