Putting science to the fore in Wales in 2016

With the formal detailed planning application for the proposed Menai Science Park (M-SParc) a Bangor University led project, submitted to Anglesey Council in December, M-SParc’s Director, Ieuan Wyn Jones, looks back at a momentous year for Wales’ first dedicated science park, ,and looks forward to what promises to be an exciting future for scientific endeavour in North West Wales in 2016 and beyond.

“It’s been quite a year. Following receipt of outline planning with unanimous approval in May 2015, M-SParc has moved on at a pace. Our aim is to create a unique cluster economy to encourage hi-tech industry and scientific research partnerships in north-west Wales.

“Plans for M-SParc really moved up a gear in October following success in securing £10.2 million of European Regional Development Funding through the Welsh Government (WEFO). The project had already secured an agreed £10.8 million investment from the Welsh Government, but WEFO’s agreement completed the funding and revenue package of £21million needed to realise this exciting vision for the region.

“This vision is one based on creating highly skilled, long-term employment opportunities, developing a knowledge sharing environment and creating an economic hub in sectors such as low carbon, energy, environment and ICT.

Should full planning be awarded, the science park will create a bridge between innovative companies and Bangor University; whole owners of M-SParc.  It’s early days yet, but we are already in discussions with a number of potential tenants from a range of sectors to occupy the park.”

“As part of these preparations, we engaged respected architects FaulknerBrowns to design the first building on site. A public consultation event was also held in Gaerwen last year, which welcomed members of the public and gave them an opportunity to see these designs for themselves. The plans for the first building are also available on the M-SParc website, and have been well received to date and form part of the formal planning application recently submitted.

“If we are successful in receiving full planning later in the Spring we hope to be able to appoint a main contractor for the project soon afterwards. However, in order to prepare for any groundworks on site and as past of the conditions for the full planning permission we appointed Bangor University international student, Nebu George, as Menai Science Park Ltd’s archaeology intern. Originally from Mumbai, India, Nebu was selected as part of Bangor University’s Undergraduate Internship Scheme, administered by the Bangor Employability Award team in the Careers & Employability Service.

“As we enter the next phase in the park’s development it seems only right that we update our online presence to reflect our ambitions as Wales’ first dedicated science park. The bilingual website - www.m-sparc.com - has been designed in north Wales by creative agency blah d blah. It features background information on the science park, introductions to key members of staff as well as latest news and future plans. The website also provides links to the science park’s Twitter (@M_SParc), Facebook (www.facebook.com/ MenaiSciencePark) and Youtube accounts.

“We’ve progressed a great deal in the past year, but we have plenty more yet to do before we can progress to beginning the first building on site. However, we hope you can join us as we start on this exciting journey.”

Publication date: 13 January 2016