Work is well underway to create a state-of-the-art science park which will help place Wiltshire firmly at the forefront of science and defence technology industries.
The first phase of the multi-million pound Porton Science Park near Salisbury has now commenced and will deliver a new science incubator and grow-on space for science and technology businesses. It will promote collaboration and house new businesses, providing a facility for the creation of innovative products and spin out companies, in line with the Government’s industrial strategy.
Investment for the £9.5m first phase has come from the government’s local growth fund secured by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), the European Regional Development Fund and Wiltshire Council.
The park will be situated alongside the established research institutions of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Public Health England (PHE) Porton, providing opportunities for sharing expertise and research. It will play a critical role in achieving the vision of Wiltshire Council and the SWLEP for the life science and defence technology sectors in the region, supporting the strategy to become a world class cluster of expertise and activity. This strategy is aligned with the growing Army presence and investment in defence technologies in south Wiltshire particularly the return of Army personnel from Germany as part of the Army Basing Programme and the new investment at Dstl and Qinetiq Boscombe Down.
The first phase is set to open in October 2017, supporting jobs and numerous start-ups to create successful businesses in science and technology. The development is aimed at attracting investment from both the UK and international science technology promoters connected with the science, defence and security matters that exist at Porton.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “This science park will provide a platform for science and technology innovation and new business start- ups. Creating modern space here in our county for science and defence technologies places Wiltshire firmly on the map and strengthens our status as a great place to do business. This means more high skilled local jobs and is more good news for Wiltshire’s economy.”
Salisbury MP John Glen said: “The Science Park will be the opening chapter of a new set of opportunities for Porton Down. It will help to fully realise the enormous commercial potential that exists within the Dstl, PHE and wider scientific communities in this area and provide a world-class facility for life-sciences.”
John Mortimer, Chairman of the SWLEP said “Our area has a strong legacy in scientific research and development and the SWLEP aims to strengthen its growth and competitive edge. Life Sciences is a priority sector for the SWLEP and by investing in the Porton Science Park, we are supporting specialised development to generate new jobs and mark the area’s growth into a competitive cluster of science and research companies.”
Jonathan Lyle, Chief Executive of Dstl said: “Dstl is pleased to be working with Wiltshire Council on this key project. At Dstl we have a strong track record of working with entrepreneurs to help protect our Armed Forces and the British public, and the new science park can only strengthen these relationships and help create a world-leading science and technology hub in South Wiltshire.”