A commitment to support the construction of a new innovation centre at one of Staffordshireas leading employment sites is set to be made by the county council next month.

If agreed by the cabinet in January, the county council would invest AL2.02million in Innovation Centre 6 (IC6) at Keele University Science and Innovation Park.

It follows the completion in August of Innovation Centre 5 (IC5) at the site using a AL7million county council investment. The facility was created to house expanding high technology and professional services companies.A Two companies have already taken space on five-year commercial leases.

Innovation Centre 6 will add to the already thriving science and innovation park where the five established innovation centres, along with other facilities, house around 40 businesses employing over 600 people. The new centre would sit alongside an innovation leadership hub and a new home for Keele Management School in a new combined capital development. Funding for the project would also come from Keele University, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Governmentas Growth Deal. The total cost of the new capital development would be AL17.5million.

IC6 would bring more skilled jobs in the high technology sector, providing high quality lettable space for new innovative businesses, start-ups and tech entrepreneurs, alongside state-of-the-art shared facilities to foster university and business collaboration. IC6 would accommodate around 100 high value jobs.

In May this year, the county councilas cabinet announced its intention to pursue the project with Keele University, which will lead on the design and development of the centre. A report on IC6 will be discussed at next weekas Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee before going to Januaryas cabinet meeting.

Dr Mark Bacon, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Keele University, said: aOur partnership with Staffordshire County Council will enable us to further develop the opportunities available for local businesses and inward investment into Staffordshire. Our Science and Innovation Park offers access to world-renowned research, state-of-the-art facilities and highly-skilled academics and graduates, all of which can aid businesses in developing new products and services. Through the county councilas investment, we can support the growth of more businesses and help to bring more high value jobs into the local area.a

Staffordshire County Councilas economy leader Mark Winnington said: aKeele University Science and Innovation Park is the countyas leading site for innovation and research and we want to support its continued growth. The established innovation centres there are thriving and we are keen to see this expanded. We have an effective business partnership with Keele University which has grown stronger through the IC5 project. In May we set out our intention to go ahead with IC6 and now we are setting out our funding commitment. We have near full employment in Staffordshire and our drive now is to create high quality, skilled jobs, which IC6 will help to deliver.a

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