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14th February 2014, 9:03am
First director of Lincoln’s £14 million science park appointed
Director of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, Tom Blount The first director of the multi-million pound Lincoln Science and Innovation Park has started in post with a brief to drive forward Lincolnshire’s scientific and industrial legacy.

Tom Blount joins the visionary project, led by the University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-op, from the University of Warwick Science Park, where he has supported hundreds of novel technology companies to develop new products and services.

Boasting world class laboratories and research facilities, co-locating academia and industry on one site, the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP) will become a focal point for innovation and investment in science and technology across the region.  It is currently being constructed on an eleven-acre site off Tritton Road in the historic industrial heartland of Lincoln. The first buildings will open in summer 2014.

Tom brings extensive experience of business development in high-tech sectors, including management of investment funds, business incubation for start-ups and support for the ‘spin-out’ of academic research into commercial enterprises. He said he shared the vision of the founding partners that the LSIP would become a catalyst for business growth across the region by providing the infrastructure, networks and funding environment for high-tech businesses to flourish.

“We lead the world in some of the most important technology sectors of the 21st Century but we must work harder to ensure that the commercialisation and economic benefits of these technologies are rooted here in the UK,” Tom explained.

“First and foremost, at the LSIP, we are creating a community where the organic exchange of ideas, skills and funding between businesses and academia will bring mutual benefits.

“It will be at the heart of a network of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and like-minded businesses stretching across Lincolnshire and beyond. We will help to create highly skilled jobs, retain graduates, generate investment and stimulate the growth of new industries.”

Tom is particularly pleased to be working in the county which has produced pioneers of British science and engineering, including Newton, Boole, Ruston and Tritton.

“The strong belief in education and self-improvement that characterised those industrial and scientific greats endures through the LSIP’s close links with the University and Lincolnshire Co-op,” he said.

“At the heart of what we build will be an ethos of innovation, risk-taking, healthy competition, collaboration and endeavour – the principles that underpin British industrial excellence.”

During his time at the University of Warwick Science Park, Tom spearheaded scores of successful projects to commercialise breakthrough research and innovative ideas, advising on bids for funding and investment from a range of public and private sources.

He co-managed the Minerva Business Angel Network, enabling small and medium sized enterprises to secure capital from angel investors. He also led the £6 million Advantage Proof of Concept Fund, working with businesses, entrepreneurs and universities to transform high-tech research into viable business propositions, including a number of university ‘spin-outs’.

Initial investment in the LSIP by its founding partners totals £14 million. The centrepiece building, the Joseph Banks Laboratories, will open in summer 2014. It will be home to the University of Lincoln’s School of Pharmacy, School of Life Sciences and its new School of Chemistry, which welcomes its first students later this year.

Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “The Lincoln Science and Innovation Park is an investment in our region’s future. Tom’s appointment will ensure we have the right expertise in place to make the vision of the founding partners a reality.”

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “The Lincoln Science and Innovation Park is an essential component in the University’s strategy for academic development. We have recently created new Schools of Pharmacy, Chemistry, Mathematics and Engineering to add to existing Schools in Computer Science and Life Sciences, and they are all growing their research rapidly. There is a tremendous opportunity to spin out technology, and to integrate the College of Science closely with industrial collaborators.”

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