Location empowering South Coast STEM businesses
Robin Chave, CEO of Southampton Science Park was pleased to speak at the South Coast Commercial Property Show this month. This event, which attracts a wide variety of stakeholders from across the region, reinforced the importance of the South Coast in the UK’s wider economic performance.
During a panel discussion focused on the STEM sector, Robin provided insight into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by science and technology businesses, and how creating the right environments that support knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary interactions help address these challenges. Core themes affecting the sector including access to funding and support, talent attraction and retention, and building resilient infrastructure were also covered.
Reflecting on the event, Robin said: “Throughout my discussions at the South Coast Commercial Property Show, the three words I kept hearing were flexibility, sustainability and collaboration. I’m confident that we're well ahead of the curve on all these fronts with our provision here at the Science Park.
“We have long understood the need for flexible approaches to enable technology companies to flourish, but this requirement has been intensified post-pandemic to satisfy demand for new ways of working. Helping companies to retain the talent that emerges from the research intensive University of Southampton by providing appealing spaces is more important than ever. Staff should want to come into their office or laboratory space rather than being forced to.
“No longer a nice to have, sustainability measures are now a basic expectation for many occupiers; EPC ratings alone are not enough to define how a physical environment supports companies with their sustainability journeys. More than that, implementing measures such as energy-efficient technologies help to minimise costs, and that’s good for both resident and landlord.
“Finally, providing spaces and opportunities for people to network and discuss their ideas and solutions is so important in the STEM sector. While there are numerous ‘incubation’ and ‘collaboration’ zones now, for these to work effectively, it’s as much about the community as the bricks and mortar. Our experience of fostering the growth of many high-tech ventures is that success relies on building on preceding knowledge – ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ if you will. The wealth of knowledge and experience across our community here is a key factor that makes Southampton Science Park so appealing to such a wide range of commercial enterprises.”