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Plans for Aberystwyth green business park ‘looking very promising’

ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY has welcomed the news that two of its flagship projects have been given approval to proceed to the second stage of the multi-million-pound Mid Wales Growth Deal.

Following the announcement, further work will now be undertaken on the business cases for a National Spectrum Centre (NSC) and a Green Futures Innovation Park.

Professor Colin McInnes, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at Aberystwyth University, said: “We are delighted that these two important projects have been selected for inclusion in the second stage of the Mid Wales Growth Deal’s assessment process. Both projects are underpinned by the exchange of knowledge between academia and industry, and the harnessing of research to drive innovation. We will continue to work closely with the Mid Wales Growth Deal team and our industry partners to further develop these ambitious projects aimed at bringing about positive employment and economic benefits for the region.”

The Aberystwyth University proposals are among eight major projects currently shortlisted for consideration for Growth Deal funding. Final decisions on the award of funding will be made following the third stage of the business case development process.

The NSC would help address the rapidly growing demand for new applications and technologies which use radio spectrum including areas such as intelligent farming, the Internet of Things, autonomous land, sea and air vehicles, beyond 5G and remote health monitoring.

Training would also be offered to the current and next generation of radio spectrum and systems engineers, led by the University’s Department of Physics which already offers degree courses in Radio Spectrum Engineering.

The centre would make use of the region’s varied coastal, upland and rural environments with a main base on the University’s Gogerddan campus in the Lord Milford building, recently refurbished thanks to investment from the University and the Welsh Government.

The Aberystwyth University proposal for the NSC is based on a collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including BT, QinetiQ and others to help realise the full potential of the concept.

The Green Futures Innovation Park is aimed at promoting green business growth and economic development focussed on sustainability, offering new opportunities for collaboration between academia and industry.

It would build on the success of recent investments led by Aberystwyth University, including AberInnovation which provides world-leading facilities and expertise at Gogerddan for the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors.

The Chief Executive of AberInnovation, Dr Rhian Hayward, said: “Investment in AberInnovation by Aberystwyth University; UK Research & Innovation, through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and Welsh Government through the European Regional Development Fund, is already paying dividends in high value jobs and a growing cluster of start-up businesses. The AberInnovation pipeline of projects is expanding quickly and shows great promise in attracting new partnerships between the University and industry. The Green Futures Innovation Park would offer additional space for expansion and enable further collaborative research and innovation with industry.”

The location of the Green Futures Innovation Park is being explored, with a final decision to be taken during the business case development process.

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