Future Works is a 4,100 square metre innovation centre which sits at the core of the Zone, one of the first University Enterprise Zones in the UK.
Construction work started on the £16.5m project in early 2016. Located alongside Bristol Robotics Laboratory and a cluster of other incubator facilities on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus, the Zone will promote university-business collaboration alongside access to specialist facilities, expertise and business support.
Future Works will comprise a selection of office, lab, meeting and co-working areas for companies specialising in robotics, life sciences, medical health and other high tech sectors. The space has been designed to accommodate companies throughout the various stages of their growth, from ‘rent-a-bench’ wet lab space, to individual offices for up to 10 people.
Oxford Innovation, which has been selected to manage the innovation centre, runs the largest network of innovation centres with over 900 occupiers across the UK.
Chris Allington, Oxford Innovation’s Managing Director, said, “We have huge ambition for Future Works. Its proximity to some of the best incubators in the country, the uniqueness of the managed lab space, and its location on UWE Bristol’s campus are just some of the ingredients that make this a rather special place.”
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement at UWE Bristol, Professor Martin Boddy, who led the project for the University, added: “This will be much more than just a building. It will provide access to the sorts of facilities and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach for new and growing businesses. It will provide ‘wet labs’ – currently a real gap in the market, it will promote collaboration and networking between businesses, university researchers, students and graduates and there will be dedicated business support and services from the University, Bristol Business School and partner organisations.
“It will complement Bristol and Bath Science Park, the LEP Enterprise Zone and Enterprise Areas and the Engine Shed Incubation Centre at Temple Quay and Bath Innovation Centre – together these provide a fantastically rich and fertile ecosystem to support business growth and innovation across the whole city-region.”
The West of England University Enterprise Zone is one of four to be supported by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The £16.5m project is backed by £4m from the government with match-funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership, business and UWE Bristol itself. It has been developed in collaboration with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Bristol with strong support from South Gloucestershire Council, the University of Bath and the West of England Academic Health Science Network. The Zone is expected to generate over 500 new jobs, and generate more than £50m for the local economy.