Set in 43 acres at the Colchester Campus, The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway is located on the eastern boundary of Colchester, England’s oldest recorded town.
Approximately one hour’s travel from London by rail, 17 miles from Harwich International Port and 35 miles from London Stansted Airport, the site is well connected to the national road and rail networks, yet enjoys a peaceful rural setting amongst the picturesque villages of the North East Essex and South Suffolk river estuaries.
Masterplan, Infrastructure and delivery arrangements
Planning permission has been obtained for a comprehensive masterplan which allows for the development of a total of 40,000 square metres of office and research and development accommodation, together with a hotel, retail, catering and leisure facilities. This development is being undertaken jointly by a partnership involving the University and developer Carisbrooke Alliance.
The aim is to offer a broad range of flexible high quality modern accommodation which will be of particular appeal to those organisations wishing to further develop their collaborative relationship with Essex. The site is now fully serviced and immediately available for development.
The development partnership can offer bespoke buildings, available on either leasehold or virtual freehold basis, from approx 1,400 square metres, along with an office village, known as Parkside, offering units from 120 square metres to 350 square metres.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has recently included the latter as one of 12 “preferred projects” for access to a revolving “Growing Places” fund of £32 million. Subject to final approvals, £2.4 million could be released to enable the first phase of the Parkside Office to be built and ready for occupation by Summer 2013.
Companies locating in the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway will derive competitive advantage through four key elements:
· Access to world-class research and knowledge transfer through the Research and Enterprise Office
· Development opportunities through the Essex Business School· Being part of an integrated business community
· Raised profile through the “Libeskind project” These are described in more detail below:
University of Essex Research
Over nearly 50 years, The University of Essex has developed an international reputation for top quality, cutting edge research that is making a real difference to how we understand the world, approach the key challenges facing society and live our lives from day to day.
Essex is consistently ranked in the UK’s top ten universities for its overall research quality and achieves top ranking for social science research, politics and sociology, with economics ranked third and linguistics fourth. It is home to the internationally acclaimed Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) which runs the world’s largest and most ambitious longitudinal survey mapping life in Britain. It has also long been home to the Essex Human Rights Centre.
However, it also has strengths in Biological Sciences, where leading projects include an artificial blood project, new £3 million Centre for Brain Science, and extensive cancer and DNA research. In addition, it has a significant Computer Science and Electronic Engineering department, with project examples here including the autonomous robotic fish and collaborative research into the future of the internet – the “Photonic Hyperhighway”.
Many Essex academics are also concerned with exploring the crucial relationship between human behaviour and technology. With its Global Challenge initiative focussing attention on four major problems facing the world – including climate change and depletion of natural resources - much of the University’s research is highly relevant to business. The University’s Research and Enterprise Office (REO) is the point of access to all this research expertise.
Essex Business School
Building work is scheduled to start during 2012 on a new home for the Essex Business School. This is to be a zero carbon building and will allow the Business School to expand its activities particularly through short courses, CPD and executive training. The Business School has a reputation for excellence and was ranked second nationally in the Accounting and Finance subject area.
An integrated business community
Knowledge-based companies thrive in an environment where innovation, research and collaboration are a way of life. The success of many leading technology and life sciences companies is based on a decision to locate to a campus environment with a strong business focus. The University of Essex provides a stimulating environment for business with a lively international community, a sense of energy and enthusiasm and new ways to approach business opportunities and challenges.
This is reinforced with access to an impressive range of existing high quality facilities:
· Conference and meeting facilities - The University of Essex can cater for meetings and conferences with a wide range of facilities from the elegant 18th century Wivenhoe House country house hotel to lecture theatres, the innovative iLab and the 1,000 seat Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall.
· Catering and retail - An a la carte menu is available at the Wivenhoe House hotel which is re-opening in 2012 after extensive refurbishment. There is also a wide variety of café and restaurant facilities available all year round within the university campus and a range of banks, a post office, and copy and print centre.
· Sport and leisure - The University of Essex is home to one of the most advanced sports facilities in Essex following an investment of some £1.4 million in 2010. A wide range of indoor and outdoor facilities and activities are available to occupiers, through a “Passport to Sport” membership scheme
The Libeskind Project
As a bold statement as to its strengths, values and aspirations, the University is promoting a new flagship building at the entrance of the Knowledge Gateway. The design is being developed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind, an Alumnus and Honorary Graduate.
His reputation for striking designs for buildings, such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin and his involvement in the Ground Zero redevelopment in New York, will ensure that the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway achieves a truly international profile. The building will bring together to a range of research institutes, networks and centres that are dedicated to what can be broadly termed “governance” and will facilitate a wide range of collaborations and knowledge transfer activities with public, private and third sector organisations.
It will offer particular advantages to businesses aware of the vital importance of ethics and corporate social responsibility or who are engaged in this sector.