AberInnovation, Aberystwyth University and NatWest join forces to give entrepreneurs a boost

08/10/2019
Ben Jones

Aberystwyth University and AberInnovation have joined forces with NatWest to help aspiring local entrepreneurs, by launching a satellite version of the bank’s Pre-Accelerator programme.

The programme, which is open to entrepreneurs with an early-stage idea or those that have just started their own business, aims to benefit both students and local businesses.

Part of NatWest’s successful Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, the Pre-Accelerator is a digital programme supported by face-to-face events. Fully funded by the bank, participants do not need to bank with NatWest to take part.

During the programme, which launches on December 4 with an Ignition event at the University, entrepreneurs will have access to 12 digital modules to help empower them with the skill sets they will need to develop their business proposition.

Last year more than 6,000 businesses throughout the UK took part in one of NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programmes, 47% of whom were women. In total these businesses have attracted more than £31m in investment and funding.

Tony Orme, Aberystwyth University’s entrepreneurship champion, said:  “We are delighted to be working with NatWest to bring this flagship programme to Aberystwyth. Only delivered in major UK cities until now, we are very pleased to be hosting the programme on Penglais Campus, and look forward to welcoming budding entrepreneurs from the local community as well as our own enterprising students.” 

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer of AberInnovation, said:  “The NatWest Pre-accelerator programme appeals to entrepreneurs and early stage companies in the agri-sciences wishing to explore getting investor-ready. The programme adds to our support for individuals with great ideas who could additionally benefit from the new facilities at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, to help them accelerate their products and services to market.”

James Powell, NatWest Regional Entrepreneur Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Aberystwyth University to launch a satellite version of our hugely successful Pre-Accelerator Programme at the University. This is a fantastic opportunity for local entrepreneurs who have a great business idea that they want to bring to life or those that have just started a business.”

Aberystwyth named Welsh University of the Year

20/09/2019
Ben Jones

Aberystwyth University has been named Welsh University of the Year for 2020 by The Times / The Sunday Times Good Unviersity Guide.

This latest accolade means the University has been recognised by The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide for three years running.

In September 2018 Aberystwyth was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality, and in doing so became the first university to receive the award two years in succession.

The latest edition of The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide is published on Sunday 22 September 2019 and sees Aberystwyth ranked 2nd in the UK for Student Experience and for Teaching Quality.

Overall, Aberystwyth has climbed three places to 45th, consolidating its status amongst the top 50 universities in the country.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “Twice a winner of our award for University of the Year for Teaching Quality, Aberystwyth this year scoops the national prize for Wales. This will come as no surprise to its students, who have rated it the best in Wales for teaching quality and the wider student experience for the past four years. It was the standout candidate to be the Welsh University of the Year for 2020.

"The university has climbed around 50 places in our UK rankings in recent times, a transformation that is being consolidated by an ambitious capital spending programme. The gold award won by Aber in the Teaching Excellence Framework praised the outstanding levels of stretch in its degree programmes, challenging students to achieve their full potential. A library refurbishment and a refit of the arts centre has helped keep student facilities at the cutting edge and further improvements, such as the new Innovation and Enterprise Campus, are in the pipeline for next year, which should keep the university challenging for honours well into the future.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “This is wonderful news and I am delighted that the hard work of colleagues across the University has now been recognised for three years running. To be announced as Welsh University of the Year after being University of the Year for Teaching Quality for two successive years is no mean feat and I would like to thank everyone here at Aberystwyth University for their contribution towards making this happen. As we embark on a new academic year, the work to develop and enrich the student experience continues as we empower our students to unlock their potential as independent learners as well as to benefit from all other aspects of university life. As Welsh University of the Year we build on our rich heritage and national commitment to education as we welcome students and staff from Wales, the United Kingdom and across the world.”

Dhanjeet Ramnatsing, President of Aberystwyth University’s Students Union said: “It comes as no surprise to students that Aberystwyth University has been recognised as Welsh University of the Year for 2020. We have clearly witnessed a transformation in Aberystwyth over the past few years. Aberystwyth University has worked hard for this achievement and it clearly shows that our University is moving in a positive direction. We hope that the University will continue to be recognised in future; prospective students have projects like the Old College to look forward to as well as new facilities and accommodation such as Pantycelyn which will improve the student experience and ensure that the University continues to be recognised rightfully as one of the best HE institutions in the country.”

Awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), the latest National Student Survey pubished in July 2019 saw Aberystwyth become the top university in England and Wales for overall student satisfaction.

The epitome of consistency, Aberystwyth was also the top university in Wales for student satisfaction for the fourth year running.

Our New Brochure is Live!

12/07/2019
Ben Jones

We've been working in close conjuction with our briefing group leads from the University's Institute of Biological, Environmental, and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to update our brochure and we're delighted to report that this is now live. Available from the website's homepage (and here!), the new brochure offers a great deal of detail and granularity on what the new Campus will offer, especially with regard to capacities, scales and equipment. 

The idea is that this should be able to better inform prospective project partners and collborators - both from the academic and the business community - about the kind of research that can be carried out here. We hope that it piques your interest. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions, or to begin any exploratory discussions. The Seed Biobank is of course fully operational, but we'd also welcome enquiries about projects associated with the upcoming Biorefining Centre, Future Food Centre, or Advanced Analysis Centre.

Nine Aspiring Innovators Pitch to Investors

21/06/2019
Ben Jones

On Thursday 20 June, BioAccelerate 2019 was brought to a close as a panel of investors and industry experts heard pitches from nine aspiring entrepreneurs.

The programme, running for a second year after last year’s success, was an 8-week hands-on business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the bioscience and healthcare sectors across Wales. In a programme that blended workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, participants were given the opportunity to develop their innovations into market-ready propositions.

Hosted at Aberystwyth University’s William Davies Hall, each participant had ten minutes to present, follow by ten minutes of questions from the panel. A wide range of innovations were pitched, including a cloud-based platform for recognising of pests and disease stress on crops in Africa, a novel prebiotic for animal feeds, and indoor vertical aeroponic farm to produce year-round sustainable speciality vegetables.

Following the pitches, participants and the panel convened at the AberInnovation Offices to continue discussions over a networking lunch. Several members of the panel – which included representatives from the Development Bank of Wales, Angels Invest Wales, and from the programme’s sponsors – expressed an interest in deeper discussions with some of the participants, with a view to exploring potential investment opportunities in the future.

Dr. Jade Powell, patent attorney at Greaves Brewster, said: “It was a pleasure to sit on the panel at the final pitch day of BioAccelerate 2019. It was great seeing how all the participants had developed over the course of the programme, and to get a glimpse of some of the exciting innovations being developed in Wales.”

Construction of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus continues to progress well, with the Seed Biobank having been handed over to the University at the end of May 2019 and the Biorefining Centre due by the first week of August 2019. Phase two of the construction will include a Future Food Centre, an Advanced Analysis Centre, and an Innovation Hub. Completion of the whole site is due by August 2020. The new Campus will foster collaboration between academia and industry, with the University’s research acting as a catalyst for innovation and bringing new industry partnerships and jobs to the region. The European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (now part of UKRI), and Aberystwyth University are funding the £40.5m project.

AberInnovation Seed Biobank Now Operational

01/06/2019
Ben Jones

We were delighted to mark a significant milestone in the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus build this month with the handover of the Seed Biobank. On Friday 24 May, Professor Iain Donnison, Head of IBERS, was able to accept the keys to the building on behalf of Aberystwyth University, IBERS, and the AberInnovation Project Board.

The official handover means that this building now officially passes from the contractor’s ownership and responsibility to the University’s. The process of decanting equipment and materials from the existing seed store will now begin, and is due to take two weeks. Leading on this process will be Ben Ling, Dr. Danny Thorogood, and Dr. Lin Huang, supported by AberInnovation project team members.

