Today, we have Tom Beasley with us, Head of the Bristol & Bath Science Park. Opened in 2011, the Bristol & Bath Science Park (BBSP) is a multi-million pound state of the art centre for innovation in the heart of the South West that has supported some of the region’s hottest science and technology companies, including Hieta Technologies, whose impressive advanced technology centre lets you 3D-print custom metal parts and electronic product design consultancy Cubik Innovation.

“Virtual tenancy is the fastest growing and easiest way to join the Science Park community”

 

As big supporters of the South West’s innovative community, they’re now rocking gold sponsorship at the SPARKies 2017 tech and digital awards. So, right in the thick of it, we caught up with the science park’s Head and SPARKies judge Tom Beasley (pictured in main image, above), to get the lowdown on what’s happening at the centre and how you can get involved.

TechSPARK: What is the Bristol & Bath Science Park innovation centre and what is it for?

Tom Beasley: The Bristol & Bath Science Park Innovation Centre offers flexible office space for science and technology based businesses to grow and develop their technology and intellectual property while taking advantage of a local tech and science cluster. The Innovation Centre is attractive to both startup, scaling and established businesses as they can take advantage of informal support, extensive local networks and a vibrant business community at the Science Park.

TS: How did it come to exist?

TB: The Innovation Centre opened in September 2011, and was heavily supported by the Regional Development Agency and the University of Bath, University of Bristol and University of the West of England. This support and links continue along with the support of the local authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.

“The Grow-On space is attractive to … [those] who want to work more in a more agile and progressive way”

 

TS: What’s the idea of the Grow-On centre?

TB: The Grow-On centre offers tenants the opportunity to further establish themselves at the Science Park, occupy more space and have the opportunity to lease space for a longer period. The Grow-On space is attractive to both quickly scaling businesses and established large businesses who want to work more in a more agile and progressive way.

TS: What facilities, companies and expertise are at the science park for tenants to draw on?

TB: The Science Park is particularly attractive to those organisations already working with key tenants supporting research such as the National Composites Centre and The Centre for Modelling and Simulation.

Expertise on offer: CFMS hosting its knowledge-sharing scheme within its office at BBSP

 

Whilst traditionally there has been an aerospace bias, increasingly this is widening into other sectors who are looking to exploit high-value composites manufacturing and high-value design.

TS: What is a virtual tenant?

TB: Virtual tenancy is the fastest growing and easiest way to join the Science Park community. We offer tenants more than just an office address and a telephone number, providing informal hot desking, flexible use of tenant only areas and discounts on meeting rooms. Virtual tenants tend to be smaller businesses, consultants and startups with many going on to occupy physical space at the Science Park.

“As many as 30% of our tenants have worked with another tenant at some point”

 

TS: Do you help to integrate the science, tech, engineering and digital startups who come to you into the Bristol and Bath tech sector? 

TB: What we try to create is an environment in which tenants work together and meet each other without too much direct involvement. We also have a regular tenant networking event and make introductions.

One of the major attractions of the Science Park is the clustering effect and as many as 30% of our tenants have worked with another tenant at some point.

TS: What’s next for the Bristol and Bath Science Park Innovation Centre?

TB: We have plans for further Grow-On space and expect a number of Innovation Centre tenants will wish to take advantage of the opportunity this provides. As a result we expect further space to become available in the Innovation Centre.

In the next few months we plan to survey tenants to better understand what matters most to them and what has the most positive effect on their business.

To stay tuned with the growth of BBSP and potential availability of space in its Innovation Centre and Grow-On space, check out the BBSP website or follow them on Twitter here: @bbsciencepark.

 

Alice Whale