Building 21st century Britain - Sunderland University Enterprise & Innovation Centre


TClarke North MD Kevin Mullen looks at a series of projects delivered by our team in Sunderland which make a major contribution to building the nation for the 21st century

This new centre to support enterprise and innovation in Sunderland and the wider North-East could produce up to 650 jobs. Sunderland Enterprise and Innovation Hub, being developed by the University of Sunderland, is expected to attract and create over 120 innovative growth businesses over five years, generating around 250 jobs, with a further 400 created over the longer term.

The centre will offer laboratory space, space to trial new ideas and bring them closer to market, and also space for creative businesses. Companies who come here will also be able to access world-leading academic expertise, student and graduate support, and a network of other professionals. Within the new centre there will be a focus on the University of Sunderland’s specialist areas - advanced manufacturing, health, sciences and the creative industries.

For TClarke this is another partnership with Clugston working for the University. However, this time we also have various end users to cater for. The M&E project is split over two areas, one being the refurbishment of a three storey listed building (levels 1,3,5), with the construction of a new build joining onto it (levels 2,4,6&7).

Within the final building, end users and small businesses can use individual office areas, workshops, a Fab Lab area and conference rooms to start up, develop and promote themselves. Programmed to complete at the end of November 2016, we are installing all the M&E Services, again working with our long term partners Malones.

introducing the FabLab concept

Housed within the new centre will be the North-East’s first ‘FabLab’ – an innovative project started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, which enables people to prototype and try out new product ideas.

FabLabs are packed with 3D printers, CAD software, scanners, and CNC machines which allow entrepreneurs, small businesses, students and schools to experiment with new products, with the support and expertise to bring them to market. Shirley Atkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “The Hub will be a crucial driver for growth in enterprise and innovation in Sunderland and the wider region.