Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the Science Park site to confirm the significant investment.

Prime Minister announces £10 million for Exeter Science Park

The Prime Minister has announced a major boost to Exeter’s cutting-edge weather and climate research, with a £10million cash injection for the Exeter Science Park.

David Cameron yesterday (January 29) visited the Science Park site to confirm the investment, as part of a £65.2 million cash pot. It is the result of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s agreement to expand its Growth Deal with the Government, The additional money will be invested in the region between 2016 and 2021.

The £10 million for Exeter Science Park will be split across two projects. £6million will help establish the Global Environmental Futures campus. This will provide business incubation space for companies with an interest in environmental data, alongside collaboration space and the Met Office’s new IT hall, which will house the new £97 million supercomputer - one of the most powerful in Europe. The development will create 158 jobs and 30,000 feet of innovation space. It will further enhance the close working relationship between internationally-renowned academics from the University and the Met Office, and facilitate innovative research into some of the greatest environmental challenges of today.

The remaining £4million will fund Stage 2 of the Science Park Centre, including additional space. It will accommodate businesses which have evolved or outgrown the incubation space within Stage 1 (which is currently under construction), supporting 200 jobs and providing 30,000 square feet of floor space.

Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Exeter, said: “Exeter is already firmly on the map for climate and weather research, thanks to the close partnership between the University and the Met Office. The Global Environmental Futures Campus is an exciting opportunity not only to enhance our collaborative research activities, allowing further breakthroughs, but will also increase the academic interaction with business to support innovation and boost the impact of our research. This will have wider economic benefits for the knowledge economy across the South West.” 

David Cameron said: “Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all.”

He said ensuring the money was in the control of a partnership of local community, business and civic leaders means it will go on the things that “really matter to people and businesses” in the area. “That is what Growth Deals are all about, backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for hardworking people and supercharge all parts of our country.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “A quiet revolution is underway in Somerset, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and across the country, as Growth Deals signal the death of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots. I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give this region more power over skills, over business support, over infrastructure spending.

"I am delighted to announce the expansion of the Heart of the South West Growth Deal today.”

The Heart of the South West Growth Deal is part of a long term plan to devolve at least £12 billion from central government to local economies. The plan aims for every part of the country to be a motor of growth for the national economy – building on the strength of the Heart of the South West.

It was also announced this week that a review of the South West’s strengths in life sciences is to be carried out by Professor Sir Mark Walport, the government Chief Scientist and Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer.

Professor Nick Talbot FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University said: “We have enormous strength in life sciences at the University of Exeter and look forward to actively participating in this review. This presents the South West with a considerable opportunity to build on its world leading reputation in life sciences and to translate that into wealth creation opportunities across the region”.

 

Date: 30 January 2015

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