Bristol & Bath Science Park has celebrated its second anniversary by announcing the arrival of another global technology firm and a visit by the Duke of Gloucester.
US-owned Altair, a world leader in engineering technology and services, has relocated its regional office from nearby Aztec West to the Science Park between Bristol and Bath.
The firm is the 32nd business to move into the park’s Innovation Centre for early stage and high-growth businesses, which is now 89% let. The park’s Grow On Centre, accommodating more mature businesses, is 75% occupied.
Altair, whose clients include auto giant such as BMW, Ford and Honda, aerospace groups Airbus, BAE Systems and Boeing, and the US Department of Defense, has 2,000-plus employees working in more than 40 offices across 19 countries.
The group is a partner organisation for the neighbouring National Composites Centre, which carries out pioneering research into new materials.
Altair’s ProductDesign UK division, which is based at the science park, offers engineering and design expertise at every stage of a product lifecycle, from concept to execution.
Director Jamie Buchanan said: “Our unrivalled experience in developing lightweight design solutions that provide optimum performance and minimal mass has proved invaluable to our clients in the South West. The region is extremely important to our growth plans, and we’re really pleased to be locating our office here.”
Science Park chief executive Bonnie Dean said: “The park’s network of innovative science and technology businesses will provide the right environment for Altair’s continuing growth.
“We also look forward to the wealth of product design expertise that Altair will bring to the community – both at the park and in the region’s wider technology sector.”
The Duke of Gloucester’s visit took place exactly two years to the day since the Science Park opened its doors. The anniversary was formally marked at a small celebration in the Forum, the park’s glass atrium, next to a display of three glass virus sculptures by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram which were officially installed in time for the anniversary.
The Duke of Gloucester, who is particularly interested in architecture and conservation and is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), was taken on a tour of the park as part of the anniversary celebrations, which included introductions to key stakeholders in the project, tenants of the park and representatives from the University of Bath and the University of the West of England. It was followed by a tour of the National Composites Centre.
During his visit to the park, the Duke was presented with a Crookes radiometer – a glass bulb containing metal paddles that spin when powered by sunlight. A 5m-high chandelier, created by Luke Jerram and made up of 700 Crookes radiometers is suspended from the ceiling in the Forum.
Ms Dean added: “It’s been an exciting and rewarding two years, and the lettings figures are just one indicator of the park’s success. The South West has all the ingredients for a vibrant science and technology eco-system and the park provides a collaborative space that brings organisations and ideas together.
“The interest in the park over the last two years goes to show that this sort of hub has been needed for a long time in the region. It’s an important part of the region’s economy, helping to stimulate growth and create new opportunities for companies based here.”
The Park has hosted several high profile people since opening, including Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at the Work Foundation and Government ministers including Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, David Willetts and Michael Fallon. It has also hosted major events including The Manufacturing Summit, organised by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Venturefest – an event for early stage technology businesses.