Milestone for innovation park project

PLANS to create a globally-important research and development park on the outskirts of Ipswich have reached a major milestone with the appointment of a site operator for the next three years.

PLANS to create a globally-important research and development park on the outskirts of Ipswich have reached a major milestone with the appointment of a site operator for the next three years.

Innovation Martlesham, to be sited at the prestigious Adastral Park at Martlesham Heath, will be established and operated by Sagentia, a firm which helps companies grow, and chartered surveyors and property consultants Carter Jonas.

The park will contribute towards the largest concentration of ICT-related research and development companies in the UK.

It is being developed by a partnership made up of EEDA, BT, Sagentia/Carter Jonas, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council and will offer flexible incubation space for hi-tech ICT related knowledge-based enterprises.

It will also play an important role in BT's plans for the redevelopment of Adastral Park.

Innovation Martlesham will initially be based in existing buildings at BT's Adastral Park, and purpose-built new developments will be phased in.

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The scheme will have an open campus feel, with a strong higher education research presence to encourage and stimulate knowledge transfer and innovation.

Over the coming months, Sagentia and Carter Jonas will refurbish and equip accommodation to meet the needs of businesses, find tenants and set up the park's business support networks.

Deputy chair of EEDA George Kieffer said it was “incredibly exciting” that the park was about to become a reality.

“It will be a global centre of excellence, as it rapidly develops a national and international profile for the research and development of specialised hi-tech communications technology,” he said.

“The benefits to those who choose to develop and grow their company within the park will be enormous. Not least, it will be located in the heart of Adastral Park, the UK's largest research and development site for telecoms. Its planned collaborations with UK universities will further enhance knowledge transfer between the young and growing enterprises, which take up tenancies, and the world's leading ICT academics and multinational companies, like BT.”

Phil Dance, managing director of technology exploitation and senior manager of Adastral Park said Innovation Martlesham was an important component of their vision for the future and said they were “delighted” to see progress being made.

John Greaves, had of public sector practice at Sagentia, said they were “delighted” to be involved with the project.

“We look forward to playing our part in creating a flagship innovation park and location for ICT-focused businesses, research and academic collaborations at Martlesham,” he said.

Once the park is operating successfully, the aim is to create dedicated office, laboratory and workshop spaces, display areas and business and technical support at the site in collaboration with a commercial developer.