The power of clustering is well documented, and numerous benefits come from the physical concentration of related businesses in one geographical area. These include, but are not limited to:
- increased productivity
- faster innovation
- new business creation.
For big companies and small companies alike, nothing spurs productive innovation better than having your competitor in close proximity.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) understands that clusters are constantly changing as they respond to the shifting marketplace. Our clusters are born out of a deep knowledge of the UK economy and what is driving productivity and growth, and we align our own strategy with these. Through conducting regular surveys and working closely with each business on our campuses, we focus on nurturing and growing clusters where we recognise the emergence of a collaborative environment.
What is truly exciting about our cluster development is the innovation taking place across these groups. Businesses are gaining a competitive advantage within their sector from using technologies in new applications. From agricultural businesses using space technology to improve food production, to medical device manufacturers using high-performance computing and big data analysis to improve patient care. We are enabling collaboration in a truly exciting way.
Harwell Space Cluster
Harwell Space Cluster is the gateway to the UK space sector with 89 space organisations employing 950 people.
Global space companies have established a presence at Harwell, such as:
- Airbus Defence and Space
- Lockheed Martin
- Thales Alenia Space
Activities range from the design of propulsion subsystems to satellite navigation systems.
These are joined by a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from start-ups in the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre to rapidly growing companies such as:
- Oxford Space Systems
- Deimos Space UK
Health Tech Cluster Harwell
Harwell’s Health Tech Cluster is a global force, with over 1,400 people and 74 organisations working in life sciences and world leading capabilities in:
- advanced therapies
- next generation imaging.
As one of the seven Life Science Opportunity Zones designated by the UK government the cluster draws on the campus’ diverse expertise and open access national laboratories to deliver world firsts and life-changing innovations.
As well as being central to the global COVID-19 effort, Harwell is also pioneering nucleic acid therapies and aims to provide new insights into disease and drug discovery at both a molecular and atomic level.
Energy Tech Cluster Harwell
The Harwell Energy Tech Cluster comprises 80 organisations employing more than 1,400 people on campus and directly links to a wider network of over 100 organisations across the UK. It connects the science and innovation assets at Harwell to industries spanning energy research, innovation and development.
The cluster members work closely with the UK government and regulators on the design and implementation of policies, informing consultations and providing strategic advice to diverse stakeholders on areas such as:
- innovative renewables
- zero carbon energy storage
- zero carbon fuels
- battery research
- connected and autonomous travel solutions
- digital transformation.
North West Space Cluster
The North West Space Cluster was recently launched on 26 May 2022 alongside the North West Space Cluster strategy which will direct the cluster development.
In the next year the cluster will work closely with industry, academia, regional and national partners to put the mechanisms in place to enable the growth and success of the cluster.
Starting with the joint-funding of a regional cluster post to manage this development and work with the North West Space Leadership Group to implement the strategy and achieve a number of set goals by 2030 including:
- doubling the number of space organisations in the north-west and increasing space research and development activity in the region
- growing investment into new technologies
- helping industry to solve innovation challenges.
HealthTec Cluster North West
The HealthTec Cluster is hosted at Sci-Tech Daresbury and led by:
- North West Coast Academic Health Science Network
- Innovation Agency.
Its aim is to bring together these hubs of expertise from across industry, academia, public sector, investor networks and entrepreneurs to stimulate innovation and tackle global challenges.
Phil Blything, CEO, Glow New Media said:
Connecting with the North West HealthTec Cluster is possibly the most important thing SMEs can do in their commercialisation journey.
The true benefit of representation, platform, introductions and advice collectively, and from stakeholders such as STFC, Innovation Agency, Health Innovation Exchange and KTN has been incalculable.
Digital Cluster at Daresbury
Launched in November 2021, the Digital Tech Cluster seeks to grow a critical mass of 100 digital tech companies in Daresbury and 300 across a wider network. The 1,000 jobs that the cluster will safeguard and create will support the levelling up initiative.
The cluster is supporting the leaders of high-growth digital tech companies with a comprehensive business support programme, strengthening their understanding of key growth topics.
Supported with investment-readiness workshops and pitching practise, the cluster companies are also able to access our investor network. Peer-to-peer learning through Chief Technology Officer meetups supports the community of tech leaders that we are building.
Future initiatives will help companies access new markets and technology.
Last updated: 18 July 2022