| NETPark – The North East Technology Park|
Sedgefield, County Durham TS21 3FD
Contact: John Hildreth | Email: email@example.com
Contact: Janet Todd | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01740 625250 or 0191 370 8680
NETPark is the North East's science, engineering and technology park, dedicated to the commercialisation of R&D. NETPark makes it easy for companies to focus on successful growth and accelerates the success of knowledge-based companies by providing:
NETPark enjoys a strategic location well equipped to serve the UK market, and is ideally placed for links with mainland Europe via nearby international airports at Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle, and extensive North Sea port facilities. The North East's realistic land prices and property rentals provide prospective occupiers with the basic requirements for growth and have already attracted to the region many of the biggest names in industry, as well as a host of smaller businesses.
Partners and Management
County Durham Development Company (CDDC), which encourages innovation and strategic investment on behalf of Durham County Council, manages and markets the site. Development of NETPark is led by the County Council in partnership with One North East and Durham University.
Partnership to Accelerate Growth
The three main organisations currently at NETPark – CDDC, Durham University and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that cements their commitment to accelerating its growth.
Durham University's involvement harnesses its highly-rated research capabilities in the sciences most relevant to NETPark, such as physics, chemistry and maths, together with the University's enormous international reputation. CPI's involvement exploits its expertise in taking technologies from innovation to commercialisation in the fields of advanced processes, functional materials, low carbon energy and printable electronics.
The partners have committed to working together to promote and encourage NETPark as the prime location for:
In 2002 Durham County Council considered ways in which to build on long-term sustainable employment to make the County the first choice in which to work and live. The Science Park model would capitalise on the local enterprise and innovation culture and would provide flexible support for businesses to produce sustainable growth and allow unlimited expansion capability. The outcome, NETPark, soon acquired a vision, master plan, resident specification, land and support.
Progress to Date
Progress at NETPark has been swift – the first building, the NETPark Research Institute, was officially handed over to the tenant, Durham University, in July 2004 and houses two world-class research groups in Advanced Instrumentation and Semiconductor Crystal Growth, and technology from this group has now been successfully commercialised by Kromek, also based at NETPark.
The second building was the NETPark Incubator Phase 1 – 1,600 square metres of office and laboratory space for new companies and technology-driven university spin-outs. The building was officially opened in December 2005 and is home to a number of small, high-technology businesses and support organisations. Phase 2 of the NETPark Incubator was opened in 2009 and adjoins the first incubator building. It doubles the space for companies, offering additional flexible laboratory and office space for the commercialisation of research and new technologies. The funding for these buildings came in the main from Durham County Council and One North East, with a substantial contribution from the European Regional Development Fund.
Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC)
The Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC) is the UK national flagship for printable electronics technology and has state-of-the-art facilities that allow companies to develop prototypes and products, while engaging with universities for collaborative research. The centre is managed by CPI. Only opened in 2009, PETEC is already undergoing a £20m expansion which will provide new equipment capable of prototyping applications in:
Two additional new buildings, which will be suitable for major investors in the science and technology sector looking to create international headquarters, are now under development. They are designed so they can be sub-divided to provide four smaller units should demand call for this. The aim is to support the science and technology sector right through from having an idea and starting a company in the NETPark Incubator, to expansion and continued growth, so that talent, skills and business are retained in the North East.
An Innovation Village is also planned, a development of bespoke R&D 'pods' (stand-alone units of 250-750 square metres) that will provide grow-on space for expanding companies and a location for R&D inward investment.
Promoting co-operation between universities and business, facilitating technology transfer and providing space for business incubation are all part of the NETPark vision.
The Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside are all within a 30 minute drive, and all are represented on NETPark's governing body at Vice Chancellor level. NETPark harnesses the strengths of these respected institutions in a central location and is founded on fast-track access to their world-class research and teaching facilities.
