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13 Mar 2019

The Science Oxford Centre and Wood Centre for Innovation Completes

This week The Oxford Trust received keys to the new Science Oxford Centre (SOC) and adjoining Wood Centre for Innovation (WCFI), located at Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry, Oxford.

From September 2019, this unique £13m development designed by ADP, will welcome primary-aged children from across the region to experience a wide range of STEM-inspired activities in the Science Oxford Centre’s exhibition zone, workshop and woodland. It will also be home to some of the region’s most exciting new high-tech businesses and entrepreneurs – in the stunning, purpose-built Wood Centre for Innovation, named after the Trust’s patrons Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood.

The keys were handed over on 12th March at a special ceremony, which was attended by staff from the Trust, Beard Construction, Sir Martin and Lady Wood and the Leader of the City Council Susan Brown. The Trust also unveiled a specially-commissioned sculpture to mark the occasion. Designed by local artist David Harbour, the Ohm sculpture celebrates the Woods’ 90th birthdays and the amazing contribution they have made to science and innovation in Oxfordshire.

The Science Oxford Centre will be the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor science education centre for primary and early years children, delivering exciting curiosity-based activities that combine both natural and physical sciences. The Exploration Zone at the centre's core, is a hands-on science exhibition that challenges children to explore, experiment, observe and share their discoveries through scientific play. The surrounding 15-acre woodland area, complete with ponds, walkways and grassland, will offer young people a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy outdoor, as well as indoor, STEM activities.

The Wood Centre for Innovation will provide purpose-built office space and support for start-up and grow-on science and tech companies. The new centre is located close to clinical research facilities at local hospitals and Oxford Brookes University. This advantageous location perfectly positions the centre’s high tech business residents at the core of transformational research and discovery, enabling easy access to this fast-paced and growing community. The site also boasts a café and flexible 100-seat theatre venue that will be a fantastic resource for the local community and schools as well as hosting business and public events.

Steve Burgess, CEO of the Oxford Trust says “Our mission – as established by Sir Martin and Lady Wood back in 1985 when they founded the Trust – is to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise and it has been a long-held dream to develop a site that helps us do just that. These two new centres will enable us to inspire more young people about science and add capacity to Oxfordshire’s dynamic innovation ecosystem.”

The project has just been announced as a finalist of the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards for Project of the Year. The winner will be announced on 27th June.