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Expansion plans at multi-million pound University of Essex research park boosted by council cash injection

Artist's impression showing the Parkside Office Village's second phase, with the university's North Towers in the background. Pictures: STANLEY BRAGG ARCHITECTS

Artist's impression showing the Parkside Office Village's second phase, with the university's North Towers in the background. Pictures: STANLEY BRAGG ARCHITECTS

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Ambitious plans to press ahead with the next phase of a multi-million pound research and technology park in Essex are one step closer thanks to a fresh funding boost.

What the multimillion-pound Innovation Centre could look like. Artist's impression. Picture: STANLEY BRAGG ARCHITECTSWhat the multimillion-pound Innovation Centre could look like. Artist's impression. Picture: STANLEY BRAGG ARCHITECTS

A £2million cash injection from Essex County Council has bolstered the expansion of the Knowledge Gateway at the University of Essex’s Colchester campus.

Poised to offer a home to dozens of start-ups and fast-growing hi-tech businesses from early next year, work is starting on the new £12million Innovation Centre soon thanks to funding and grants from the council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

News of the latest cash grant comes as university bosses released fresh images outlining their vision for the park and how it will look once completed.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park.

“We are starting 2018 with the first phase of our Parkside Office Village completely full and very strong interest in our next phase which will be ready by autumn this year.

“Work on our £12million Innovation Centre is now starting thanks to £2million of funding from the SELEP through the Local Growth Fund and a further £2million grant from Essex County Council (ECC).

“This support will allow us to drive innovation and growth in the eastern region by extending our thriving small and medium-size enterprise (SME) community, providing new space for innovative start-ups and expanding opportunities for business to work with our researchers and benefit from our graduate and student talent.”

The Parkside Office Village, housed inside the park, is already home to several student start-ups and more than 20 SMEs.

ECC deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth Kevin Bentley said: “Essex is leading the UK on start-ups of new enterprises and our investment of £2million into the Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s Colchester campus demonstrates our commitment to support these businesses by providing the right types of work spaces.

“We also recognise the importance of Colchester as a digital cluster and this investment will help to further enhance Colchester’s presence in this sector.”

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