The Rt Hon. the Lord Willetts, Chair of the UK Space Agency Board and former Minister of State for Universities and Science yesterday opened a new regional centre for engineering excellence at the University of Southampton Science Park.

The Engineering Centre is the latest addition to Southampton Science Park’s leading portfolio of accommodation for science and technology businesses. This new facility provides specialist laboratories, workshops, office spaces and collaboration zones, designed to support a range of industrial sectors including eco-hydraulics, electronics, transport research, aerospace, energy, unmanned systems and a number of hydraulic flumes. The Centre is also home to the Future Towns Innovation Hub, a joint industry-academic venture led by the University of Southampton in partnership with the Enterprise M3 LEP and Research England.

Engineering is regarded as a critical industry. Across the UK, the sector employs over six million people (19% of the workforce)1 and this is predicted to grow as net zero ambitions increase demand for engineering skills and innovation.

Lord Willetts said, “It is a great pleasure to be here today, my first public engagement since being made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering earlier this month. This prestigious new facility which shines a light on the engineering talent that we have here on the south coast and provides a platform from which the sector can build and flourish. Judging by the people and companies that I’ve met here today, there’s no doubt that Southampton Science Park’s growing reputation, exemplified by projects like these, is making a meaningful contribution to the sustainable growth and prosperity of our region. I am delighted to be declaring it officially open.”

Dr Robin Chave, Chief Executive of Southampton Science Park, commented, “In the year that Southampton Science Park celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are thrilled to officially throw open the doors to our new Engineering Centre. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all project partners involved in bringing this exciting and important project to fruition. I also extend my gratitude to Lord Willetts and guests who came along today to see first-hand how this bespoke new facility is already nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship within the engineering arena; one that plays a significant role in regional development. I am confident that the businesses and academics based here in this new centre of excellence will thrive.”

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, added, “The Engineering Centre, housing the Future Towns Innovation Hub, is a very important investment from the University and our partners. This unique facility, which encourages smart collaboration between academia and business, will play an important role in boosting opportunities to commercialise new research, grow skills and retain talent in the Southampton area.”

  1. Engineering UK