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Construction starts at Keele University’s newest Innovation Centre

Construction is now underway on the latest Innovation Centre on Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park, which is set to open in 2022 and is part funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership from their allocation from the government’s Getting Building Fund.

Innovation Centre 7 (IC7) will be the home of Keele’s new Digital Society Institute, a collaborative centre focused on data and digital technology that will allow companies in the business, health, and cultural sectors to innovate and expand in a competitive and dynamic business environment.

As such, the building will be home to local businesses of all sizes, with 13,000 sq ft of space available to let, all designed to enable collaborative working and give access to the University’s business support services. More information around tenancy and business support can be found on our Digital Society Institute website.

The building also represents Keele’s commitment to helping the region grow and improve its prospects post-pandemic, as was set out with the launch of Keele Deal Recovery in early 2021, with the new facility creating over 170 higher value jobs. It will also enable over 400 local SMEs to benefit from its data analytics transformation programme, and provide a collaborative environment for Keele’s world-leading researchers to share their expertise with relevant industries.

IC7 is being constructed by Bowmer and Kirkland and will also demonstrate Keele’s world-leading credentials for sustainability by being powered with renewable energy, generated by the on-site solar farm and wind turbines being constructed in partnership with ENGIE as part of Keele’s cutting edge Smart Energy Network Demonstrator.

Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University said: “I’m delighted that construction has begun on our new Innovation Centre, which will have a hugely beneficial impact for businesses in the region when it opens next year. Like our Smart Innovation Hub, the focus on collaboration and making our world-leading expertise available for the benefit of local SMEs will be invaluable in helping local companies to innovate, while the focus on digital technology and big data will give them an edge in an unpredictable and dynamic business environment as the region recovers from Covid-19.”

Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange at Research England said: “The new Innovation Centre under construction today as part of Keele’s University Enterprise Zone development will help further local university-business links to drive more private R&D and investment and is in line with Government’s priorities set out in today’s Innovation Strategy. Linking universities like Keele and their knowledge and physical assets with entrepreneurs and innovative local and regional businesses has huge potential to drive levelling up of innovation and growth, driving productivity and more and better jobs.”

“SMEs are the lifeblood of our region’s economy,” said Alun Rogers, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. “Now, more than ever, every SME needs a grasp of how data can be used to drive insight and create new business models helping them find competitive advantage in such a changing world.

“We’re delighted to have contributed over £6.1m to this project from the £23.7m that the SSLEP secured from the government’s Getting Building Fund – it’s a key project that will drive economic growth, create new jobs and support sustainable growth across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as we all work towards Net Zero.”