BioAccelerate Back for its Second Year

23/05/2019
Ben Jones

On Thursday 2 May 2019, the latest BioAccelerate cohort assembled at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) to begin an 8-week business accelerator programme. Following an extensive selection process, ten ambitious innovators were invited to join BioAccelerate’s 2019 cohort.

Now in its second year, BioAccelerate is a business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the biosciences, healthcare, agri-tech and food and drink sectors. The programme will combine interactive workshops with tailored mentoring, equipping each participant with the knowledge and skills to take their innovative ideas forward.

Provided they make it to the end of the programme, participants will get the opportunity to showcase the progress made on their ideas by pitching to a panel of industry experts and business leaders. Specific outcomes to be developed during the course of BioAccelerate 2019 include a business model canvas, financial projections, a defined market opportunity, and a streamlined pitch deck.

Led primarily by investment readiness specialists Nurture Ventures, workshops will also feature successful entrepreneurs sharing their stories with the group, as well as presentations from a range of organisations and sponsors, including Appleyard Lees, Greaves Brewster, ABER Instruments and Menter a Busnes. Topics will include investment finance, R&D tax credits, intellectual property law, and defining a value proposition.

Ben Jones, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “We’re delighted to be able to run this programme again this year. The feedback we received for last year’s programme was overwhelmingly positive and the fact that several individuals from that cohort are now enjoying considerable successes is testament to the value of this accelerator programme. We very much want AberInnovation to be seen as a thriving hub for entrepreneurship and startups and programmes such as BioAccelerate are integral to realising that vision.”

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus aims to help companies at all stages of development in Wales and beyond to realise their ambition and to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, biotechnology and agri-tech sectors.

Bill Poll, Associate Director at BBSRC, said: “As one of the partners investing in the campus, BBSRC are excited to see how AberInnovation is driving the development of a vibrant and thriving innovation community, enabling entrepreneurs and businesses to collaborate with researchers, access specialist facilities and benefit from support networks and programmes such as BioAccelerate”.

The ambitious £40.5m development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (part of UKRI); and by Aberystwyth University.

InvEnterPrize Yields Profitable Harvest for Budding Agri Business

04/04/2019
Ben Jones

A new venture designed to help Colombian farmers improve crop productivity is the winner of the latest edition of Aberystwyth University’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ style student entrepreneurship competition InvEnterPrize.

Developed by an inter-disciplinary team led by PhD student Liliana Castillo from Colombia, Amigrow uses satellite technology and machine learning to assist farmers with decision making.

Along with the 2019 InvEnterPrize title, Amigrow receives £10,000 to invest in the development of the concept to bring it closer to market.

Speaking of the team’s success, Liliana said: “Winning InvEnterPrize is very important to us, there are no words to describe the feeling.”

“This idea started with my experience of agriculture in Colombia. With the support of InvEnterPrize, my team and I look forward to start testing the capabilities of Amigrow. We are going to develop the first prototype and create iterations of it so that we can really know what works and what doesn’t, and produce something meaningful for the farmers so they can take the right decisions at the right time and produce better profit margins.”

Liliana added: “Colombia is a very diverse country, we have very different environments for very different kinds of crops. Initially we are going to start with rice producers as it is very important for feeding people in Colombia and in the world.”

Amigrow was one of 15 entries for InvEnterPrize 2019, and six finalists to present their ideas to the judges on Friday 29 March 2019.

Chair of the judges, Donald Davies, Emeritus Professor in Toxicology at Imperial College London, said: “We are delighted to award InvEnterPrize 2019 to Amigrow and our warmest congratulations to Liliana and her team on their venture.”

“InvEnterPrize is an excellent competition which brings out the best in the students, and this year has proved to be the most difficult to judge with all six finalists delivering excellent presentations. It clearly inspires students here at Aberystwyth University to venture and develop ideas that go beyond what they might normally do. It is so important to sow the seed of an idea that students can develop into a business, and this competition, along with the support the teams receive throughout the year from the University’s Careers service, makes this all possible.”

InvEnterPrize organiser and Aberystwyth University entrepreneurship champion, Tony Orme, said: “The quality of the entries this year has been exceptional and the final proved to be a very close run indeed. We are immensely grateful to our panel of judges for their valuable time and expertise in this year’s search for a winner, and to the University’s alumni who make this competition possible via the Aber Fund. We now look forward to working with Liliana and colleagues on Amigrow, as the concept is developed.”

Amigrow also enjoyed further success at InvEnterPrize 2019 as it won a year’s office space at AberInnovation – the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, a £40.5m development at the Aberystwyth University Gogerddan Campus.

Presented by Dr Rhian Hayward, Chief Executive Officer of AberInnovation, the award was given for the best presentation in the bioscience, agri-tech, and food and drinks sectors.

Now in its 6th year, InvEnterPrize was established to further encourage a culture of entrepreneurship among the University’s students.

The £10,000 prize provided by the University’s alumni via the Aber Fund enables the winner to invest in equipment, facilities or professional services to turn the invention or business start-up idea into reality.

Entrants also had the opportunity to seek expert advice and attend a series of workshops and presentations led by successful entrepreneurs as they developed their final bids, gaining valuable advice on the way.

Aberystwyth University offers a full programme of events to support entrepreneurial activity amongst students, alumni and staff. To find out more visit the AberPreneurs online pages.

The judges for InvEnterPrize 2019 are:
Donald Davies (Chair) - Emeritus Professor in Toxicology at Imperial College London and a Founding Director of ML Laboratories plc (pharmaceuticals), one of the first public biotechnology companies to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Jane Clayton - A qualified practising chartered accountant, Jane is also an experienced non-executive Director. She is currently Chairman of Bay Leisure Limited and Treasurer of St David's Medical Foundation.

Nigel Davies - After graduate and postgraduate studies in Aberystwyth, Nigel worked for 30 years in corporate technology and business. In 2003 he was the founding director of Innoval Technology, which is a UK technology-based consultancy with a global client base.

Huw Morgan - Former Head of Business Banking, HSBC Bank plc, Huw worked for HSBC for the majority of his working life. He was most recently responsible for Business Banking and Franchising for the UK

David Sargen - Managing Partner of Derivatives Risk Solutions LLP, a specialist risk consultancy providing expertise across a broad spectrum of disciplines within the financial industry, with a particular focus on the global derivatives market.

Kerry Diamond - Chair of the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board, which advises the Welsh Government on grant support to business, also a ‎Business Improvement Consultant, and Vice-Chair for Stoke and Staffs Local Enterprise Partnership. Formerly Chief Financial Officer, Zytec - automotive systems - high performance racing cars and road cars.

All six judges are graduates of Aberystwyth University.

South Wales Crucible publishes Science and Innovation report to UK Government

04/04/2019
Ben Jones

A major audit report setting out the research and innovation strengths of Wales has been presented to the UK Government today Friday 8 March 2019.

The Science and Innovation Audit Report has been produced by the South Wales Crucible, which is backed by the Welsh Government and brings together Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea universities, research centres of excellence and internationally significant firms.

Commissioned by Westminster’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the study outlines how the consortium can make positive and lasting steps to help unlock Wales’s innovation-led growth potential.

The report confirms thematic areas that represent nationally and internationally significant capabilities, as well as a strong portfolio of globally competitive science and innovation assets that advance steel innovation, smart manufacturing, health innovation and agricultural-food tech.

The audit of the Agri-Food Tech sector in Wales was led by Aberystwyth University and demonstrates the consortium's globally significant strengths across Agri-Food Tech research.

The report highlights the work carried out by the University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Biological Sciences on crop improvement, animal health and managing Agri-Food waste streams.

The translation of these innovative process and technology developments will result in increased productivity and exports for major producers, and boost the long-term competitiveness of our food and drink processing industry.

The report also highlighted the potential associated with the development of the £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Aberystwyth University.

Due for completion in 2020 and based at the Campus at Gogerddan near Aberystwyth, the new development will provide facilities and expertise to help businesses translate innovations and investments in Agri-Food Tech into new products, processes and services.

