A new office development set to open on the outskirts of Oxford will push the boundaries of science and attract ambitious start-ups to the city.
The Wood Centre for Innovation (WCFI) is currently being built in 18 acres of woodland at Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry and will provide 25,000 sq ft of contemporary office space for companies specialising in science and technology.
The new centre is owned by The Oxford Trust, and named after the charity’s patrons, Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, who set up Oxford Instruments, the University’s first spin-out.
Managed by Oxford Innovation (OI), the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, WCFI will be the company’s 23rd building in the UK.
The centre will boost the city’s science and technology industries by supporting start-ups and helping companies to grow and create new jobs, according to Jo Stevens, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation, which will manage the centre.
She said: “At Oxford Innovation we are proud of our track record of incubating, harnessing and nurturing talent and innovation, enabling start-ups and entrepreneurs to push the boundaries of science and progress.
“We are thrilled to be so close to opening what will be a magnificent facility for Oxford, bolstering the city’s credentials as a leader in science and technology and providing the perfect platform from which to grow new ventures and create new jobs.”
The centre adjoins the new Science Oxford development and will provide meeting rooms for up to 20 people, a 120-seater auditorium, video and conferencing facilities, an on-site café and an outdoor eating area.
It will be just 20 minutes away from the city’s fast-growing health and data sciences quarter, centred on the University of Oxford’s Old Road campus, clinical research facilities at the local hospitals and Oxford Brookes University.
Two companies have already signed up to move into the new centre; Triteq, a medical product design and development consultancy, and Ultromics, a company that builds diagnostic aids, powered by artificial intelligence to help cardiologists.
Angela Hobbs, Managing Director of Triteq, said: “We felt the Wood Centre for Innovation was the ideal place for us to move to as the rural location, combined with close proximity to Oxford city centre and London meant we had the best of both worlds.
“Working within this innovation centre also means we’ll become part of a community of businesses working within the science and technology sectors.”
Ross Upton, co-founder and CEO of Ultromics, said: “The Wood Centre for Innovation is the ideal building for us as we wanted to be located among other companies working in the science and technology sectors as well as being located a stone’s throw from the John Radcliffe Hospital and Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility, where much of our research takes place.”
WCFI will be partnered with Oxford Centre For Innovation, based in New Road in central Oxford, enabling sharing of resources and providing a venue for city centre meetings. Both buildings will be managed by new Centre Director Mike Foster.
Steve Burgess, CEO of The Oxford Trust, said: “We are really pleased that Triteq and Utromics have decided to take space in our new innovation centre. The Trust’s mission is to support science and enterprise and we are looking forward to see a real hub of cutting-edge science and tech businesses at Stansfeld Park.”