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Construction progress celebrated at steel signing ceremony
The latest stage of construction at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus has been marked with a special ceremony.
Funders, university staff, community stakeholders and industry representatives gathered for a steel signing ceremony on Monday 12 November 2018 at Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus.
The event marked the completion of the steel frame for the new Campus’s Seed Biobank.
Guests were invited to sign a steel beam, which was then lifted into place by a crane to become a permanent part of the structure of the building.
Speaking at the event, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “Even before completion, the Campus is very much open for business, acting as a magnet for business and university collaboration and co-location. The steel signing ceremony marks an exciting milestone in the timeline of our Campus build, and provides an opportunity for everyone to see the fantastic progress that has already been made on site. The development will provide a superb home for new businesses and partnerships, building on some well-established industrial collaborations and attracting new ones to Wales.”
There has been rapid progress over the last few months, with the preparation of the site’s foundations for the Seed Biobank and Biorefining Centre now complete.
The principal contractor, Willmott Dixon, has also been busy diverting services and erecting the steel structure of the initial Campus buildings.
The £40.5m development will foster collaboration between business and academia, providing world-leading facilities and expertise for the food and drink, biotechnology and agri-tech sectors, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation - and Aberystwyth University.
Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “As we celebrate progress, we are now focussed on how the new Campus facilities will support the business community and the university in collaborations that will see new products and services brought to market. Our door is now truly open for those exciting discussions.”
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will also house an Analytical Science Centre and a Future Food Centre, and will be fully operational by the summer of 2020.
Once open, the Campus will build on the existing capabilities within Aberystwyth University’s institutes, working particularly closely with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to facilitate enhanced access to the excellent research capabilities currently offered as well as shaping future translational research priorities.
Willmott Dixon have been working with Ceredigion County Council to provide work placements and apprenticeship opportunities to young people in the area.
Neal Stephens, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon said: “Today was a great event to celebrate the fantastic progress made so far, but our work extends beyond the buildings that we build. We want to leave a positive and lasting impact in the community. This is why we are working with the Council and other providers to offer opportunities for young people and the long term unemployed. While we are here, we want to ensure that the project benefits as many people as possible.”
One of the existing buildings, which will form part of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Camps on the Gogerddan site, has already been refurbished to a high standard and provides over 300m2 of rentable office accommodation to the business community.
The facility has been modernised to cater specifically for companies wishing to co-locate with leading researchers in the biosciences and agri-tech sectors.