Ken Skates, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, said: “In Wales we need a better understanding of how research and innovation drives productivity and growth, so that we can support those areas that provide the greatest opportunity to grow our economy, create jobs and develop skills.

“I see this Audit as part of the evidence base of assets in Wales, which can be exploited to achieve our Government’s priorities. The South Wales economy is becoming more sophisticated and this Audit is a helpful tool to help us understand the current position and what we need to do to move forward. I welcome this Science and Innovation Audit, as it helps us understand the economy of Wales and enables us to plan for future investment.

James Davies, Executive Chair of Industry Wales, said: “The opportunity afforded to us by this Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) is very timely. It is essential that we step forward collectively and confidently to engineer solutions that will enhance our society for common good.

“The South Wales Crucible partnership will focus effort and resource on our specialised areas of excellence and differentiation where we can confidently and assertively lead science and innovation agendas – both for the benefit of Wales and the wider UK.”

Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at Aberystwyth University, said: “The South Wales Crucible Science and Innovation Audit recognises the considerable strengths in research and innovation in Wales and, particularly for Aberystwyth University, our leading role in world-leading Agri-Food Technology.

“At Aberystwyth we continue to build on this strength, with over £50m new investment in cutting-edge science and technology in partnership with industry and government. In conjunction with IBERS, facilities such as the National Plant Phenomics Centre, Pwllpeiran, the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock and new developments such as the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and VetHub 1 veterinary science laboratories, as well as a new cadre of top scientists attracted to the university, will ensure we remain at the forefront of this field.”

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott OBE, Chair of the South Wales Crucible Executive Sponsor Group and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Swansea University, said: “The core University members of our Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) South Wales Crucible consortium – Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea – recognise that we have a vital role to play in transforming the productivity performance of our region and we are constantly striving to make a positive difference at local, national and UK levels.

“Having worked together effectively for many years, we share a common vision of transforming the Welsh economy with world-class science and innovation at its heart.”

Westminster’s Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “We are world-leaders across a range of science and research disciplines, and the SIAs published today show the whole nation contributes to that reputation. From boosting our cyber security strengths in Worcestershire to improving the sustainability of airports led by Brunel University, we have much to be proud about and we are committed to building on these strengths and others in our modern Industrial Strategy through the largest increase in science funding in a generation.”

BioAccelerate 2019 Seeks Ambitious Innovators for 8-week Programme

07/03/2019
Ben Jones

Back for a second year, BioAccelerate is seeking up to twelve budding innovators for its 2019 cohort.

BioAccelerate 2019 is a business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the biosciences, healthcare, agri-tech and food and drink sectors. The programme will help participants develop their innovations into market-ready propositions and will culminate in an opportunity to pitch to a panel of business leaders and industry experts.

A joint initiative between the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and Nurture Ventures, BioAccelerate 2019’s first workshop kicks off on Thursday 2 May 2019. The 8-week programme will blend intensive workshops with hands-on mentoring and support from the programme’s sponsors enables BioAccelerate to be offered free of charge to selected participants. Topics will include investment finance, R&D tax credits, intellectual property law, and defining a value proposition. Each workshop will also feature successful entrepreneurs sharing their stories and offering invaluable advice to participants.

Applications for BioAccelerate 2019 will be open between Monday 4 and Thursday 28 March, when a selection panel will evaluate the Expressions of Interest with the potential for the highest commercial and social impact. Participants who complete the BioAccelerate programme can expect to develop their own business model canvas, financial projections, a defined market opportunity, a prospective company valuation and a pitch deck.

Dr. Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus said: “I am delighted that we can offer BioAccelerate again this year to early stage companies and entrepreneurs. Our 2018 entrepreneurs have gone from strength to strength since last year’s programme and we are looking forward to welcoming another group. The business community engaging with our experts continues to grow rapidly and the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is now well underway in developing networks and connections through BioAccelerate and other initiatives towards a larger cluster.”

The impact of last year’s BioAccelerate is clear to see, with many participants having made stark progress on their businesses since benefitting from the tailored support programme. Four of the previous cohort have since incorporated their companies at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, and continue to access the business support offered.

Jeff Bartlett, founder and director of Nurture Ventures, said: “When we launched BioAccelerate in 2018 we aimed to support our indigenous Welsh innovators with practical hands-on advice, mentoring and learning all focused towards investment readiness. The success of last year’s programme resulted in fully-funded businesses being launched and others continuing to develop their ideas to market readiness. For 2019 we’ve put together an intensive 8 week, interactive programme culminating in a pitch day allowing us to fast track the commercialisation of breakthrough ideas and help to create some standout Wales-based businesses.”

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus aims to help companies at all stages of development in Wales and beyond to realise their ambition and to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, biotechnology and agri-tech sectors. The ambitious £40.5m development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (part of UKRI); and by Aberystwyth University.

Construction progress celebrated at steel signing ceremony

19/11/2018
Ben Jones

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.

Meadery business sets up on Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

04/10/2018
Ben Jones

An ancient drink has been given a modern twist by the first manufacturing company to set up on the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus.

Shire Meadery was established by Benjamin Guscott and Nelson Almeida in early 2018 to produce a contemporary version of mead, an alcoholic drink made with fermented honey.

The idea for the new business became a reality after Benjamin and Nelson met at a student entrepreneur conference in February.

After exploring several options for a base for their meadery, they decided that the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus buildings on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus near Penrhyncoch would be ideal.

Benjamin Guscott, who has a PhD in Biosciences from Aston University, said: “I discovered mead when I was doing my doctorate, but only started making it myself much later. I approached mead-making from a scientific angle, experimenting with the most important components to make something with a much wider appeal than what is currently available. After a lot of testing, I created a formula for a contemporary mead which is less sweet and has a lower alcohol strength than traditional meads.

“We considered several locations for the business including Birmingham, Bristol and Bath. We were looking for somewhere that would not only provide professional support for the scientific aspect of the business but would also offer a beautiful, welcoming and affordable option. The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Gogerddan ticked all the boxes.”

Shire Meadery produced its first bottles of mead in July 2018 and full commercial production is now underway.

Nelson Almeida, who came to Aberystwyth University to study Computer Science, said: “Mead is arguably the oldest alcoholic drink in the United Kingdom and it’s becoming increasingly popular with young people. We have had a lot of support from the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus’s incredibly useful BioAccelerate programme and the University’s AberPreneurs enterprise scheme. The other great aspect about being on a university campus is having so many different innovators around you. There are researchers here from all over the world and it’s a very creative, stimulating environment.”

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “We are delighted that Shire Meadery Ltd has become one of our early start-up companies, taking up tenancy in our fully-furnished office spaces adjacent to the University’s biggest research facility. They join other tenants here in having access to world-leading expertise in the agri-tech and biosciences sectors as well as ample networking opportunities with likeminded innovators. Construction of the main facilities for the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is well underway and we look forward to expanding our community further in the coming months and years.”  

Due for final completion in 2020, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will be a world-class facility which will attract both private and competitive research funding, enabling companies and researchers to undertake collaborative research projects to boost the bio-economy.

The Campus underlines Aberystwyth University’s commitment to greater interdisciplinary research and innovation in a future that is increasingly focussed on cross sector research and development for new products and services.

The £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) – part of UK Research and Innovation; and by Aberystwyth University.

Shionogi Invests in Nemesis Technology

19/07/2018
Ben Jones
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, Nemesis

On 19 June, one of AberInnovation's newest members, Nemesis Bioscience, announced the completion of a seed funding round of £1.4m from a syndicate of new investors including Shionogi & Co Ltd, Coastal International Holdings and Wren Capital in addition to existing investors the Development Bank of Wales and the UK Innovation and Science Fund.

