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UWE Bristol's Future Space a winner for tech

The business workspace for science and tech companies has seen its residents go from strength to strength in the last year

Posted by Charley Rogers | September 25, 2017 | Higher education

Future Space, the unique business workspace for science and technology-led companies, has exceeded its targets 12 months after opening its doors at the Frenchay Campus of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

One year on, Future Space now has 27 companies, around 130 staff, and is more than 60% occupied. 

With its range of dedicated, shared and co-working offices, labs, workshops, cafe, engagement spaces and meeting rooms, Future Space is designed to boost innovation, collaboration and inspiration. 

The 4,100 sq m facility is expected to enable the creation of over 500 new jobs and generate more than £50m for the local economy.

UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve West, said, “Future Space is a fantastic addition to UWE Bristol and we are delighted to see so many businesses choosing to base themselves here since it opened 12 months ago. 

“We are a ‘real world’ university, committed to giving students the skills they need to be work-ready, and playing a key role in helping to drive innovative business growth and ultimately the creation of new jobs. The West of England has the most successful economy of any region outside of London and is internationally recognised for its creativity and innovation. The region is also unique for its culture of collaboration between the public and private sectors and academia, and Future Space is a shining example of this. It’s a fantastic environment, with the businesses, students and research community all benefitting from the collaborative and entrepreneurial culture here.”

Future Space Centre Director Elaine McKechnie said, “Our intention is to become the number one location for science and technology businesses in the UK. The opportunity to work closely with UWE Bristol’s research community alongside like-minded businesses and industry partners, with access to fantastic laboratory facilities and flexible workspaces, make Future Space a compelling proposition for forward-thinking start-ups and SMEs.”

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “The West of England Combined Authority’s vision for the region is to build on our strengths as a leader in innovation, high tech and creativity and continue to provide the support and conditions to nurture successful businesses. In just 12 months, Future Space is already showing that it can play a part in delivering this vision alongside other key players - it is proving to be a thriving place for science and technology businesses, offering the facilities they need and dynamic, collaborative working environment.”

The expansion and growth of Future Space companies includes:

-          Open Bionics, which creates low cost robotic prosthetic hands, and Reach Robotics

-          Bristol-based Esoterix Systems specialises in demand responsive software for transport providers and was one of the first companies to join. The company works with UWE Bristol as one of its key partners, and is now expanding further.

-          HBXL are the market leader in construction software for small to medium sized businesses. They have worked in partnership with UWE Bristol to further develop their product range.

-          Japanese company, TMSUK, a robot development company will launch their UK base at Future Space in October.

-          Rugged Interactive is the latest firm to join Future Space, in order to expand its commercial team and build links within Bristol's flourishing tech community.

-          Pertinax Pharma was the first lab-based company to move into Future Space. Pertinax is a patent-protected, sustained-release technology for chlorhexidine, a common antiseptic.

-          Innaxon is a research-stage biomedical company investigating treatments for cancer and inflammatory diseases, based in shared laboratory space at Future Space.

Future Space is part of the University Enterprise Zone led by UWE Bristol, with support from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Future Space has been developed in collaboration with the LEP and the University of Bristol with strong support from South Gloucestershire Council, the University of Bath and the West of England Academic Health Science Network.

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