Oxford University are preparing to apply for planning permission for a £11.29m Innovation Accelerator located at the Begbroke Science Park.
If successful, these developments will involve the extension of the existing building and increasing the floor area by 2,266 square metres across two floors.
Public consultation sessions were held on the 24th and 25th April as part of an exhibition outlining the details. In addition, the University is asking for further feedback on the proposals before the 11th May, when the accumulated responses are to be reviewed before a planning application in June. If successful, construction is hoped to begin in September of this year and completed in the summer of 2016.
The plans follow from the granting of a City Deal to Oxfordshire by the government in January 2014, an initiative where a total of £67m was pledged to develop four science hubs in Oxford.
The Innovation Accelerator will receive £4.19m from the government and £7m from the University of Oxford. Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Oxford, explained the purpose of the new project, saying: “The Begbroke Accelerator is intended to provide space for new companies that are utilising University research to deliver new technology. The co-location of research and early-stage engagement with industry helps to maximise the impact of our research. It also helps the region, since the ideas generated by our academics, research staff and students are essential for innovation, which drives the knowledge-led economic strategy for Oxford and Oxfordshire.”
He also explained that there would be significant benefits for the University itself: “A region that has a vibrant economy with opportunities for creative and energetic individuals is important for the University in delivering its world-leading research and educational mission.”
As well as laboratory and office space, the design for the new wing includes a new main entrance, additional showers and provisions for cyclists.
Begbroke Science Park, bought by the University in 1988, currently aims to bring together academic research with commercial scientific projects through expert training and encouraging collaboration. It also organises outreach programs and events for schools. Its facilities include 150 square metres of cleanroom space and high-performance computers.