The NETPark Incubator provides a hub for services at NETPark that accelerate business growth:
NETPark is a supportive, like-minded community and so that entrepreneurial companies and individuals could share in NETPark's benefits wherever they were based, CDDC created a collaborative online community – NETPark Net. The project is part financed by the European Union's ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13 which is bringing over £250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.
NETPark offers support services to assist technology based businesses maximise their potential for rapid growth. Companies at NETPark automatically receive free membership of NETPark Net – a virtual science and technology park that allows access to a total business support environment. It gives access to news, publications, events, opportunities and support services to help businesses grow.
Companies at NETPark are at the heart of an innovation community that not only encompasses the Park itself but reaches out regionally, nationally and internationally.
Dedicated support is available for North East technology businesses in energy, life sciences, process, electronics, design, software and digital via a community of Centres of Excellence, Universities and Innovation Connectors. Innovation Connectors are seven locations highlighted by One North East as a high priority for sustained investment: Newcastle Science City, Digital City in Teesside, Sunderland Software City, New and Renewable Energy Centre, Wilton Centre, Design Centre for the North and NETPark are all part of the Innovation Connector programme. The heartland of the Industrial Revolution, the North of England, has always been outstanding for innovation, product development and manufacturing. The area has diverse industrial strengths including world-class clusters in the Life Sciences, ICT, Automotive, Aerospace and Defence, Photonics, Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Nanotechnology, Energy, Engineering and Process Industry sectors.
NETPark companies can link into several national and international networks, including the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Institute of Physics. As well as the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network available on site, NETPark is the North East Regional Partner for the Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network. Knowledge Transfer Networks are initiatives supported by the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board for specific market sectors or technologies. The Electronics KTN is a network of the UK's capabilities across the electronics value chain, from research through to design and product development, and including sales and operations, creating a community rich with potential collaborative partners.
Companies can also access potential global partners at over 450 other science and technology parks through NETPark's active participation in the International Association of Science Parks and the United Kingdom Science Park Association. The European Enterprise Network, which assists with finding technology partners, is also hosted at NETPark in PETEC.
NETPark is a flagship location for the future economy of County Durham and the North East. CDDC works closely with partners, especially Durham University, to ensure that NETPark's community is engaged, enthused and inspired by the technologies being developed on their doorstep.
NETPark is in a Tier 2 assisted area, and science, engineering and technology companies locating on NETPark could have access to several sources of funding. One North East can offer Investment Grants and the DTI has a full programme of support including R&D Tax Credits, Grants for R&D, Knowledge Transfer Networks and Partnerships, and Grants for Collaborative R&D.
The UK Government also funds several research councils with interests ranging from bio-medicine and particle physics to the environment, engineering and economic research. Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development are the European Union's main instruments for supporting collaborative research, development and innovations in science, engineering and technology. Start-up companies and SMEs are usually eligible for awards and grants through Business Link and other enterprise agencies around particular activities such as ICT implementation and marketing. The North East region is also well served for equity – NETPark has links with the European Business Angels Network and other Venture Capital networks.
Companies on the Park
The NETPark Research Institute provides a home for two leading-edge research groups from Durham University, the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, which develops innovative hi-tech instrumentation for optical and infrared astronomy, and the Semiconductor Crystal Growth and Ceramics Group which 'grows' large diameter crystals for use in X-ray detection as part of the HEXITECH programme to develop high energy, colour X-ray imaging.
Kromek, which produces cutting-edge imaging technology for the security, medical and industrial sectors and was the first occupant of the NETPark Incubator facility in 2005, has grown at such a pace that it moved into its own purpose-designed headquarters building on NETPark in the summer of 2010.
The NETPark Incubator is home to companies such as Reinnervate, a company specialising in developing technologies to facilitate cell culture and cell-based research; Thermastrate, which designs and manufactures thermally-efficient electronic, power substrate and heatsink assemblies and Ithaka Life Sciences, a consultancy and interim management company that provides a range of services to the biotechnology and life sciences community. For a full list please visit www.northeasttechnologypark.com.
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