The funds will be used to continue the clinical development of Nemesis Symbiotics – DNA therapeutics that have been proven in preclinical models to reverse antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Nemesis intends to manufacture a suite of Symbiotics to both resurrect existing antibiotics made ineffective by increasing bacterial resistance and to protect newly developed antibiotic assets from stimulating such resistance

Commenting on Shionogi’s support for the technology and commercial plans of Nemesis, Takeshi Shiota, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research Division said, “Shionogi has been watching the progress of Nemesis for a few years now and we have been very impressed with the team, their science and their novel approach to the problem of antibiotic resistance. We are excited to understand the potential for Nemesis Symbiotics in the treatment of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections and in the protection of newly developed antimicrobials from early resistance.”

Nemesis CEO Dr Frank Massam said the company was “delighted that we have been able to attract international support for our novel technology and business approach - and in particular that we will now be able to work with Shionogi - an acknowledged global leader in anti-infective clinical development - as we move forward to market with our first-in-class companion therapeutics

Nine Innovators Pitch as BioAccelerate Draws to a Close

13/07/2018
Ben Jones
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

On Wednesday 5 July, nine ambitious entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and industry experts at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus. The final pitch day marked the end of the 12-week BioAccelerate programme, Wales’ first business accelerator focused on commercialising bioscience and healthcare innovations.

The programme, launched at BioWales 2018 in March, was a hands-on business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the bioscience and healthcare sectors across Wales. In a programme that blended workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, participants were given the opportunity to develop their innovations into market-ready propositions.

Dr. Rhian Hayward, Chief Executive Officer at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “The pitches from entrepreneurs were exciting and polished. I look forward to the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus supporting these new businesses from the Mid Wales locality in their R&D endeavours.” Delivery of the programme was shared between Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and Nurture Ventures, an investment-readiness consultancy based in Port Talbot. Jeff Bartlett, founder of Nurture Ventures, said: “There is a keen appetite for entrepreneurship and innovation in Mid Wales and the success of this accelerator is testament to that. The exciting new campus build will provide another boost for pre-startups, helping them get to their ideas off the ground.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation and Aberystwyth University, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer a range of high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.

Over the course of a packed morning, the panel – including representatives from the Development Bank of Wales and Angels Invest Wales – heard a diverse range of pitches, with innovations including an indoor vertical aeroponic farm and engineered biocarbons to mitigate against adverse and contaminated soil conditions. While investments leading from the pitches were not expected, the participants all received valuable feedback on how much investment potential their innovations or business ideas had.

One of the innovations the panel heard from was a food production system utilising the latest controlled-environment growing technology. William Stiles, co-founder at TechFarm, commented: “The BioAccelerate process has been a really beneficial experience, and has helped us to shape the vision for our business. The workshops were varied and interactive and the one-to-one mentoring sessions were very comprehensive and thorough.”

Construction on the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development began on 2 July and aims to help companies at all stages of development in Mid Wales and beyond to realise their ambition and to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors. Office spaces and meeting rooms have been available on the site for the past year, and the business community continues to grow as more tenants move in.

AberInnovation Litter Pick at Borth

13/07/2018
Ben Jones
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

AberInnovation held its first Office Block social gathering on Saturday 30th June 2018 with a litter pick along Borth Beach.

Members of AIEC staff, office block tenants, and their relatives worked their way along Borth Beach towards Ynyslas picking up litter, taking time out for a quick dip in the sea to cool off as it was a scorching sizzler of a day!

The Caru Ceredigion Team at the County Council very kindly loaned all the equipment for free and we collected all sorts of plastics, bits of nylon fishing net, drink cans/bottles, an old pair of socks and even a nappy – gross!  We all felt that we’d achieved something worthwhile and plan to make it a regular event!

aberinnovation

Enjoying a well-earned reward at the Sands Café in Borth!

Construction starts on Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

27/06/2018
Ben Jones

Construction work on the £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is set to start on 2 July 2018 at Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus near Penrhyncoch.

The Innovation Campus will foster collaboration between business and academia, providing world-leading facilities and expertise for the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors.

The construction contract for the ambitious development has been awarded to Willmott Dixon Construction Limited and is expected to take two years to complete.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is an exceptional development that will bring new industry partnerships and jobs to the region. It is an example of the University working collaboratively to ensure that the excellent research carried out here – particularly within our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) – acts as a catalyst for innovative practice which has an impact on the wider economy.

“We are grateful to the Welsh Government for their support through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) and to BBSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, for their support, as well as to Ceredigion County Council who have worked with us on infrastructure improvements for the benefit of the area.”

The University and Ceredigion County Council have worked together to deliver highway improvements to widen the road leading to the Campus from the main A4159 crossroads and these works were successfully completed by the County Council in May 2018.

The County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Economy and Regeneration, Councillor Rhodri Evans said: “Innovation and enterprise are key factors in supporting Ceredigion’s economy to flourish. The Council has worked closely with Aberystwyth University to enable the development to progress and I am delighted to see work beginning. I hope to see many benefits for the whole county after the Campus is established.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government (£20m), BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation (£12m) and Aberystwyth University (£8.5m), the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer a range of high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.

Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus said: “As we move into this construction phase we have already received considerable interest from companies in using the facilities in collaboration with Aberystwyth University experts. The Campus development is already showing early promise of its potential to support economic growth amongst entrepreneurs, start-up companies and large industry partners.”

Ian Jones, Director for Willmott Dixon Wales and West added: “We understand the significance of this project to the region and we are proud to be able to help bring the vision of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus to life. The size and scale of the project is impressive, and highlights the University’s commitment to delivering world class research and innovation facilities.”

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Hosts Marketing Event as part of Wales Festival of Innovation

26/06/2018
Ben Jones
Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus welcomed delegates for an event titled ‘Innovative Marketing: Masterclass’ on Wednesday 20 June. Forming part of the Wales Festival of Innovation – a pan-Wales showcase of innovation in the business world and academia – the event featured presentations on different aspects of marketing from three industry practitioners.

As usual, the event started with a networking lunch as delegates arrived and registered. The presentations were then kicked off with Anthony McAllister from Cardiff-based design consultancy PDR, who spoke about the importance of good design in marketing. Having recently worked with restaurant chain Las Iguanas on a re-design of a line of table wear, Anthony was able to describe the design process in detail, and how the work formed a key part of the restaurant chain’s brand and positioning.

Following this, Eifion Loosley described his work as Marketing Manager at Aber Instruments and their journey so far. Having recently expanded into new space over at the Aberystwyth Science Park to coincide with their 30th anniversary, Eifion had some very valuable insights into managing the marketing demands of a fast-growing local company with a very diverse customer base.

Last up was Francesca Irving, founder and Managing Director at full-service marketing agency Lunax Digital. Francesca delivered a presentation on one of her favourite topics: cognitive biases in e-commerce. Following the presentations, light refreshments were served as delegates enjoyed an opportunity to have breakout discussions with the speakers.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation and Aberystwyth University, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer a range of high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.

Ben Jones, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at AberInnovation, said: “These events continue to introduce us to new and exciting companies in the area and it’s great to see that there’s such an appetite for business support events in Mid Wales. Being part of the Wales Festival of Innovation was nice too, and we certainly benefitted from the increased exposure that came with that.”

The Wales Festival of Innovation is a showcase of innovation in Wales and runs for two weeks from 16 – 30 June. Its aim is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and concepts that will create collaborations and inspire innovative new products, solutions and cultural endeavours in Wales.

Susan Johns, Wales Festival of Innovation Project Manager, commented: “The Wales Festival of Innovation aims to shine a spotlight on the amazing and innovative work that is going on across all regions of Wales.  The diversity and standard showcased in the events of this year's Festival has been fantastic, and we are especially delighted that AberInnovation hosted an event. We were excited to hear the news that construction is about to begin on the new Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Aberystwyth.  The ambitions of this exactly reflect those of the Festival, in terms of supporting local companies, and encouraging business and academia to work together closely to facilitate strong collaborations, and inspire our next generation of innovators!”

