The value of collaboration undertaken by companies based at Sci-Tech Daresbury has quadrupled in a year, new figures reveal.
The business value of co-working between companies, universities and national science and research body the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) grew from £4.9m in 2014 to £21.5m in 2015.
A survey of businesses based at the Cheshire site, a world class location for high-tech business and leading edge science, found that 74 per cent of them were collaborating with either STFC or a university.
Six out of ten of the companies surveyed were collaborating with at least one business based at the site, the survey also found.
Businesses at the site were particularly working closely with the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster, but also overseas universities and others across the UK, including Imperial College, London, Oxford and Cambridge. Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Chester also enjoyed strong relationships with companies at the campus.
Collaboration with STFC, meanwhile, was strongly clustered round the Hartree Centre, which offers collaborative research, innovation and development services that accelerate the application of high performance computing (HPC), big data analytics and cognitive computing technologies.
However many companies have also taken advantage of the facilities and equipment at the Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) and Campus Technology Hub.
The news, which comes out of the latest tenant survey to be conducted by Sci-Tech Daresbury, is evidence the campus is achieving its aim of accelerating growth for high-tech tenant businesses by driving collaboration.
Sci-Tech Daresbury is a private-public joint-venture partnership between developer Langtree, STFC and Halton Borough Council.
Professor Susan Smith, Head of STFC Daresbury Laboratory, said:
“The opportunity to collaborate and take advantage of expertise and facilities provided by partners is clearly a compelling selling point for Sci-Tech Daresbury.”
“There is culture of open innovation at the site and we pro-actively promote interactions and collaborations with and between companies, the science base of STFC and the universities.”
“Businesses tell us that the collaboration opportunities are of high strategic importance and frequently essential to their business model and growth.”
Christopher Jones, Commercial Director at Arcis Biotechnology, which is based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, said:
“The opportunity to tap into both the facilities and expertise offered by STFC is of huge importance to our business and being located in this dynamic and connected community has brought us multiple benefits.”
Arcis, which is based at Sci-Tech Daresbury’s Innovation Centre, is a research and development company developing new technologies for the rapid isolation and purification of nucleic acids across multiple sectors.
The business utilizes STFC’s I-TAC bio laboratories and enjoys collaborations with academic institutions and other SMEs on campus.
Mr Jones added:
“We regularly attend the BioNow sponsored networking events where we can easily access other businesses in the North West and find out what they are doing, share ideas and build relationships.”
“This is also the case with the UKTI open sessions which are held on the campus and allow us to quickly access relevant information. This is a knowledge network to which we wouldn’t have easy access to if we weren’t on campus.”
“The Gold Partners programme is something we have found very useful too and recently were able to receive expert legal advice for free which we would normally have had to pay for and this is invaluable given the size of Arcis.”
“What is also critical to us is our proximity to both Manchester and Liverpool which are both home to academic and research co-working opportunities. The campus’s links to the universities is of huge benefit both to us and others based here for the ease of the connection through a single portal.”
“It’s meant that we have been able to access innovation grants through the University of Liverpool and without the relationship already being in place we simply could not have found each other as easily.”
John Downes, Group Managing Director of Langtree and Chairman of the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture company, said the levels of collaboration were a signal of the nature of the site’s unique eco-system, which enables businesses of all sizes and kinds to find and work with partners.
“It is especially important for SMEs to be able to access globally significant facilities and expertise on a flexible, scalable and cost-effective basis as they engage in research and development. The sheer range of facilities at Sci-Tech Daresbury are part of what makes the site unique and so attractive to tenants.”