With an impressive record of nurturing new high-tech companies and attracting global businesses, the University of Southampton Science Park is helping to boost the region's economy and contributing to the UK's future prosperity.
One of the country's leading university-linked science and innovation campuses, the Science Park is home to over 80 companies. They range from fledgling University spin-outs to large, world-leading businesses at the forefront of innovations in fields such as pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, software design and telecommunications.
Start-up companies based at the Science Park can benefit from hands-on, intensive business support through the SETsquared Business Acceleration Programme. SETsquared, a collaboration between the University of Southampton and four other UK universities, has helped around 30 Southampton companies on the path to success. In addition, the Park also has its own programme of networking events, creating a vibrant entrepreneurial community.
Ten per cent of the businesses based at the Park are spin-out companies, formed to realise the commercial potential of University research successes. They include Perpetuum, which developed technology to harvest the energy from mechanical vibration, and Ilika, which invents and tests new materials in the laboratory that can be scaled up for commercial use. Both were ranked among Europe's top 100 "hottest clean technology companies" by The Guardian.
Another spin-out success story is Symetrica, a company established following the development of new high-performance gamma-ray spectrometers and imaging technology at the University.
In 2006 Symetrica partnered with Smiths Detection to win its first major contract with the United States Department of Homeland Security to develop and supply next generation radiation detectors. It has gone from strength to strength ever since, and now has a turnover of over £4m. The scale of its manufacturing means that it has now graduated from the Park into larger premises.
Heddwyn Davis, Symetrica's Chief Executive Officer, says: "The Science Park was an ideal location for the development of our technology and the flexible, short-term leases enabled us to take on extra space while maintaining excellent links with the University."
As well as helping businesses to prosper, the Park also contributes to the knowledge-based economy on a regional and national level by attracting and retaining talented Southampton graduates in the area. At the most recent count, around 13 per cent of employees at the Park were Southampton graduates.