University to push ahead with £50m science park

by Jim Dunton Thu 18 July 2013, 10:30 am

The University of Reading has confirmed that it will invest up to £50 million in a new science and innovation park at a site it owns in Shinfield.

It said the site, close to the M4 motorway and a short distance from Reading town centre, would play a key role in driving the region’s knowledge economy, targeting technology-led companies seeking both a strategic location close to London and access to high-quality research and graduate support.

The university said that phase one of the development would create 150,000-200,000 sq feet of space in three multi-tenanted office and laboratory buildings - one of which would be a gateway building, all of which would be kept under its ownership.

Wokingham Borough Council granted the university planning permission for the scheme in 2010, and the partnership has since secured £25 million in funding for key road infrastructure to support the development, and the Shinfield West housing scheme.

University vice-chancellor Sir David Bell said the investment that the institution was committing underlined its contribution to the Thames Vallley’s status as one of Europe's most economically successful sub regions.

“The provision of dedicated facilities and services will provide a platform for the regional knowledge economy to thrive,” he said.

"There is a substantial market in the region for such a facility, with no dedicated science park currently operating in the Thames Valley or London.

“We expect strong demand from both UK and international companies seeking a prominent Thames Valley location, while the science park will also be the natural choice for London-based companies that are looking for space to expand as well as emergent Thames Valley SMEs."

The university’s £50 million commitment consists of an initial £25 million to create the site’s infrastructure and its first three buildings, followed by a further £25 million for the completion of its first phase.

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