The Rt Hon. the Lord Willetts Inaugurates Centre of Engineering Excellence at Southampton Science Park

The Right Honourable Lord Willetts, Chair of the UK Space Agency Board and former Minister of State for Universities and Science, officially unveiled a new regional center for engineering excellence at the University of Southampton Science Park.

This Engineering Centre marks the latest addition to Southampton Science Park’s impressive array of accommodations tailored for science and technology enterprises. The facility boasts specialised laboratories, workshops, office spaces, and collaboration areas designed to cater to various industrial sectors, including eco-hydraulics, electronics, transport research, aerospace, energy, unmanned systems, and several hydraulic flumes. Additionally, the Centre houses the Future Towns Innovation Hub, a collaborative effort between the University of Southampton, the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and Research England.

The engineering sector holds significant importance in the UK, employing over six million individuals (comprising 19% of the workforce). Forecasts suggest that this sector will continue to expand, driven by the increasing demand for engineering skills and innovation in line with net-zero emissions goals.

Lord Willetts expressed his pleasure, stating, “It is a great pleasure to be here, my first public engagement since being made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering earlier this month. This prestigious new facility which shines a light on the engineering talent that we have here on the south coast and provides a platform from which the sector can build and flourish. Judging by the people and companies that I’ve met here today, there’s no doubt that Southampton Science Park’s growing reputation, exemplified by projects like these, is making a meaningful contribution to the sustainable growth and prosperity of our region. I am delighted to be declaring it officially open.”

Dr. Robin Chave, Chief Executive of Southampton Science Park, expressed gratitude to all project partners for their contributions in bringing this vital project to fruition. He also thanked Lord Willetts and all the attendees who witnessed firsthand how this bespoke facility fosters innovation and entrepreneurship in the engineering domain, contributing significantly to regional development. Chave expressed confidence that businesses and academics based in this new center of excellence will thrive.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, emphasised the significance of the Engineering Centre and the Future Towns Innovation Hub as a substantial investment from the University and its partners. He highlighted the facility’s role in facilitating smart collaboration between academia and business, promoting the commercialization of research, skill development, and talent retention within the Southampton area.

Southampton Science Park, covering 72 acres, stands as the innovation hub of the South of England, offering a wide range of commercial offices, laboratories, meeting, and conference facilities to support both startups and leading technology enterprises. For more information about Southampton Science Park, visit

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