Construction underway on specialist centre in Devon for fast-growth STEMM businesses

Friday 12th February 2021

Just seven months after securing government funding, construction is underway at Exeter Science Park on a £5m specialist centre for fast-growth STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) businesses – a project set to drive growth and create jobs in the SME sector and a welcome boost for the local economy. For the full story please read the bulletin below which was issued by Insider Media Ltd. today.

Roger Mundy, Managing Director, Beardsley Theobalds, 12th February 2021



Work underway on hub for fast-growth STEMM firms


Construction is underway at Exeter Science Park on a £5m specialist centre for fast-growth STEMM businesses. The project is underway just seven months after government funding was secured for a 'shovel ready' infrastructure project to drive growth and create jobs.

The new three-storey, 14,000 sq ft Grow-out Space, just off Junction 29 of the M5, will provide flexible office and laboratory space for businesses in the science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine sectors (STEMM). 

Funding was secured in August 2020 from the Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ and allocated to Exeter Science Park by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) from its £35.4m share of the national pot. It is one of the first Getting Building Fund projects to begin construction in the area.

As soon as funding was secured detailed designs were drawn up, planning application submitted, and a contractor procured through the Southern Construction Framework within a few months. Nearly three quarters of the men and women involved during the construction phase will be from the Greater Exeter area.

The park has also responded to a growing demand in the last 12 months for laboratory space. With more companies requiring it, the Grow-out Space building design has been changed so that all three floors can accommodate laboratories, rather than just one.

Contractor Morgan Sindall plans to complete work by November 2021. 

The new development will provide maturing businesses with a much-needed stepping stone from the Science Park Centre’s existing incubation space, which is for small, fast growing companies. When they relocate to the Grow-out Space it will release space for more, smaller start-ups, to move onto the Park, supporting local recovery and driving the South-West’s productivity and economic growth.

Dr Sally Basker, chief executive of Exeter Science Park, said: "This latest investment is another stamp of confidence in Exeter Science Park helping to grow the very best STEMM businesses by providing the right environment and facilitating collaboration among like-minded, ambitious businesses.

"It's difficult to emphasise how fast this project has reached this point - it really is quite remarkable. Compared to a conventional build programme, we’ve saved up to 33% of the time involved.  This has required close collaboration between the Exeter Science Park, Morgan Sindall, LHC Design working for NPS South West Property Consultants and the Southern Construction Framework."

Brian Rice, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, added: "Exeter Science Park is a key asset for the region’s knowledge economy. The new building will provide the ideal space to scale for innovative SMEs working in high-growth STEMM industries. With a net-zero carbon design, the development will be key to a green recovery and set the standard for sustainable workspaces in the region."

Karl Tucker, chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are delighted to have agreed £5m for Exeter Science Park’s Grow-Out building – one of the largest awards we’ve given through this fund. It is fantastic to see the building getting underway so quickly, which will provide a vital stepping stone for SMEs looking to grow their business and create further opportunities for smaller companies to move onto the park.”

The Grow-out Building 3 has been designed by architects LHC Design, working for NPS South West Property Consultants, and procured using the Southern Construction Framework.Exeter Science Park Ltd is the park developer and has four shareholders: Devon County Council, the University of Exeter, East Devon District Council and Exeter City Council.