On time and on budget, the final set of keys were handed over at the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) on Monday 24 August 2020, to mark the completion of the new world-leading bioscience facility after a two-year construction programme.

The AberInnovation team, along with key stakeholders and representatives from construction contractor Willmott Dixon, celebrated the completion of the final building at the new Campus’s Innovation Hub.

Maintaining social distancing, the team held a ceremonial key handover to recognise the completion of the project which has seen the creation of a new Biorefining Centre, Seed Biobank and Processing Facility, Future Food Centre, Advanced Analysis Centre and Innovation Hub.

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer at AberInnovation said: “AberInnovation is a major investment in the research and innovation infrastructure for the UK. I am delighted to receive the keys from our contractors, who have delivered these complex facilities to an exceptional standard. We are already attracting a pipeline of collaborative projects to be hosted in the new buildings which is a testament to the vision of our investors. AberInnovation will be a catalyst for innovative, interdisciplinary research and development and we look forward to supporting new product development and job creation.”

The handover marks the start of the operational phase of the Campus which was recently and awarded an additional £3m in revenue funding from the Welsh Government.

Jeremy Miles, Counsel General and Minister for European Transition in Welsh Government, said: “This new facility will create excellent quality jobs, new opportunities for Welsh businesses and enable world-leading research in bioscience to take place at the University – it’s great news for Aberystwyth and the local economy as we rebuild Wales following the pandemic. I’m delighted the Welsh Government has been able to support this venture with £23m through our European Regional Development Fund programmes.”

With this support AberInnovation is now perfectly placed to develop a pipeline of collaborative research and development projects within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “Today marks a hugely significant milestone for the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus and for the University’s Gogerddan campus. This development forms one of three major capital projects at Aberystwyth University and I congratulate everyone who has been involved with delivering the work on time and on budget – no mean feat in the current climate. The challenges we face are unprecedented and these new cutting-edge facilities for collaborative research and development projects within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors offer an exciting prospect and an important and timely boost for the Welsh economy, and in particular the rural economy of mid and west Wales.”

Construction has continued safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, with contractor Willmott Dixon strictly implementing the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures.

Neal Stephens, Managing Director Willmott Dixon said: “It is great that we have been able to hand over the final building today. Despite everything that COVID-19 has thrown at us, the team have worked tirelessly to keep the project both safe and operational throughout. It is a testament to everyone involved that we have delivered the project on time and on budget.

This new facility is going to play such an important role in protecting our food, water and energy security now and in the future; and we are delighted in playing our role in helping make that happen.”

Bill Poll, BBSRC’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “As one of the partners investing in the Campus, BBSRC is excited to see the completion of this key milestone and how these facilities will enable AberInnovation to continue driving the development of a vibrant and thriving innovation community, enabling entrepreneurs and businesses to collaborate with researchers, access specialist facilities, and benefit from support networks and targeted events.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, BBSRC – part of UK Research and Innovation – and Aberystwyth University, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus provides a world-leading facility for bio-science research.