County Durham Development Company (CDDC) is encouraging innovation and strategic investment in the county on behalf of Durham County Council
It is also playing a central role in shaping the county?s future economic profile through its management and marketing of NETPark, the North East Technology Park at Sedgefield.
The highly successful NETPark is the North East?s premier science, engineering and technology park and epitomises County Durham?s positive approach to the future. As CDDC?s director of innovation development, Catherine Johns, says: ?At CDDC we recognise that the County?s economic future depends on driving innovation and harnessing the region?s intellectual power.
?We?re currently overseeing a shift in investment priorities based on the need to create and exploit knowledge and build the physical infrastructure. ?NETPark is a key component ? an attractive physical location that also encourages innovation in technologies, processes and products.? The NETPark Incubator?s adaptable mix of laboratory and office space quickly attracted some of the most advanced technology companies in the region.
Its strengths include an extremely high-quality environment, land available for easy expansion to encourage companies to stay, and links to worldclass research in all five universities throughout the North East of England. State-of-the-art facilities and tailored business support are also part of the package. Catherine Johns adds: ?Companies were drawn to NETPark because it?s the ideal environment in which to thrive as part of a like-minded community.?
NETPark Incubator ? an adaptable mix of laboratory and office space
And the Incubator is only one element of what Catherine describes as ?a unique combination? of university research centres, spin-out businesses and high-tech companies. For companies needing investment space or looking to expand on site with minimum disruption, Helios City is constructing NETPark?s Innovation Village ? five bespoke R&D ?NETPods? which can be fitted out to company specifications.
The NETPark Research Institute houses two worldclass research groups from Durham University. The Centre for Advanced Instrumentation creates advanced astronomical instrumentation for major telescopes around the world. The Semiconductor Crystal Growth and Ceramics Group ?grows? large-diameter crystals to develop high-energy, colour X-ray imaging. Technology developed from this research is currently being commercialised by Kromek, also based at NETPark.
NETPark is also home to the £9.5m Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC). Managed by the Centre for Process Innovation, this national flagship centre for the development of plastic electronics technologies will put the region at the forefront of revolutionary technologies that independent forecasts predict will be a £16 billion industry by 2015. Plastic electronics applications include the next generation of thin flexible display monitors and televisions, the development of low-energy organic lighting, low-cost flexible solar cells and even disposable small-scale technology for children?s toys and medical devices.
These developments make NETPark one of the fastest-growing science and technology parks in the UK. They will increase the impact NETPark is having on the drive to develop the region?s knowledgebased economy and attract and nurture high-tech businesses in sectors which will experience rapid growth in the future. Catherine Johns continues: ?We want to see the County?s companies growing and competing with the best in the world ? leading the way in developing world-class technologies that create new products and new markets.
?Innovation can be the route to increased quality, increased productivity, and increased profit for all types of business. We believe that in NETPark we have the ideal vehicle to drive innovation. ?NETPark can encourage the growth of R&D activity in the region and help persuade the region?s graduates that the North East can offer a wide range of high-quality employment opportunities.?
To find out more about NETPark and other business opportunities in County Durham, contact:
Director of Innovation Development
Tel: +44 (0) 191 370 8689
or visit www.uknetpark.net
Added the 16 September 2008 in category Innovation UK Vol4-1