The £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is the largest development of its kind in Mid Wales in recent years and will be a catalyst for economic development. The new Campus will offer a range of high quality technical facilities and specialised equipment to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the areas of food and drink, biorefining and waste stream valorisation throughout Wales and beyond.

Mid Wales Business Community Attends Financial Management Event

20/04/2018
Ben Jones

On Thursday 12th April 2018, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus welcomed companies to its latest business support event, themed around financial management best practices.

The ‘Financial Management for Growth’ workshop comprised of four presentations, opening with how best to set up new company finances and the importance of accurate and realistic sales forecasting for company growth. Next was a talk on how to win investment through sound financial management before the workshop was brought to a close with a case study from Phil Horton, Managing Director at Dulas Ltd. emphasising how managing operational costs has allowed Dulas Ltd. to thrive despite an ever-changing policy environment.

Simon Longworth, Finance Director of Farmers’ Union of Wales and FUW Insurance Services, commented: “It is great to see local companies’ interest in the financial side of successfully running a business. It may not be the most exciting of topics, but it is certainly an important one, and having the right procedures in place early on can yield huge benefits in the future.”

Ben Jones, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “We continue to be greatly enthused by the engagement with our business support events. The feedback we received on the speakers was very positive and the networking among companies at the event was great to see. A wide range of companies and organisations continue to attend our events, which is testament to the diverse and varied nature of entrepreneurship in Mid Wales.”

The next events at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, ‘Marketing your innovative products and promoting your innovative approaches’ was announced with a diary date of 20th June 2018, which coincides with the Wales Festival of Innovation running from 16th – 30th June.

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer state-of-the-art facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bioprocessing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.  Facilities will include an analytical science centre, a pilot-scale bioprocessing and biorefining facility, and a food-grade future food centre. Already available on the Campus are several office spaces of varying sizes and rentable at various tenancy packages to suit companies’ needs as they flourish and grow.

The ambitious £40.5M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

BioAccelerate 2018 Launched at BioWales

16/03/2018
Ben Jones
Exhibiting at BioWales where BioAccelerate was launched

BioAccelerate, Wales’ first business accelerator focused on commercialising bioscience and healthcare innovations, is seeking its first cohort of twelve early-stage innovators.

Formally launched at BioWales 2018 at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the BioAccelerate programme’s first workshop will take place 19th April 2018 and is a joint initiative between the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and Nurture Ventures. The 12-week programme will be an intensive mixture of workshops and hands-on mentoring with support from the programme’s sponsors enabling BioAccelerate to be offered free of charge to selected participants.

BioAccelerate is a hands-on business accelerator helping to commercialise innovation in the bioscience and healthcare sectors across Mid and West Wales. The programme will help participants develop their innovations into market-ready propositions and will culminate in giving them an opportunity to pitch for investment to a panel of industry experts. Participants who complete the BioAccelerate programme can expect to develop their own business model canvass, financial projections, a defined market opportunity, a prospective company valuation and a pitch deck.

The programme seeks to recruit up to twelve innovators in its first cohort. Expressions of interest are invited as of last week and will help the recruitment panel to select the companies with the potential for the highest commercial and social impact.

Dr. Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus said: “I am delighted that we can offer investor-readiness support to early stage companies and entrepreneurs. Our business community in Mid Wales is growing rapidly and the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus is here is develop networks and connections through BioAccelerate and other initiatives towards a larger cluster.”

The programme will be structured to combine workshops with tailored mentoring, covering topics such as pricing, intellectual property and company valuation methods. With delivery led by Nurture Ventures, the tailored support aims equip the selected participants with an investment ready value proposition for their innovation in time for the pitch day, where participants will have the opportunity to complete for seed money and showcase their progress over the 12-week scheme.

Jeff Bartlett, founder and director of Nurture Ventures Limited, said: “Across Wales we’re seeing a growing belief in our indigenous innovators. This exciting entrepreneurial mindset is being aided by a variety of public and private support helping to bring business ideas to market and create jobs and social impact. We’ve put together an intensive 12 week, hands-on programme culminating in a pitch day allowing us to fast track the commercialisation of breakthrough ideas and create some world class Wales-based businesses.”

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus aims to help companies at all stages of development in Mid Wales and beyond to realise their ambition and to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors. The European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); and by Aberystwyth University, funds the ambitious £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development.

Mid Wales Business Community Comes Together for Innovation Event

19/02/2018
Ben Jones
innovation event

In an event titled ‘Making Time for Innovation: Prioritising R&D for Success’, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus hosted delegates on 9th February for its first business support event of the year.

Based on feedback from previous attendees the Campus brought together several experts in the innovation and research and development fields to present on how to cultivate an innovative mindset, R&D tax credits available to companies that pursue specific research and development activity and several public sector initiatives across Wales that can support businesses to succeed in the challenging area of innovation and speculative R&D.

Following a networking lunch, delegates heard from four speakers: Bruce Stanley, Embody Ltd; Simon Renault, Innovation Point (Newport); Ian Mitchell, Mitchell Meredith Accountants; and Chris Probert, Innovation Specialist at the Welsh Government. The event was brought to a close with coffee and breakout sessions, where delegates could speak to any of the presenters one-to-one for a chance to ask questions about their specific needs.

Ben Jones, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus said: “There was a great mix of familiar and new faces at the event, which was encouraging to see. There is a clear demand for events that help businesses to take the next steps to grow and prosper in Mid Wales, and we’re delighted to be able to help facilitate that.”

Bruce Stanley, from innovation consultancy Embody Ltd, said: “For me, innovating is the most exciting activity a business can undertake and I’m really encouraged to see so much promise in Mid Wales. The businesses represented at these events are diverse and the experience and openness of their leaders make coming together really valuable – add to that the vision for the future around the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and the next few years are going to make this one of the most significant entrepreneurial clusters in the UK.”

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will offer a range of high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bioprocessing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.  Facilities will include an analytical science centre, a pilot-scale bioprocessing and biorefining facility, and a food-grade future food centre. In addition, available now on the Campus are several rentable office spaces of varying sizes and at various tenancy packages, for a community of likeminded innovators and entrepreneurs.

The ambitious £40.5M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Secures Phytatec Ltd as a New Tenant

11/12/2017
Ben Jones
Aber Innovation office

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) is pleased to welcome its second full-time tenant - integrated bio-refining company Phytatec Ltd. The move builds on a long-standing collaboration between Phytatec Ltd and Aberystwyth University, where its founder, Dr. Steve Bowra has collaborated with academic staff in the fields of crops improvement and biorefining over many years.

Phytatec Ltd has been working in the biosciences sector since July 2002, developing technologies that support the transition towards a bio-based economy. The company will take tenancy at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus from 1st December 2017 to join the burgeoning business community in mid-Wales.

Based on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan Campus, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide state-of-the-art facilities for its collaborators and partners, including a biorefining and bio processing facility; an advanced analytical science centre; and a future food centre. Ahead of completion of the main construction project, the Campus already boasts fully-furnished office spaces where tenants like Phytatec Ltd can meet likeminded innovators and enjoy access to world-leading expertise in the agri-tech and biosciences sectors.

Dr. Rhian Hayward, CEO of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “I am delighted that Phytatec are tenants at the Innovation Campus and see their presence as an important element of their accelerated integrated biorefining activities in the UK. We look forward to Dr. Bowra and his colleagues networking with our other tenants and benefiting from the business community networking we are hosting.”

“Our offices will appeal to companies with ambitions to grow and take new ideas to market. Our facilities, refurbished to a very high standard, will cater specifically to companies wishing to be part of a growing business community for the biosciences and agri-tech sectors,” she added.

Dr. Steve Bowra, Managing Director of Phytatec Ltd, said: “the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development and its office block represents an ideal platform from which we can continue to foster a close working relationship with project leaders within the plant breeding and biotechnology groups to achieve mutual benefit.”

