AberInnovation Celebrates Success from European Regional Development Funding with Address from Welsh Government’s Economy Minister

Vaughan Gething MS giving a video address

Vaughan Gething MS giving a video address

05 May 2023

On Thursday 4th May 2023, AberInnovation hosted a celebratory event to mark the success of its European Regional Development-funded support. The event featured a personalised video address from Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething, highlighting the significant contributions the Campus has already made to the region’s economy since opening in late 2020, as well as looking ahead to the future of research and innovation in the food and circular economy sectors.

The Minister’s speech was accompanied by addresses from AberInnovation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rhian Hayward MBE, Aberystwyth University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure and the Welsh European Funding Office’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ryland.

AberInnovation is a key driver for economic growth in Wales and the wider UK, providing world-class research facilities for innovative businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

The Minister’s address focused on the government’s commitment to supporting Welsh magnet projects, innovation and enterprise across Wales, and how AberInnovation has been a shining example of the impact such initiatives can have, also highlighting the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Vaughan Gething MS said: “I’m delighted that through EU funds investment, AberInnovation is now providing world-leading facilities and expertise within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors. Attracting further investment, skills and collaboration to the region and addressing major global challenges such as climate change, sustainability and food and energy security.

“The new investment from UKRI-BBSRC will allow AberInnovation to continue to build on their success and aligns with the central message of our Innovation Strategy, launched at the end of February, which stresses the need to be collaborative and competitive to source funding for RD&I from UK sources and beyond.

“Innovation in agriculture, the environment and natural resources plays a critical role in our aim for a more equal, more prosperous, and greener Wales.”

AberInnovation has already attracted high-tech and knowledge-based companies to start in the region via business support programmes focusing on technical facilities and expertise, creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.

Dr Rhian Hayward MBE said: “We have been proud to usher through the AberInnovation capital development and to mobilise the facilities with ERDF support. The project pipeline for industry-led activities is growing rapidly, as is the interest in the facilities as an anchor for inward investment prospects. AberInnovation is connecting the research excellence at Aberystwyth University to industry and there is a clear appetite for more from businesses across Wales and the rest of the UK. We are welcoming entrepreneurs to start businesses based at AberInnovation and I look forward to seeing what the next months and years bring.”

Since becoming operational in 2021, AberInnovation has secured the first 100 R&D projects with industry, supported tenants and members to raise £4.3m in private investment and £5m in grant funding which has supported the creation of forty-six new jobs.

The event celebrated the milestones achieved with partners and key stakeholders, and gave thanks to the three major funders Welsh European Funding Office, UK Research and Innovation - BBSRC and Aberystwyth University.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “AberInnovation has established itself as a centre of excellence delivering world-class facilities and has become the focus for a vibrant community that brings scientific research and entrepreneurs together to develop new and innovative products and services for the benefit of the wider community. The University takes great pride in its role in providing this most valuable platform that offers opportunities for the commercialisation of research by academic colleagues as well as the development of ideas by businesses and the potential resulting economic benefits.”

During the event, attendees had opportunities to network with industry leaders, government and local authorities alongside academic experts, who have been instrumental in the success of the Campus. There was also an opportunity to read about the latest research being conducted at AberInnovation by means of various information posters detailing how these projects are contributing to the development of new products and services within the biotechnology, food & drink and agri-tech sectors.

Since opening in 2020 the campus has aided the development and growth of a broad range of food and agri-tech focused startup companies. The campus’ state-of-the-art laboratories and technical expertise has aided the growth of partnerships with 30 Aberystwyth-based companies. Recent projects such as the Solutions Catalyst programme funded by the BBSRC have shown a great deal of interest with local, regional and national companies looking to enhance product development in the near future.