22 April 2024

New state of the art Collaborative Innovation Centre officially opens at Porton Down

A new £9.9 million Collaborative Innovation Centre built at Porton Science Park in Salisbury officially opened today, Friday 30 June 2023.

The carbon neutral centre is designed to facilitate greater collaboration between academia and the health and life sciences and defence technology sectors.

With new offices, wet and dry laboratories and bespoke facilities it provides companies with the opportunity to grow. Smaller businesses and visiting researchers, academics and entrepreneurs can benefit from using the meeting spaces to exchange ideas, knowledge and skills and help encourage stronger collaboration between organisations.

The new building was officially opened by Jonathan Lyle CB FREng, a former Chief Executive at the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) whose support, direction, energy and drive were indispensable in bringing to life the notion of a science park at Porton Down. The Collaborative Innovation Centre has been named The Lyle Building in honour of Jonathan Lyle’s significant contribution towards the creation of the science park.

Jonathan Lyle said: “I am delighted to be associated with this next step in the development of the Porton Science Park. It’s a great example of bold collaboration between Government laboratories, local Government and business to facilitate innovation and economic prosperity in Wiltshire.”

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Porton Science Park is going from strength to strength which reflects the vital role it plays in supporting the unique science and technology expertise at Porton Down.

“The first phase of developing the site was completed in 2018 when The Beech-Allen Building opened and now we have completed phase two with the opening of The Lyle Building. The science park has the capacity to expand further, and we will work with our main campus partners, Dstl and UKHSA to attract additional investment in the future.

“This new facility will bring more highly skilled jobs and the brightest and best talent to Porton Science Park helping us to realise a key aim of having a thriving economy and the ability to attract and retain high value businesses and jobs. We are proud of all that has been achieved at the science park.”

John Glen MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Member of Parliament for Salisbury, said, “It is hugely exciting to see the Collaborative Innovation Centre come to fruition.

“Porton Down deservedly has an international reputation for the quality and expertise of the people who work there.

“The more opportunities we can create for these brilliant scientists to share, develop and commercialise their ideas, the more attractive Porton Down will become as a crucible for success.”

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is working closely with Wiltshire Council to use a section of the Lyle Building for a new Innovation Hub; this Hub will allow Dstl to engage with potential suppliers ‘outside the wire’ to assess technologies of interest and undertake collaborative work on key defence technology challenges.

Linda Knutson is head of Dstl’s Exploration Division and said: “The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Dstl both recognise the importance of non-traditional and SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) suppliers in developing our generation-after-next high potential concepts for defence and security – the Dstl Innovation Hub is a significant step towards accessing these resources. We are excited about this new space which has been designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind.”

The Lyle Building was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Wiltshire Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).

Paddy Bradley MBE, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership added: “The SWLEP encourages and supports collaboration in everything it does. The new Innovation Hub, in particular, will enable entrepreneurs and SME innovators to work with larger businesses and highly skilled researchers to develop commercially viable products and services. This new facility will strengthen the capabilities of our area and that of the entire South West.”

Written by
Niamh Cunningham
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Written by Niamh Cunningham