Incubator Facility at Discovery Park in Sandwich
The Discovery Park Incubator project will deliver flexible, collaborative workspace in which life science start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises can establish their operations and grow as part of an innovative community.
This project involves the refurbishment of two floors within the East Block of Building 500 at Discovery Park, to provide around 30,000 square feet of lettable incubator space. The new facility will include self-contained laboratory units, informal breakout and café spaces and shared lab support facilities.
As well as additional physical space and high-quality facilities, the Incubator will also offer a package of innovation support to tenants, encouraging collaboration between firms at Discovery Park and with higher education, and linking new and emerging businesses with the access to investment, skills and partners that they need to thrive.
This scheme has an estimated cost of £5.5m and will be funded by:
- Discovery Park Ltd (£3 million)
- Getting Building Fund provided by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) (£2.5 million).
The Discovery Park Incubator project will deliver a flexible, collaborative workspace. This will respond to growing evidence of demand for incubation and flexible workspace facilities, address the widespread lack of life science lab space across the UK, and consolidate Discovery Park’s role as a leading centre for life science innovation.
The aims of this scheme are to:
- Address the market demand for increased supply of wet laboratory space
- Build the life science ecosystem in East Kent
- Unlock 2,860 square metres of research and development floorspace
- Create 75 jobs.
The decision by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership Accountability Board to grant Getting Building Funding for the Discovery Park Incubator scheme was made on 20 November 2020.
In June 2020, Local Enterprise Partnerships were invited to put forward projects for the Getting Building Fund. Specifically, Government were looking for shovel-ready capital projects which can be delivered within 18 months.
Nationally, the size of the Getting Building Fund pot totals £900 million.
The overarching objectives of the fund are to drive economic growth, create new jobs and support green recovery. This includes funding to enable:
- town and city centre modernisation through targeted infrastructure investments unleashing their longer-term economic potential
- investment in physical connectivity to improve the functioning of the local economy
- investment in innovation ecosystem including through improvements to research and development facilities driving up business productivity
- improvements to human capital
- improving digital connectivity, in order to support economic performance, particularly in more isolated areas.
SELEP has been successfully allocated £85 million Getting Building Fund. This funding must be spent by 31 March 2022.
The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.