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University announces major investment for Science and Innovation Park – University of Reading

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University announces major investment for Science and Innovation Park

Release Date 15 July 2013

Computer model of the Science and Innovation Park

The University of Reading has announced its commitment to develop a new Science and Innovation Park at the heart of the Thames Valley with an investment of up to £50 million to establish the site infrastructure and phase one construction.

The University's Science and Innovation Park will play a key role in driving the region's knowledge economy, targeting technology-led companies seeking both a strategic location and access to the high-quality research and graduate support provided by the University.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "The University of Reading's commitment to invest in a new Science and Innovation Park underlines the vital contribution this University makes to the Thames Valley's position as one of the most successful economic sub-regions in Europe. The provision of dedicated facilities and services will provide a platform for the regional knowledge economy to thrive.

"There is a substantial market in the region for such a facility, with no dedicated science park currently operating in the Thames Valley or London. We expect strong demand from both UK and international companies seeking a prominent Thames Valley location, while the Science Park will also be the natural choice for London-based companies that are looking for space to expand as well as emergent Thames Valley SMEs."

"Last week, the government published  the initial findings of a review led by Sir Andrew Witty which placed the UK's world-leading universities at the heart of local and national economic growth. Reading is a shining example and the Science and Innovation Park will reinforce our position as one of the most forward-looking and entrepreneurial universities in the country."

The University of Reading has well-established experience in running specialist facilities for the commercial Research and Development market. It currently operates dedicated facilities on its Whiteknights campus for 80 knowledge-based companies employing over 750 people. The University's Reading Enterprise Centre and the Science and Technology Centre are purpose-built business facilities linked to the University's renowned research specialisms and a ready-made talent pool. The campus is also home to R&D facilities for Mondelez (formerly Kraft).

The new Science and Innovation Park will be close to London and Heathrow, as well as the many clusters of successful knowledge businesses based in the Thames Valley. This privileged location is allied to a first class regional transport infrastructure, underpinned by the recent £1 billion investment in Reading Station, and will make the Science Park a strategic location for business investment.

Wokingham Borough Council granted the University planning permission to develop phase one of the Science Park in 2010.  The University of Reading, in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council, has secured an investment of almost £25 million for the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road, a key infrastructure development to underpin access to the Science and Innovation Park as well as the Shinfield West housing development.

Councillor David Lee, Leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: "We welcome this great news that the University is making such a significant investment in the Science and Innovation Park. The development will bring major employment to the borough in the form of many high-value, skilled jobs and build on our reputation as a great place to do business."

The Science and Innovation Park will be constructed on a University-owned site in Shinfield, alongside the M4. Phase one of the development will create 150,000 - 200,000 sq ft in three multi-tenanted office and laboratory buildings, including a Gateway building. The project will be under the single ownership of the University of Reading.

The University's governing body has approved an initial investment of £25 million to create the site infrastructure and first three buildings, followed by a further £25 million, in time, to complete phase one. The Science and Innovation Park is a long-term development and is likely to take 20-25 years to be fully developed.

Businesses interested in more information on the Science Park should contact David Gillham, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Reading, on 0118 378 8978.

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