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New £12.5 million low carbon enterprise centre to be built in Norwich

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A new enterprise centre specialising in the low carbon sector is to be built on Norwich Research Park at the University of East Anglia.

The building will house a new Centre for the Built Environment with space for new sustainable products and bio-based materials from local companies. It will also house an early-stage incubator for start-up businesses to provide opportunities for UEA graduates and encourage staff on the research park to start their own businesses. The hope is that it will deliver business support to over 500 businesses in the region and create 250 jobs. Around £12.5 million will be spent on the land, infrastructure and building and £2.5 million on business support.

“This will be a first in the UK university and business sectors, further advancing UEA’s low carbon credentials and setting new standards in building concept and design through the innovative use of natural materials and bio-based products,” said project director Dr John French, chief executive of the Low Carbon Innovation Centre and of InCrops Enterprise Hub, both based at UEA.

The go-ahead follows a £6m grant from the European Regional Development Fund. UEA is providing funding of nearly £7m and £2.5m comes from a government body, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The new centre will occupy a new building of up to 4000 sq m and open in 2014. A design competition will be held to produce a building that aims to be architecturally distinguished with a high energy performance and the lowest carbon footprint of any facility yet built.

UEA vice-chancellor Professor Edward Acton said the project demonstrated the university’s global reputation in the environmental sciences, its commitment to enterprise and the key role of Norwich Research Park as a driver of the local economy. “This will be a signature building at the entrance to UEA, reflecting our commitment to business and to coping with the demands of climate change and helping the business community adapt. Universities are about changing lives and rethinking the world; this project does both.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 16 December 2011 11:11 )