The ambitious £40.5M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Companies Brought Together at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus November Event

08/12/2017
Ben Jones
Planning and Pitching Workshop

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) hosted a Business Planning and Pitching event at Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan Campus on 30th November.

As part of its ongoing commitment to help company collaborators and tenants by bringing the business support community to them, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus holds regular events and workshops for businesses and entrepreneurs.

As well as a networking lunch for its delegates, the free event comprised of presentations from three speakers: Jeff Bartlett, Nurture Ventures; Julian Sanders, Sanders Design; and Zoe Reich from the Development Bank of Wales. Topics were wide-ranging and included ‘The Essentials of Customer Engagement’, ‘Innovation, Design and Branding’, and ‘Investment Readiness’.

Rhian Hayward, CEO of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many new faces to the Innovation Campus building at one of our events. We aim to provide a focal point for the business community in mid-Wales and assist companies to access the support they need to grow and to succeed. Networking and building relationships between businesses is something that’s very important to us and we look forward to hosting many more events going forward.”

Tenants at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus can enjoy ample networking opportunities with likeminded innovators as well as access to world-leading expertise in the agri-tech and biosciences sectors. In addition to hosting workshops and events, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus also offers a range of fully-furnished office spaces at its recently renovated site.

Commenting on the success of the event, lead speaker Jeff Bartlett said: "Fantastic turnout and discussions at yesterday's Business Planning and Pitching event. The attendance level really underlies the latent potential that exists in west Wales with a wide variety of innovative business ideas amongst the attendees."

Due for completion in late 2019, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will be a world-class facility which will attract both private and competitive research funding, enabling companies and researchers to undertake collaborative research projects to boost the bio-economy. The Campus underlines Aberystwyth University’s commitment to greater interdisciplinary research and innovation in a future that is increasingly focussed on cross sector research and development for new products and services.

The ambitious £40.5M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus development is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Entrepreneurial students invited to bid for InvEnterPrize 2018

23/11/2017
Ben Jones

The 2018 edition of Aberystwyth University’s student enterprise competition has been launched, with a £10,000 prize on offer to the winning entry. 

InvEnterPrize, now in its fourth edition, offers entrepreneurial students an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of distinguished, successful Aberystwyth University alumni chaired by Professor Donald Davies of Imperial College, London.

The successful entry will be able to invest its winnings in equipment, facilities or professional services to turn an invention or business start-up idea into reality.

Also up for grabs this year will be free office space for one year at the Aberystwyth Innovation & Enterprise Campus, which is offered for proposals for the bio-sciences, life sciences and agriculture sectors.

However, InvEnterPrize is not just about winning the top prize.

Entrants will be able to seek expert advice and attend a series of workshops and presentations led by successful entrepreneurs as they develop their final bids, gaining valuable advice on the way.

A short list of finalists will be invited to present their business propositions to the panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den event on Monday 19 March 2018.

The 2018 edition was launched on Monday 13 November by Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Professor Treasure said: “It gives me great pleasure to launch InvEnterPrize 2018. Universities are key players when it comes to sustaining and promoting economic activity in their local areas, and their cutting edge research underpins many of the technological advancements of our age. Equally, we are about encouraging creativity, originality and entrepreneurship amongst our students, and I am delighted to see InvEnterPrize offering the opportunity to develop and potentially launch a successful business venture and career.”

This year’s entrants will be looking to emulate the success of Kar-go, who scooped the top prize in 2017.

The brainchild of students Ariel Ladegaard and Aparajit Narayan, and former student Pasi William Sachiti, Kar-go is a concept driverless delivery vehicle.

Ariel and Pasi were presented with a cheque for £10,000 by The Apprentice winner Alana Spencer.

Chair of the InvEnterPrize judging panel, Professor Donald Davies said: “I am very pleased, once again, to be a member of the judging panel for InvEnterPrize. Aberystwyth helped me create my career and to have the opportunity to encourage a new generation of students in business is terrific. We are looking for a spark in our potential winner or winning team; foremost the idea needs to be unique and achievable but we also want a student or students that believe in their product and have the tenacity to see it through.”

Sponsored by contributions from the University’s alumni, InvEnterPrize is organised by the University’s Careers Service.

The original concept has been developed over several years by the University’s entrepreneurship champion, Tony Orme.

Speaking at the launch, Tony said: “Students have access to some of our most influential business alumni; to pick their brains and find out the secret to success. The money is a wonderful assistance to start-up costs but it is the advice and support that will be most valuable. We are lucky to have graduates that want to give back and be involved with the students and their generosity, in time and funds is inspirational.”

Launched in 2012, the inaugural InvEnterPrize winner was Jake Stainer and his language learning website www.Papora.com.

Jake Stainer said of the opportunity: “I had the idea for Papora for a few years but never had any type of funding. In my second year at Aberystwyth University I decided to apply. Having won, InvEnterPrize has taken my business to the next level and I've been able to achieve so many things that wouldn't have been possible before. Papora is growing every month thanks to InvEnterPrize.”

Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Louise Jagger said: “InvEnterPrize can mean so much to someone with a great idea that needs the financial support and guidance to take it off the ground. We are very grateful to the alumni who continue to give so generously towards the Aber Fund which funds the prize money and to the alumni and supporters giving time on the judging panel.”

Aberystwyth University offers a full programme of events to support entrepreneurial activity amongst students, alumni and staff. To find out more visit the AberPreneurs online pages here.

First Tenant Company co-locates at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

29/06/2017
Douglas Owen
Dr Rhian Hayward and Richard Glover Davies

An award-winning company set up by a former Aberystwyth student has become the first full-time tenant of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC).

Gloversure Ltd, an award-winning company head quartered in Welshpool, mid Wales, and working in the internet / telecoms industry since July 2004 will take tenancy at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus from June 2017 to further its ambitions with its in-house development in the agri-tech area and to recruit skilled graduates from Aberystwyth University.

Set just 3 miles inland from Aberystwyth town, the new office accommodation will provide tenants with exceptional links to the expertise at Aberystwyth University. The offices will appeal to companies with ambitions to grow and take new ideas to market. The facility, refurbished to a very high standard, will cater specifically to companies wishing to be a part of a growing business community for the biosciences and agri-tech sectors.

Dr Rhian Hayward, CEO of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus said: “I am delighted to welcome Gloversure as our first tenant. The company has an exceptional reputation and track record in their field and ambitions to grow their internal development programme. We will support them as much as possible to achieve these aims and are pleased that Gloversure are a founding member of our community.”

Richard Glover Davies, Managing Director at Gloversure said: “We are looking forward to helping more businesses in the Aberystwyth area and projects within the university. Opening an office in the Aberystwyth area is something we have wanted to do for many years and with so many of the Gloversure team having graduated from the university over the years we are really happy to have opened an office at the university. The facilities at the business are excellent and I would recommend it to any business looking for such a facility.”

The new office accommodation is part of the £40.5M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus project; one of the largest infrastructure developments in Wales in recent years, which will be a catalyst for economic improvement. The Innovation Campus will offer technical facilities to support innovation in the food & drink, biorefining and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond. Scheduled for completion in 2019, the Campus will host companies from supply chains across the UK, supporting the community of local business to develop wider links and new partnerships.

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Ltd supports prestigious Wales in London St David’s Day Celebration

07/03/2017
Douglas Owen

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Ltd was honoured to support the annual St David’s Day in London Celebration at Guildhall, London on February 28th 2017

Dr Timothy Brain OBE, Chairman of AIEC Ltd, addressed the assembled guests about Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus’ proposed offer of a range of world leading facilities and expertise to support innovation.  

Dr Brain also outlined the project’s vision of enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond.

