UNIVERSITY’S INNOVATIVE INVESTMENT
15 June 2017
Lincoln’s Bishop Grosseteste University is poised to create eight new jobs, after snapping-up a striking Grade II Listed period building for conversion to a research and innovation centre for local businesses.
Lincoln-based chartered surveyor Banks Long & Co has sold St Hughs on Newport to BGU represented by Lambert Smith Hampton commercial property consultants. The building is on the site of an Augustinian Friary and has been used as professional offices for many years.
It went on the market inviting offers in the region of £950,000.
Today Lincoln BGU Enterprise Development Manager and Innovation Centre Manager Mark Bowen revealed that the growing need for companies and organisations to clearly understand and make the most of “Open Data” through research and innovation is the driver behind its new venture.
“We are intending to refurbish St Hugh’s to create the Lincolnshire Open Research & Innovation Centre (LORIC). The work is expected to take about eleven months to complete, but we already have a live project running in the background,” said Mr Bowen.
“As a result of setting-up LORIC and our associated project BGU Business Inspiration, we are intending to create eight new jobs but, by the time we have reached our target we will be housing around 40 people at St Hughs.”
More important, the Centre will provide support for over 130 small-medium sized businesses and social enterprises to advance their innovations through using its services.
Open Data is increasingly in the news. The demand from businesses and organisations to be able to analyse and interpret large, complex datasets into “useable” information which they can easily work with is fast increasing.
In the future, the stars of the data scene will be people and businesses with the skills to interpret and connect different datasets in ways which will not only be easily accessible, but help businesses to find new opportunities and solve problems which they may not currently be aware of. They will not only be ‘tech’ and digital sector enterprises, but businesses in mainstream service, health, manufacturing, visitor economy, educational and skills sectors for example. They all have the potential to benefit from Open Data.
Insights could help to identify new, unmet market opportunities, and to develop new capabilities within a business to improve productivity, efficiency or profitability.
“At BGU, we are keen to develop the capacity of our research students and academic teams to work with organisations and to transform datasets into a language which end users can understand and use to add value in practical ways,” said Mr Bowen.
“For example, the services we are offering could be useful to help health and social care organisations to plan more effectively for the future. A business could find analysed data useful in helping them to understand changing patterns, needs and preferences within communities.”
Whilst the exact price paid for St Hughs remains underwraps, Mr Bowen revealed that the European Structural and Innovation Fund has contributed 60 per cent towards the cost of purchasing and refurbishing the building, with the University meeting the remainder.
Banks Long & Co Director William said: “We are delighted that this sale will further cement the reputation of BGU and facilitate a use that will act as a vital catalyst for growing local businesses.’’
Lambert Smith Hampton Director and Head of Lincoln Office Sam Elkington added: ‘‘This has been an exciting project to advise on and negotiate for BGU on the commercial terms of the deal. They have seen significant growth over recent years and this project shows the continued growth and ambitions of the University in this prime “up hill” area.’’