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Science and technology thrives in Devon’s ‘golden triangle’

Organisations at the cutting edge of science and technology are thriving in Devon’s own ‘golden triangle’.

Exeter and Plymouth Science Parks and the EPIC Centre in Torbay have all seen high levels of post-pandemic growth and development and are leading the region’s burgeoning science sector.

Innovative companies conducting ground-breaking STEMM work have been attracted to the area from outside of the south west, alongside start-ups and established businesses, bringing huge benefits to the region in terms of investment and employment opportunities.

A total of 148 organisations are based across the three locations of Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay, employing almost 2,000 people. Additionally, all three organisations have strong links with the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and are providing opportunities for cutting edge research and development, bringing prosperity to the region.

Exeter Science Park, which contributes £48.5million GVA to the regional economy, is home to 47 STEMM-focused organisations, all at different phases of their evolution. They employ 700 people across sectors including advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, defence and security, environment and net zero.

Work on a new sustainable 143-room hotel that will be branded jointly by Zeal Hotels and the Intercontinental Hotel Group is due to be completed at the end of this year, which will further strengthen Exeter Science Park as a go-to destination.

Sally Basker, chief executive of Exeter Science Park, said: “We are committed to growing the science and technology sector in the region and are firm believers in collaboration and collected learning to achieve our goals. As well as Plymouth and EPIC, we are actively growing our partnerships with other centres of excellence in the region, such as the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre.

Plymouth Science Park has recently launched its new Advanced Digital Manufacturing Innovation Centre and the Digital Reverse Engineering and Metrology facility. This regional hub has been established to support advanced engineering and health technology business with their innovation and tech adoption. The facilities offer lab space, clean rooms, and specialist Additive Manufacturing facilities.

Ian McFadzen, chief executive of Plymouth Science Park, said: “The south west’s centres of excellence and technology hubs are essential catalysts for the UK’s critical technology sectors. Our region’s science parks are an important component of the innovation ecosystem. The talented businesses housed within the science parks attract technologically-aware investors, driving economic growth, and delivering positive impact to wider society.

“Here at Plymouth Science Park, we’re home to a community of researchers; cutting-edge innovators and companies including BMT, MAL R&D, ARGANS, Altilium, Snap, Frontier Technical and Re:Cognition Health delivering social and environmental value for the UK and beyond.” 

EPIC, which is at the heart of the Torbay Hi-Tech Cluster, is completely full with 40 units out of 40 fully let to 15 companies, employing 135 people. The centre has seen £3million worth of capital expenditure invested in equipment to support the microelectronics sector.

Wayne Loschi, EPIC Centre director, said: “EPIC provides a home to some of the region’s most innovative photonics and microelectronics companies. Its purpose-built centre offers access to more than £3 million worth of technical capability, offering many local businesses a pathway to growth.

“These companies have won new contracts and collaborated on lucrative Innovate UK projects. EPIC’s excellent relationship with the local college and equidistant Exeter and Plymouth University will ensure that there is abundance of skills coming through to support the needs of the industry in the future.”

The three organisations will be sponsoring the Innovation Zone at the SW Expo, which takes place at Sandy Park on Tuesday, March 5.

© Guy Newman.16.03.2017. Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park.