£67m investment into four science hubs in Oxfordshire forms main part of three-part Oxford City Deal + Audio (From Witney Gazette)
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£67m investment into four science hubs in Oxfordshire forms main part of three-part Oxford City Deal + Audio
A £67m cash injection into four science hubs in Oxfordshire is the centrepiece of the three-part Oxford City Deal.
The drive to pump investment into the county also means 1,800 new jobs, with the promise of more to come.
Funding for infrastructure, transport and skills is expected to be unveiled tomorrow.
Begbroke, the Oxford Bioescal-ator in Headington, Culham and Harwell are in line for the cash, half of which is coming from the Government, with the rest from industry, local authorities and Oxford University.
Begbroke will net £11.2m, made up of £4.2m from the Government plus £7m from the university to build an innovation accelerator for small hi-tec manufacturing businesses specialising in robotics, parts for cars and jet engines and superfast computers.
The Oxford Bioescalator at the Churchill Hospital helps small bioscience and medical companies share technology and expertise.
It will scoop £11m of Government money, matched by £10m from the private sector and the university.
A total of £21.4m, made up of £8m from Government and £13.4m of private sector cash, will pay for expanding a centre for excellence in engineering technology at Culham, which develops machinery used in the construction industry.
And £14m, half from Government and the rest from private sources, will be poured into developing hi-tech science machinery at Harwell.
Harwell, which employs 4,500 people, houses the Diamond Light Source particle accelerator and the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications, which is part of the European Space Agency.
Chancellor George Osborne pledged the £30m of Government money during a tour of Begbroke Science Park yesterday afternoon.
The four Oxfordshire hubs, dubbed ‘business incubator centres’, were chosen because they help small businesses translate scientific research into commercial enterprises.
Mr Osborne believes breakthroughs in laboratories here will spearhead Britain’s bid to stay at the front of the global science race.
The Chancellor said Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood had “campaigned hard” for the cash and jobs.
He said: “Together with local authorities and industry, we’re investing £67m into centres which help small science companies take their products to market, creating jobs and helping to secure a recovery for all. Oxfordshire is internationally recognised as a hub of innovation and we have to keep this up.”
His announcement coincided with Oxfordshire County Council’s debate on cuts in an effort to trim another £64m off its budget.
But Mr Osborne added: “People will see this as a joined-up approach to creating jobs and the right infrastructure.
“We have had to make choices and priorities about what we do.
“Sometimes, we are not so good at taking these inventions and turning them into businesses that grow.
“This is about bringing these things together.
“Later this week we will be setting out some of the transport issues but what we are thinking about now is investing in the sciences which will provide the businesses and jobs for local people.”
Ms Blackwood said: “It will create jobs. The reality is that, for Oxfordshire, this is a vote of confidence.”
Prof Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, said: “Oxfordshire is already a powerhouse of innovation and wealth creation.
“It was recently ranked amongst the world’s top five hotspots for innovation – and it is crucial we built on the region’s unique strengths.
“Creating a regional environment in which entrepreneurial activity can thrive is good for Oxfordshire and good for Oxford University in its mission to continue to attract the best students and researchers from around the world.”
As part of a separate Government investment which is targeting local industries and enterprise zones, Culture Minister and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey will be in Abingdon today to announce £7m funding to build a new lab and bioscience hub that will create 370 jobs.
The Science Vale Enterprise Zone is one of 12 across the country announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
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