Cardiff University to get $482m ‘innovation’ centre

Cardiff University in Wales is to build the "world’s first social science research park" and three other facilities at a cost of $482m. 

Colin Riordan, the vice-chancellor of the university, said the aim of the new campus would be to turn research into "solutions to pressing problems facing society and the world". 

The university will build a social science research park, or Spark. It will consist of an innovation centre, a translational research facility and a research institute for compound semiconductor technology. 

The aim of the Spark is to increase capacity for postgraduate research and encourage a collaborative learning and working environment for creating, sharing and applying new knowledge. 

The Innovation Centre plans to offer start-up companies high-quality, affordable space, advice and support on flexible terms so that their companies can grow and become independent. University spin-outs, staff, graduate entrepreneurs and local people with business ideas would all be able to access the centre. 

The proposed research institute for semiconductor technology would demonstrate and test compound semiconductors in realistic environments. It would provide facilities that allow for greater engagement with industry. 

Riordan said: "Cardiff Innovation system will help us demonstrate the relevance of our work to the communities we serve, better connect industry, business, government and charities with our academics, and nurture student entrepreneurship and grass-roots business development." 

Riodran told the BBC: "What we’re going to do is come up with a new way of doing innovation. We want to orientate the university and all of its capacity towards innovation in a way that I don’t think has been done before." 

Cardiff university has 28,000 students and last month moved back into the top 125 of world universities.

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