Five new businesses have moved into two innovation centres run by The Oxford Trust, the charity encouraging the pursuit of science and enterprise.

The companies are now based at The Oxford Centre for Innovation next to Oxford Castle and The Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington’s Global Health & Life Sciences District.

In addition, two current occupiers have taken expansion space, bringing the total new space taken during lockdown to 4,000 sq ft.

One of the new businesses is Spintex, founded in 2018 from Oxford University by three co-founders, artificially spins high performance silk fibres produced through a spider-inspired process which uses no hazardous chemicals, with water as its only by-product, to provide a solution to sustainable and technical textiles.

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Spintex has taken technical R&D laboratory workspace at The Wood Centre for Innovation as part of its next growth phase, which is to fine-tune its engineering process, raise additional funding, and further reduce manufacturing costs to commercial levels ahead of scale-up.

Alex Greenhalgh, founder of Spintex, said: “We chose The Wood Centre because as our business develops, we needed immediate expansion space. It’s great to be part of a community which is made up of so many different companies while being located in Oxford and surrounded by lovely woodland!”

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Akrivia Health, the specialists in mental health patient data, has taken office space in the recently refurbished basement rooms at The Oxford Centre for Innovation.

Living Optics, which was spun out from Oxford University’s Physics Department to commercialise the next generation of imaging technology, has also taken flexible office space at The Oxford Centre for Innovation.

In addition, PrintPool Additive Manufacturing, which offers subscription based 3D printing services for small engineering, architecture and product design teams, is to move to a technical workspace at The Wood Centre for Innovation.

SSEN (Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks), which is working on a £40m Innovate UK-funded scheme called Project LEO ‘Local Energy Oxfordshire’ alongside another Wood Centre for Innovation occupier, the Low Carbon Hub, has taken space in the same centre. Their vision is to transform the way energy is delivered by creating a more responsive and flexible electricity grid through local households, businesses and communities.

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Melanie Brice, Oxfordshire programme director, SSEN said: “The Wood Centre for Innovation matches our needs perfectly, with the low energy, sustainably sourced building design, the installed EV chargers and integration of the on-site STEM learning for primary school children. The space itself has an ideal mix of meeting rooms, office space, conference rooms and outdoor areas which give lots of options for collaboration with our partners, especially co-residents the Low Carbon Hub.”

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The two companies which have taken additional expansion space at The Oxford Centre for Innovation are ColdQuanta UK and Visual Meaning.

ColdQuanta UK is working on quantum technologies, including a £4m Innovate UK grant-funded project and has doubled its space.

Visual Meaning, which provides a combination of visual and systems thinking techniques to support organisational transformation, has also significantly expanded its space.

The centres have workspace ranging from 100 sq ft to 5,000+ sq ft, from virtual office space and co-working space through to large offices, technical workspace and R&D labs. In July and August, The Oxford Trust has seen unprecedented enquiries for innovation space with an increase of 210% from 10 to 31 enquiries for the Oxford Centre for Innovation and 767% from six to 52 enquiries for the Wood Centre for Innovation.

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Steve Burgess

Steve Burgess, chief executive officer of The Oxford Trust, said: “We warmly welcome our newest businesses to our thriving innovation community in our two centres. They all have exciting stories to tell, with many working on leading edge start-up ideas, and are joining a like-minded business community of go-ahead science and tech businesses. We wish them continued success on their innovation journey.

"We have seen strong demand for our space, and while our city innovation centre is again now nearing full occupancy, our Wood Centre for Innovation, which opened in 2019 is seeing many enquiries from science and technology companies needing work and lab space under more flexible Covid-19 sensitive conditions.”

Both centres are managed by Oxford Innovation, a spin-out from The Oxford Trust, which today runs 26 innovation centres.