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A revolutionary innovation centre for scientific enterprise is set to open in Bristol this Friday, in conjunction with British Science Week.
Announced in November 2016 in Partnership with SETsquared business incubator and Invest Bristol and Bath, Unit DX will accommodate up to 100 scientists and engineers across its 15,000 sq ft facility. It offers individual lab benches as well as private laboratories for both start-ups and industrial research and development teams. The repurposed industrial unit in central Bristol takes inspiration from Silicon Valley by providing science and tech start-up companies on-site access to instrumentation, technicians and a network of business and technical support.
Monika Radclyffe, Centre Director at SETsquared Bristol said: “Bristol is a fantastic city in which to start a company. The SETsquared – Unit DX partnership will provide a real boost for science entrepreneurs in the South West. Thanks to the partnership, Unit DX tenants will be able to not only benefit from their high quality support environment, but also SETsquared’s guidance on business growth, strong links to investor community and university expertise.”
The UK is an internationally recognised leader for scientific research, ranked second only to the US in terms of research outputs, yet lags behind in converting these research opportunities into commercial technologies. Built without using public funding, Unit DX is unique as it is a start-up in itself, founded by scientists looking to solve an infrastructure problem and lower the barriers to entry for scientific entrepreneurs.
Matthew Cross, Head of Inward Investment at Invest Bristol & Bath added: “There is a rich heritage of innovation from start-ups in the region that have gone on to become a major force in their technology area, and Unit DX will enable the same for the scientific community. Such a vibrant start-up scene has been a magnet to international investors such as Cray Supercomputers, Strava, Oracle, Imaginarium and we expect the same to happen in the science sector. There isn’t a privately-funded science incubator like this in the UK currently, and we’re proud that Bristol and Bath’s reputation for innovation is leading the way in this area.”
The inspiration came from a problem experienced by University of Bristol PhD graduate and Unit DX founder, Dr Harry Destecroix. Whilst launching his first start-up, Ziylo, based on research conducted during his doctorate at the University, he found a remarkable lack of appropriate laboratory space in the area to house his new company. Further investigations showed that it was a common complaint from scientific entrepreneurs, so Unit DX was created to overcome this.
Dr Destecroix said: “Scientific companies need spaces built specifically for them. They need laboratory space to conduct research and access to state-of-the-art instrumentation. Unit DX is designed around the needs of scientists and will lower the time and cost required to take a great idea and turn it into real world, working technology.
I’m especially excited about what’s going to be achieved when great scientific minds from across different disciplines such as synthetic biology and quantum technologies come together under one roof, in one of the UK’s most entrepreneurial cities.”
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