From super materials to super-speed, there are many reasons the West of England is the powerhouse of the South West
The West of England is highly regarded for its business strengths, well-qualified workforce, leading academic research and an excellent quality of life. Made up of Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, the sub-region contributes around a quarter of the South West?s economic output.
The West of England is one of only six Science City Regions of England recognised by UK government for outstanding achievement in world-class scientific research and innovation in academic and industrial sectors. Over 22% of the workforce in the West of England is employed in knowledge-intensive jobs and, alongside well-established expertise in aerospace, silicon design and creative industries, has an expanding presence of growth businesses including bioscience and environmental technologies.
The West of England economy is supported by some of the best-quality university education and research in the UK. The brainpower of the area?s four universities makes the West of England the fourth most powerful research environment in England. Cutting-edge engineering collaboration between industry and academia has inspired a range of projects.
In recognition of the existing expertise and potential development in advanced and materials engineering, the West of England was recently chosen as the location for the new £16m National Composites Centre. This project, led by the University of Bristol, UK government and leading industry partners, is anticipated to be fully operational by April 2011 and will provide a purpose-built environment that will deliver world-class innovation in the design and rapid manufacture of composite materials.
At the cutting-edge of advanced engineering, Central Bristol?s Harbourside has become the new home for the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car. The Bloodhound team, originating at the University of the West of England, is building the most technologically advanced Land Speed Record car, aiming to reach 1,000 mph and inspire a new generation of engineers, mathematicians and scientists.
University and business collaboration continues to generate strong commercial spin-outs in the West of England, assisted by the SET Squared incubation centres located in Bath and Bristol. The Innovation Centre at Bath University is a hotbed of technological activity and innovation, and has supported an estimated 65 companies and generated £10m and 160 jobs for the Bath economy since 2003. It is the focal point for key South West regional networks for high-growth innovation including Silicon Southwest, which supports Europe?s premier cluster of semiconductor and wireless design start-ups.
To further enhance the business environment for innovating companies, Bristol and Bath Science Park (SPark) will provide a vital new resource for supporting technology and knowledge exchange. An extra £10m has recently been announced for SPark, in preparation for work to start on site in spring 2010. Once complete, SPark will bring over 6,000 skilled Research & Development jobs, in over 77,000 sq m (820,000 sq ft) of new research facilities on the 22 hectare site. SPark will be one of the largest science parks in the country offering a state-of-the-art environment for science and technology businesses, including test-bed facilities, laboratories, flexible office space and semi-industrial workspace.
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Added the 28 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1