An artist’s impression of the courtyard of the Environment and Sustainability Institute - a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rated building.

Major investments will help businesses thrive

Innovation is at the core of three major new projects, collectively worth over £50 million, and all designed to help businesses thrive in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond.

Hundreds of jobs will be created with the launch of the Cornwall Campus based Academy for Innovation and Research (AIR) and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), both of which will work closely with the brand new Tremough Innovation Centre (TIC) on neighbouring land.

The three facilities have all received millions of pounds of ERDF Convergence investment. They will act as a vital hub for business opportunities springing from knowledge generation in a pioneering collaboration between higher education providers, Cornwall Council and the private sector.

University College Falmouth’s £10 million AIR project will concentrate on the digital economy and sustainable design, while the University of Exeter’s ESI will lead cutting-edge research into the consequences of environmental change.

The TIC will provide ideal incubation space for young and dynamic businesses to grow and thrive. The TIC is the second of three innovation centres being launched in Cornwall, with the first, the Pool Innovation Centre (PIC), having surpassed all targets in its first year. The operator for the innovation centre is Plymouth University who are hoping to replicate their success in managing the PIC.

The project is being led by Cornwall Council with investment from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence Programme and the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency).

Professor Anne Carlisle, Rector and Chief Executive of University College Falmouth, said: “It is essential that the new product and service opportunities that our research programmes will stimulate have a seamless connection with business incubation facilities to maximise the economic impact. Having the Tremough Innovation Centre so close provides University College Falmouth with another important link to Cornwall’s business community.”

The ESI and AIR will lead research into some of the most important issues of the day, ranging from the development of new clean technologies to creative responses to an aging population. In addition to translating this research into innovative business practice, new products and services for existing companies, it is anticipated that these projects will themselves generate innovative business start-ups.

Professor Mark Overton of the University of Exeter said: “Having the ESI right on their doorstep will enable local businesses to access and take advantage of our world-class expertise, equipment and facilities. We look forward to developing close working relationships with businesses at the Tremough Innovation Centre.”

The close proximity of the three facilities will provide a fantastic resource for local businesses, offering access to world-class expertise, cutting-edge technology and flexible state-of-the-art business facilities, all in one location.

Chris Ridgers, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “It’s thrilling to see this sort of development going ahead in the knowledge economy in Cornwall. We have top class international institutions working here and the knowledge that comes out of these exciting new projects can be developed into innovative business opportunities at the Tremough Innovation Centre.”

The Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) is a £10 million investment to support University College Falmouth’s collaborative research programme with businesses. AIR will focus on two areas for research: the ‘Digital Economy’, with a particular emphasis on innovation in superfast broadband applications and ‘Sustainable Design’, the application of contemporary design methods and emerging technologies to support financial and environmental sustainability.

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) is a £30 million interdisciplinary centre, leading cutting-edge research into the consequences of environmental change and the management and mitigation of its effects around three main themes – ‘clean technologies’, ‘the natural environment’ and ‘social science and sustainability’.

Both ESI and AIR are based at the Cornwall Campus, which is jointly owned and managed by the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth.

The Tremough Innovation Centre (TIC), owned by Cornwall Council, is being developed on land immediately adjacent to the Cornwall Campus and will provide high quality accommodation and support for up to 70 businesses.

Date: 12 September 2011

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