The £40.5M project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Dr Rhian Hayward, CEO of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Ltd, said of the event: “We were delighted to sponsor the St. David’s Day Celebration organised by Wales in London. It was uplifting to celebrate what Wales has to offer in the innovation and entrepreneurship area with some of its strongest proponents in London. The Wales in London event highlighted what passion and pride the Welsh have in the growth of Wales and I was delighted to have received so many supporting comments from fellow guests on the innovation agenda in Wales”

The Wales in London Annual St David’s Day Celebration which began in 1904,is an opportunity for Welsh men and women who live and work in London to come together to celebrate the best of what Wales has to offer. The event has a long tradition of attracting very influential dignitaries with The Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP present at this year's celebration. The speakers were the Rt Hon Lord Judge, former Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales and Guto Harri, MD External Communications Liberty Global.

Gaenor Howells who organises the event said "I hope that friends of the Dinner will be supportive of this much needed project in Ceredigion. Wales in London looks forward to continuing our relationship with Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus."

The event coincided with the 125th Anniversary of Aberystwyth University’s Old Students Association (OSA), which is one of the oldest alumni associations of its kind in the world with over 9,000 members scattered across more than 150 different countries.

A final planning application for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus has been submitted to Ceredigion County Council with a decision expected in the Spring of 2017. If planning permission is granted, construction is due to start mid-2017 and is expected to take two years to complete.

Principal Contractor appointed to build Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

25/01/2017
Douglas Owen
Willmott Dixon - Principle Contractor for AIEC

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) has taken a major step forward following the successful appointment of a Principal Contractor.

Wilmott Dixon Construction secured the Pre-Construction Service Agreement following a competitive procurement process. The company will bring a wealth of experience to the project having previously delivered other capital build projects for the scientific and educational sectors in Wales.

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry. It has been funded from the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and Aberystwyth University.

Wilmott Dixon will work closely with the project design team over the next few months to further develop a detailed technical design for the new campus.

“Following a robust procurement process, I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Wilmott Dixon Construction as the Principal Contractor to build the AIEC development. The announcement represents a significant milestone for the project and brings us a step closer towards turning the vision into reality” said Huw Watkins, AIEC Project Director.

Speaking on behalf of Willmott Dixon Construction, Neal Stephens, managing director said, “We will work with the design team, using our experience and capabilities to provide the best solutions for the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and its world-class facilities to drive growth in the economy."

Proposed facilities at the AIEC include a Bio-refining Centre, Future Food Centre, Analytical Science laboratories and a Seed Processing and Biobank Facility.

It will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office/laboratory accommodation for companies committed to innovate.

The AIEC 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.

One of the existing buildings which will form part of the AIEC 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.

Located at Gogerddan, the new development will provide a progressive environment to encourage business and academic collaboration to flourish and will offer a range of high quality facilities to support translational research and innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in Mid Wales and beyond.

A final planning application for the Campus has been submitted to Ceredigion County Council with a decision expected in the Spring of 2017. If planning permission is granted, construction is due to start mid-2017 and is expected to take two years to complete.

Full planning application submitted for £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

06/01/2017
Douglas Owen
View of the proposed Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

Aberystwyth University, together with the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC), has formally submitted a full planning application to Ceredigion County Council.

Based on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus, the £40.5m AIEC development will feature a bio-refining centre, future food centre, analytical science laboratories and a seed processing and biobank facility.

The full application comes following a comprehensive public consultation period where interested parties had an opportunity to learn more about the proposed improvements to the existing Gogerddan campus on the outskirts of Aberystwyth.

The consultation process also provided the project team with helpful and informative feedback to assist with the preparation of the final application.

Speaking on behalf of the Project Team, Huw Watkins Project Director commented; “it was essential that the community were given the opportunity to examine the proposals, ask questions and learn more about the vision, impact and timeline. The feedback was extremely positive and most valuable to the project team. It allowed us to progress community benefits such as solutions to address highway concerns. We will be working closely with Ceredigion County Council during the next few months to facilitate a series of improvements that work for all stakeholders.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

Planning consultant Cushman & Wakefield has been integral to this process, particularly in supporting the AIEC project team with the preparation and submission of the planning application.

The submission of the planning application is a significant milestone for the AIEC project.  It is the result of extensive pre-application engagement and dialogue with Ceredigion County Council and local stakeholders, with the cooperation and collaboration of all parties being the key to its successful submission and validation in line with the critical path project delivery programme” said Andrew Teage, Associate – Planning and Development at Cushman & Wakefield.

AIEC will provide a progressive environment to encourage business and academic collaboration to flourish, by offering a range of high quality facilities to support the translation of research and innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in Mid -Wales and beyond.

AIEC will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office/laboratory accommodation for companies.

It 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 enhance, and enable access to, the excellent research capabilities currently offered.

One of the existing buildings which will form part of the AIEC 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.

A decision on the planning application is expected in the Spring of 2017. If planning permission is granted, construction is proposed to start mid-2017 and is expected to take two years to complete.

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Ltd appoints first Chief Executive Officer

25/11/2016
Douglas Owen
Chief Executive Officer - Dr Rhian Hayward MBE

Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Limited is delighted to announce the appointment of its first Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE will take up the post in January 2017 and will lead the newly formed joint venture between Aberystwyth University and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which has been created to build and operate the proposed Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) on the outskirts of Aberystwyth.

Dr Hayward brings a wealth of highly relevant experience gained over twenty-five years in both the private and public sectors focused on bringing products to market in the life sciences sector. She takes up the CEO role following her recent post as Head of Knowledge Exchange at the Department of Research, Business & Innovation at Aberystwyth University.

Prior to joining Aberystwyth University, Dr Hayward worked in the private sector running a consultancy business advising investors, universities and SMEs on the commercialisation of early stage life science technologies.  Dr Hayward has also held several commercial roles in marketing, business development and product management within the biotechnology industry.

“I am delighted to lead the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and to offer companies a step change opportunity to innovate in collaboration with Aberystwyth University experts,” said Dr Hayward.

“The campus will provide a world class capability in Wales for the development of new products and services for the whole life sciences community. I look forward to supporting entrepreneurs, start up companies, and industry partners with scale up projects, to access facilities and expertise of a unique quality, scale and variety.”

After gaining a BSc. first class honours degree in Biology from King’s College, London, and completing her doctorate at the University of Oxford, Dr Hayward went on to undertake postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, USA. Moving into industry, Dr Hayward then held several positions within start up and spin out companies in the south east of England.

Originally from Swansea, Dr Hayward was awarded an MBE for services to Entrepreneurship in Wales in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours list.

As Chief Executive Officer for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Limited, Dr Hayward will be responsible for providing operational leadership and ensuring the sustainability of the new campus, and contributing to driving economic growth in the region and beyond through the creation of high value jobs and a thriving campus community of knowledge-based companies.

Dr Timothy Brain, Chairman of Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Limited, said: “We are delighted with Dr Hayward’s appointment. She has demonstrated that she has a clear vision to make the Innovation and Enterprise Campus a success. We look forward to working with her.”  

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

The AIEC 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 enhance, and enable access to, the excellent research capabilities currently offered.

A final planning application for AIEC will be submitted in late 2016. Proposed facilities at the AIEC include a Bio-refining Centre, Future Food Centre, Analytical Science laboratories and a Seed Processing and Biobank Facility. It will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office/laboratory accommodation for companies.

Successful Community Consultation Event held for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

20/10/2016
Douglas Owen

Aberystwyth University and AIEC Limited held a Community Consultation Event at Penrhyncoch Village Hall on Tuesday 18th October as part of a 28-day consultation period on the draft planning application for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus.

The event was an opportunity for any interested parties to learn more about the proposed improvements to the existing Gogerddan campus. It also provided the project team with helpful and informative feedback to assist with the preparation of the final planning application, to be submitted in late 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the Project Team, Huw Watkins Project Director commented; “we were really pleased to see so many people attend the event, and it shows that there’s a real interest in Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus. We received valuable feedback from local residents and business owners with a particular focus on highway improvements, and we’ll be working closely with Ceredigion County Council during the consultation period to try and find a solution that works for all stakeholders.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

Proposed facilities at the AIEC include a Bio-refining Centre, Future Food Centre, Analytical Science laboratories and a Seed Processing and Biobank Facility. It will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office accommodation.

