Welsh science parks to develop a collective voice with UKSPA
Swansea, 25 January: Ieuan Wyn Jones, Director of the Menai Science Park (M-Sparc), chaired a successful satellite meeting of UKSPA members at the recent UKSPA/ILS Swansea Conference, which saw all participants agree to launch a new UKSPA Welsh regional group. This decision took place at the successful member conference, co-hosted by UKSPA and the Swansea University Institute of Life Science on 25 January 2018 in Swansea's beautiful Waterfront Museum.
"The Welsh innovation ecosystem has evolved to the point where a Welsh group will be beneficial to all," said Wyn Jones. "Many issues and experiences faced by science parks are shared. Additionally, it will be useful to develop a collective voice to communicate to government on behalf of all Welsh science parks and other innovation locations."
Regional participants included representatives from M-Sparc, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC), Bridge Innovation Centre and the BUCANIER project, Cardiff University Innovation Centre, Swansea University Institute of Life Science (ILS), Cardiff Medicentre and Glyndwr Innovations. Participants benefited from some highly valuable hindsight provided by George Walker, former Director, Vice-Chair and Treasurer of UKSPA, Manager of Pentlands Science Park, and convenor of the group of Scottish science and innovation parks and support from UKSPA.
The new UKSPA Wales participants agreed to come together in the spring, prior to the next UKSPA member meeting in Lincoln, in June, to discuss purpose and agree aims and an agenda that will complement the main Association meetings already in place. As Walker noted, regional round table discussions are particularly useful in helping tackle matters around specific legislation and regulation.
"I am delighted with this result. This agreement marks a highly positive step towards improved communication and collaboration across Welsh science parks and sites of innovation and has UKSPA's full support," said Jim Duvall, the new UKSPA Executive Director. "As an association we look forward to working with other UKSPA membership groups to continue to strengthen local networks, provide increased communication between UKSPA and members as well as provide opportunities for collaboration and exchange of ideas and initiatives."