24 May 2021

Midas commences construction of the University of Southampton Science Park Engineering Centre

Midas Construction has commenced work on an innovative Southampton engineering centre which will become home to a range of new technologies aiming to create a sustainable future.

The Engineering Centre will enhance collaboration opportunities for the University of Southampton Science Park and local business within the Enterprise M3 LEP area of influence. It will also house the Future Towns Innovations Hub (FTIH), which will deliver a joint industry-academic Centre of Excellence by bringing together cutting edge ideas, commercial expertise and state-of-the-art research laboratories to advance innovation for the benefit of everyone in the Enterprise M3 area and beyond.

This partnership working also aims to provide a physical space for business and enterprise to access and interact with world leading expertise, skills, and facilities available within one of the UK's most outstanding engineering groups; in an environment that nurtures creativity and innovation.

The state-of-the-art building will provide specialist laboratory facilities that will support a range of sectors such as eco-hydraulics, electronics, transport research, aerospace, energy, unmanned systems and a number of hydraulic flumes.  Wave force tanks and anechoic chambers designed to deaden sound are among the elements to be developed by Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, one of the UK’s largest independent construction and property services providers.

The development also adheres to key environmental design principles to support the University of Southampton’s commitment to the efficient use of resources to both reduce carbon emissions and water consumption.

Chris Webb, Operations Manager for the Southern Division of Midas Construction, said: “This is a dynamic science park with a track record of collaboration between academia and business, leading to positive and sustainable change for the better.  We are looking forward to supporting all concerned with our contribution to this development.

“The scheme will add further local economic value through the provision of work experience placements and apprenticeships. Midas is passionate about offering opportunities to learn more about the industry, gain on-site experience and support people into a rewarding career in construction.  The Engineering Centre will be an exciting scheme for our trainees to be part of.”

Southampton Science Park CEO, Dr Robin Chave, commented: “Southampton Science Park is the south of England’s home to successful science and technology businesses. From start-up through scale-up to industry-leading multinational enterprises, the Science Park empowers innovative organisations based here to break through and prosper nationally and internationally. Hence, we are uniquely positioned to host this new engineering-focused facility and delighted to be at the forefront of this exciting initiative. I’m absolutely confident that the positive societal impacts arising from the outputs of this new centre will resonate significantly beyond our region’s boundaries and for generations to come.”

The development was secured through the Procurement Partnerships Framework, a four-year scheme focused on public sector bodies.

Frameworks add value for customers through early contractor involvement and simplify procurement by connecting customers with the industry’s leading contractors. They also provide the opportunity for Midas to win repeat business and further its strategy to build long-term relationships.

Phil Osborne, Key Account Manager, Procurement Partnerships Framework, said: “Procure Partnerships are delighted to have been able to assist Southampton Science Park and The University of Southampton along with Currie & Brown to select Midas through a single stage tender call off option.”

Professor Mark Spearing, Vice President of Research and Enterprise at the University of Southampton said: “This is a very important investment from the University that will maximise the impact of our research related to the environmental and sustainability challenges faced by local towns and their businesses. We look forward to working with businesses throughout our community, helping them find solutions to these challenges and ensure towns in our region and across the UK can meet the demands of the modern world.”

The Future Towns Innovation Hub has been established to help make towns in the Enterprise M3 area happier, healthier, and cleaner places to live. The Hub will bring together the exceptional research activities of the University of Southampton with businesses along the M3 corridor to focus on transforming and connecting our towns and small cities. Enterprise M3 LEP is funding almost £3m from the government’s Local Growth Fund along with £1.5m from Research England, to support the £14m project.

Enterprise M3’s Head of Policy and Strategy, Sue Littlemore, said: “Our Local Industrial Strategy and Recovery and Renewal Action Plan highlight the importance of ensuring our towns provide a sustainable, vibrant, high quality of life for our businesses, employees and their families.

“The impact of Covid-19 lends that vision an extra impetus. The Future Towns Innovation Hub will offer world-leading engineering research excellence from the University of Southampton to business partners and town leaders to offer opportunities and practical solutions to real problems, including some of our greatest environmental challenges.”

Professor Paul Kemp, the Innovation Director of the Future Towns Innovation Hub said: “This is an exciting opportunity to apply our research to help towns in the region recover and renew from the economic impact of the pandemic. Although the Innovation Hub is still under construction, we have already begun to forge working relationships with local authorities and other innovators to start work grasping the opportunities and addressing the challenges our towns and high streets face.”

Work on the Engineering Centre is already underway and due to be complete in early 2022. 

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