Oxford set to create new Innovation Centre on £30 million Science Centre site

18 March 2011


14 February 2011

Oxford set to create new Innovation Centre on £30 million Science Centre site

Prestigious new innovation centre is part of expanding portfolio for Oxford Innovation

Science Oxford has announced today that it is creating a new innovation centre to support entrepreneurs and start-up companies. Due to open in March, the 25,000 sq ft innovation centre is part of a site in the heart of the city of Oxford that will incorporate a £30 million science centre to be designed by internationally renowned architects, Foster + Partners.


Science Oxford has recently purchased Macclesfield House, a former county council building on a site in central Oxford adjacent to the Oxford Castle development, where it plans to construct a world-class cultural centre for science and enterprise that will attract over 100,000 visitors per year. The aim is to open the state of the art facility by 2015 and a pledge of £10 million has already been made to the fundraising campaign.

Pending development of the science centre, the Macclesfield House building will be re-branded as 'Oxford Centre for Innovation' and provide offices and business support for up to 30 small and growing companies.

Science Oxford has appointed Oxford Innovation, a leading operator of business and innovation centres, to manage the new innovation centre. Oxford Innovation has an impressive track record in supporting the growth of technology companies. The company already manages 14 other centres from Portsmouth to Yorkshire used by over 400 companies and its business support services include access to its business angel investment networks as well as mentoring and business planning advice.


Oxford Innovation's portfolio will expand further in the next month with the addition of three more centres in another region, meaning that the company will have realised a 41% growth rate from property management activity in the past 12 months.

Science Oxford is the public face of The Oxford Trust, a charity established by Sir Martin and Lady (Audrey) Wood, co-founders of global engineering firm Oxford Instruments plc, the first spin-out company from Oxford University.


The multi-million pound science centre is the latest initiative from Science Oxford, a pioneer in innovative projects to promote science and technology that included the creation of Europe's first innovation centre in 1985. Current activities include a small hands-on science centre, inspirational science education programmes and schemes connecting local science businesses to the wider community.

Envisaged as a unique world-class facility to showcase cutting edge science and technology, particularly from the thriving Oxfordshire ecosystem, the science centre will host a suite of interactive galleries and include a digital planetarium together with a public plaza, café and shop.


Dr Ian Griffin, chief executive of Science Oxford, said: "Our plan is to give Oxford a public face for science and enterprise and to create a major tourist destination. The science centre will showcase inspiring discoveries and inventions that will bring the excitement of science to young and old alike.

"Innovative, early stage companies are more crucial than ever to our economy and at Oxford Centre for Innovation, they will benefit from a supportive environment with access to the funding and advice they need to help them to grow."

Chris Allington, managing director of Oxford Innovation's business and innovation centres division, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to manage Oxford Centre for Innovation as part of this exciting initiative in the heart of Oxford's liveliest quarter. Our aim is for this prestigious innovation centre to become a focal point for innovation and enterprise in the city and a generator of local employment. There has been strong interest in the range of offices and workspace we can offer and several companies are scheduled to move in during March and April."

With the addition of Oxford Centre for Innovation, Oxford Innovation manages 15 business and innovation centres in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Greater London, Hampshire, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire. That total will increase to 18 centres by April as three more centres in another region are opened. The company will have nearly 340,000 square feet of prime office premises with over 500 occupier companies under management.


Mr Allington explained this expansion during a period of downturn for the property industry: "Oxford Innovation offers a unique combination of flexible property solutions and advisory services, which appeals to a range of occupiers from innovative start-ups to growing companies who all wish to be part of a community of entrepreneurs.

"In the past 12 months our property portfolio by area under management has grown by 41%. We expect this growth to continue on a sustainable basis as we convert a strong pipeline of leads into more contracts to manage centres on behalf of private sector clients, such as property developers, pension funds and trusts, and public sector organisations including councils and local authorities."

- ENDS -

Notes for editors

Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Director, Oxford Innovation

Tel: + 44 (0)1865 811199   Mobile: 07910 769837   Email: m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Anne Lechelle, PR and Marketing Manager, Science Oxford

Tel: + 44 (0)1865 810006.  Email: anne.lechelle@scienceoxford.com

Photos available on request

1. Aerial view of the £30 million science centre location

2. Photos of the key spokespeople at Oxford Centre for Innovation

About Science Oxford

Science Oxford is the public face of The Oxford Trust, a charitable organisation encouraging the study, application and communication of science, technology and engineering. Science Oxford has a family of brands:

Science Oxford Live - engaging the general public with the wonders of science

Science Oxford Next - inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers

Science Oxford Networks - helping businesses to connect with the wider community

Science Oxford Online - showcasing interesting science news, experiments, activities and videos

Fore more information: www.scienceoxford.com


About Oxford Centre for Innovation

Oxford Centre for Innovation provides a range of offices, workshops, meeting rooms and conference facilities in the heart of the city of Oxford. The innovation centre is located next to the Oxford Castle development in New Road, Oxford and benefits from excellent transport provision. Bus services run from outside the front entrance and Oxford rail station is within five minutes walking distance.

Offices are available in a range of unit sizes from 100 to 1,500 sq ft and can be let on flexible licence agreements so that clients are free of any long-term letting commitments. Workshops and storage space are also available to rent on flexible terms and the centre offers a virtual office service for entrepreneurs that require a professional address and telephone answering service.

For more information, contact Margaret Hewitt, centre manager, on Tel: 01865 261400 Email: m.hewitt@oxin.co.uk

About Oxford Innovation

Oxford Innovation is a leading operator of business and innovation centres that provide office and laboratory space to companies throughout the UK. The company also provides innovation services to entrepreneurs, including business planning advice, coaching and mentoring.

Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful investment networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from £20,000 to £2m. During the last five years, the investment networks have helped over 90 companies raise £19.5m. For more information: www.oxin.co.uk

Oxford Innovation is part of SQW Group. Other divisions and associated companies include SQW, a leading provider of research, analysis and advice on sustainable economic and social development solutions to the public and private sectors, and SQW China, which operates from Hong Kong providing economic and management consultancy services to China and the international market. For more information: www.sqwgroup.com