The AIEC will drive economic growth in the region and beyond through the creation of high value jobs and thriving knowledge based companies. It will build on the existing capabilities already in existence within the University’s Institutes, working particularly closely with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to enhance the excellent research capabilities currently offered.

Community Consultation Event for Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

07/10/2016
Douglas Owen

Aberystwyth University and AIEC Limited are preparing to submit a detailed planning application later in 2016 for the new Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC), and will be hosting a Community Consultation Event at Penrhyncoch Village Hall on the 18th of October. 

The event will provide an opportunity for any interested parties to learn more about the proposed improvements to the existing Gogerddan campus. The evening will begin with a public drop-in session from 5.30pm, followed by a presentation of the AIEC proposals at 7pm.

Based on the outskirts of Aberystwyth at the University’s Gogerddan Campus, the AIEC will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

“The event has been organised to allow the local community the opportunity to engage directly with the AIEC project at the earliest possible stage. We look forward to sharing our exciting vision for the investment and present the proposed plans to make it a reality” said Huw Watkins, AIEC Project Director.

Proposed facilities will include a Bio-refining Centre, Future Food Centre, Analytical Science laboratories and a Seed Processing and Biobank Facility. It will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office accommodation. Whilst the new Innovation Campus will enhance the University’s capacity in the agri-tech sector, staff and student numbers at the Gogerddan site will be consistent with current University arrangements.

Andrew Teage, Associate at Cushman & Wakefield leads the consultant team providing planning guidance and advice for the project. Andrew will facilitate the consultation event, and along with colleagues will be on hand to answer questions related to the proposals and the planning application process itself.

The AIEC will drive economic growth in the region and beyond through the creation of high value jobs and thriving knowledge based companies. It will build on the existing capabilities already in existence within the University’s Institutes, working particularly closely with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to enhance the excellent research capabilities currently offered.

The AIEC is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Procurement process to construct the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus project formally commences

11/05/2016
Douglas Owen
The proposed Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

AIEC Limited and Aberystwyth University are delighted to announce that the public procurement process to appoint a Principal Contractor for the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) project has formally begun with the release of a Prior Information Notice (PIN). AIEC Limited and Aberystwyth University intend to jointly conduct the procurement with AIEC Limited acting as the Contracting Authority, managing the procedure on its own behalf and on behalf of Aberystwyth University.

The PIN was recently released through Sell2Wales and the Official Journal of the European Union procurement portals, and two Pre-Procurement Market Engagement Events have been organised to provide an opportunity for the construction supply chain to discover more about the AIEC project.

The first event will be held in Aberystwyth on Thursday 26 May 2016 with the second event taking place in Cardiff Bay on Friday 27 May 2016. Parties interested in attending either or both of the events must register before 4pm on Wednesday the 18th of May 2016 by emailing aiecadmin@aber.ac.uk and supplying the names, email addresses and job titles of each person attending (a maximum of 2 people from each organisation). The events are open for all construction suppliers to attend (according to the scope of the PIN), but attendance must be pre-registered as described above.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

Huw Watkins, AIEC Project Director said “The announcement today marks an important milestone for the project and provides interested parties with the opportunity to learn more about supplying goods and services to deliver a world leading research and innovation facility.”

One of the existing buildings which will form part of the AIEC 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 get closer to the world leading research excellence undertaken by scientists at IBERS (Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environment and Rural Sciences).

Consultant teams appointed to progress new £40.5m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

28/01/2016
Douglas Owen
AECOM IBI Cushman&Wakefield

AIEC Limited, the new joint venture between Aberystwyth University and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is delighted to announce the appointment of the consultant teams to assist with the new development. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University, the Innovation and Enterprise Campus will provide world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

AECOM Professional Services LLP will provide Project and Cost Management services for the major construction project which will take place on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus on the outskirts of Aberystwyth. Following a full Official Journal of the European Union procurement process, AECOM were awarded the contract after a fierce and close competition between a number of high profile bidders.

Similarly, IBI Group fought off stiff competition from a wide field of bidders to secure the contract to provide a full, multi-discipline design service for the Project. They lead a multi-discipline design team which includes AECOM/MEP and Curtins Consultancy to provide the full range of design services needed for such a complex project. Speaking on behalf of IBI Group, Mark Drane said “We’re very proud to be involved with such an exciting development and to be given the chance to design a creative hub that will inspire successful collaborations between world class researchers and budding entrepreneurs.”

Cushman & Wakefield completes the consultant team providing planning guidance and advice for the project. Andrew Teage, Planning Associate Director at Cushman & Wakefield confirmed that: “Cushman & Wakefield is delighted to have been chosen as the planning team responsible for advising AIEC Limited on this exciting and challenging project. We will add value to the project by applying our market leading and commercially grounded planning advice, specifically targeting the viability and deliverability of the campus investment proposals that will assist AIEC Ltd to meet their challenging project programme and funding envelope.”

Huw Watkins, AIEC Project Director said “Following a robust procurement process, we are pleased to reach this significant milestone during the mobilisation phase of the project and look forward to working with the appointed consultants to progress the development and move closer towards delivering the benefits associated with this major investment. We will also be hosting a supply chain event in the spring for early engagement with local and national suppliers, interested in the excellent opportunities created by the investment in the Innovation and Enterprise Campus.”

One of the existing buildings on the Gogerddan site has already been refurbished to a high standard and will provide over 300m2 of rentable office accommodation to the business community. The facility has been modernised to cater specifically for companies wishing to get closer to the world leading research excellence undertaken by scientists at IBERS (Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environment and Rural Sciences).

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

Companies get a glance of the proposed Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus

27/11/2015
Douglas Owen

An event focused on Funding and Facilities for Innovation was recently held at Aberystwyth University providing companies with an early preview of the progress being made towards turning the £40.5m investment in a new Innovation and Enterprise Campus into reality.

The event, which took place on 19 November saw more than 30 different companies attending, from local food manufacturers to multinational agri-tech businesses. It provided delegates with an early engagement opportunity to explore how the proposed developments can support and contribute to their specific business growth aspirations.

Opened by Professor Chris Thomas, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Aberystwyth University, one of the main purposes of the event was to share how a combination of scientific excellence, state of the art facilities and new funding packages could drive innovation and growth within the food, health, agri and biotech industries. It also provided an opportunity for delegates to contribute and shape future provision to maximize the potential for entrepreneurial activity.

Speakers at the event included Huw Watkins, Project Director of AIEC who outlined the possibilities for facilitating growth at Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and Professor Jamie Newbold, Director of Research at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environment and Rural Sciences (IBERS) who provided an update on IBERS’ Research Strategy. Presentations were also given by Welsh Government representatives who provided information on the SMART Funding suite for Innovation in Wales.

The event concluded with an ‘Ask the Panel’ open floor discussion, providing delegates with an opportunity to ask any burning questions arising from the mornings’ activities. Reflecting on the event, Huw Watkins AIEC Project Director said “Significant progress has been achieved since the investment was secured nearly a year ago and we felt it was timely for us to share some of that information with companies who are likely to benefit from the project. This was the first of many such events designed to raise awareness and encourage early engagement”.

Dr Jonathan Hughes from Pennotec attending the event added that “the single site AIEC facility could foster closer engagement between green technology companies with producers and product end-users in our agri-food and health sectors”.

The proposed footprint for the Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Gogerddan on the outskirts of Aberystwyth has been formally approved by the Project Board, and next steps will include further design development, obtaining planning approval and procurement of a main contractor. A proposed supply chain event will also be held in the Spring of 2016.

The Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government; by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and by Aberystwyth University.

One of the existing buildings on the Gogerddan site has already been refurbished to a high standard and provides over 300m2 of rentable office accommodation. The facility has been modernised to cater specifically for companies wishing to get closer to the world leading research excellence undertaken by scientists at IBERS.
 

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