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Inside the National Composites Centre
Image credit: National Composites Centre

From the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to Bottle Yard Film Studios, the innovation to come out of these dedicated centres has national and global impact.

Centres of excellence

Our region is home to many centres of excellence across a number of sectors. These include:

Bristol Robotics Laboratory building Image credit: Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the UK’s most definitive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research. It’s a partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol and is a community of over 450 academics, researchers, and industry experts. BRL leads globally in advancements in service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems, and bio-engineering.

The facilities of this globally-renowned centre cover 50,000 square feet.

Bristol and Bath Science Park building

The Bristol & Bath Science Park (BBSP) offers facilities and services designed to enhance the performance and success of science and technology companies.

It provides a unique environment in which individuals and businesses can innovate and inspire.

Film set of Poldark Image credit: Red Planet/ITV

Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated film and TV studio facility in the West of England.

The studios can accommodate productions of all scales, with stages up to 22,000 square feet wide and 70 feet high. All facilities are available for long or short-term hire, at competitive rates.

Bottle Yard Studios’ most notable productions include Poldark, The Crystal Maze, and Broadchurch.

CAMERA headgear Image credit: IDPS, University of Bath

The Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) has been funded by the EPSRC and the University of Bath. It exists to accelerate the impact of research in the areas of computer science, health, and psychology.

CAMERA works with a range of partners to apply its research in these three areas: creative science and technology; digital health and assistive technology; and human performance enhancement.

Centre for Modelling and Simulation technology and wires Image credit: Centre for Modelling & Simulation

The Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) is an independent digital engineering research organisation. It offers design and analysis services, consultancy, and IT infrastructure to help organisations envision solutions for new products.

The CFMS collaborates across industry, academia and research organisations. This includes a range of research projects funded through Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), i3P, FlyZero and more.

Man at a computer using virtual reality goggles

Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI) is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority. It’s delivered by the NCC in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS) and Digital Catapult as well as three leading universities: UWE, Bristol, and Bath. Industry partners include Airbus, GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce.

DETI unites engineering companies, digital technology pioneers, and universities to shape the future of digital engineering, securing the UK’s engineering leadership. It helps businesses adopt the technology and processes they need to accelerate digital engineering capabilities and embed digital into their operations.

FoodWorksSW building Image credit: FoodWorksSW

The FoodWorks SW is a food and drink innovation hub which has eight 1,000 sq ft and four 1,500 sq ft purpose-built food-grade business units, available to lease.

The hub features four product development rooms and a fully-equipped kitchen, allowing any business to upscale production or experiment with pilots or new lines. Practical technical support is available to help food businesses advance. Food Works also provides learning and collaborative opportunities and serves as a centre of expertise for businesses at local, regional, or national levels.

Future Space interior office space Image credit: UWE

Co-located with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Future Space drives UWE’s ambitions to prepare students with entrepreneurial skills, spark collaboration between researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs, and commercialise the latest research.

Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation, who started by creating Europe’s first innovation centre. They now manage a growing network of over 20 centres across the UK.

The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems building Image credit: IAAPS

Based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) provides 11,300m2 of research and development (R&D) facilities, education resources, and research cells.

The IAAPS features modern engine and chassis dynamometers as well as laboratories for combustion research. It features well-funded systems for the advancement of electrification technologies, including battery management and energy storage systems.

IAAPS will be one of the first commercially available facilities to include cells designed for developing high-voltage battery packs, supercapacitors, new cell designs, and other high-energy electrical storage technologies.

The National Composites Centre colleagues and equipment Image credit: NCC

The National Composites Centre (NCC) is one of seven world-class centres comprising the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) research centre.

At the HVMC, businesses of various sizes and sectors can access new technology and specialist engineers to drive innovation for composites.

Students looking in microscopes

Science Creates is a Bristol-based deep tech ecosystem, backed by successful entrepreneurs who help scientists and engineers accelerate their ideas and build innovative businesses from scientific discoveries.

In partnership with the University of Bristol, Science Creates aims to make Bristol a global centre for deep tech. The centre combines specialist incubator facilities (laboratory, office and event space) for deep tech start-ups, a network of strategic partners, and a dedicated venture capital fund.

Quantum Technology Innovation Centre graphic Image credit: Quantum

External investment of £90 million has been made into world-leading quantum technologies research at the University of Bristol. The University will establish a new £43 million Quantum Technology Innovation Centre to advance life sciences’ industrial impact in three areas:

  • Improving the speed of genomic data processing and drug discovery
  • Quantum-enhanced sensing and imaging for diagnostic devices and cell biology
  • Quantum communication for data security, e.g. medical records
Test tube and scientist

Based at the University of Bristol, this is the first centre of excellence for vaccine-preventable diseases outside of the USA. The centre is funded by coronavirus vaccine manufacturer Pfizer, and will research the development of the next generation of vaccines.

Pfizer initially invested £4.6 million into the centre, which is led by Adam Finn. In addition to his role as professor of paediatrics at the university, he also leads Bristol’s Vaccine Centre and the city’s COVID-19 emergency research group, UNCOVER.

Lady smiling at a computer

SETsquared is the global #1 University Business Incubator. It’s a long-standing enterprise partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey, which specialises in growing technology start-ups through its world-class business support programmes.

SETsquared Bristol

Based at Engine Shed, it has supported over 200 ventures across sectors including telecoms, automotive, biotech and security. Since launching in 2002, its members have collectively raised over £432 million.

SETsquared Bath

Offers workspace, business acceleration and inspiration for high-growth companies and their creator, and provides business acceleration programmes including mentoring, training, and access to investors. It has helped over 1,000 start-ups raise more than £1bn of investment. The three ERDF-funded Business Acceleration Hubs are working to accelerate 360 early-stage Digital, Advanced Engineering, and Sustainable Tech businesses over the next three years.


The West of England is also supported by four esteemed universities.

University projects

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Centres of excellence

Bath Spa University

Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries (CCCI) is a strategic research centre focusing on interdisciplinary research that engages arts, culture, humanities, science, and technology. CCCI is a strategic research centre, drawing together academics and practitioners, both within Bath Spa University, as well as facing outward, engaging our city, our region, and our world.

Since its inception, CCCI has been awarded three large-scale multi-partner research grants. These programmes have enabled multiple colleagues from Bath Spa to participate in cutting-edge collaborative research.

Centres of excellence

University of Bath

The University of Bath is home to many centres of excellence. Scroll through the images below to find more about the following organisations: Institute of Coding; Centre for Autonomous Robotics; Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science; Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies; Advanced Design & Manufacturing Culture; Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

University of Bath

Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding (IoC) is a collaborative national consortium of industry, educators and outreach providers that are working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap.

Launched in January 2018 in response to the UK’s digital skills gap, with £20-million in funding from the Office for Students, the IoC is focused on providing a fresh and disruptive approach to digital learning that incorporates industry input at all points and keeps the focus on diversity and inclusion. Together, they’re creating a change in the way we equip people with digital skills.

University of Bath

Centre for Autonomous Robotics

Centre for Autonomous Robotics are taking research beyond the lab to develop a new generation of smart, flexible, robust and interconnected robotic systems fit for use in the real world.

The Centre for Autonomous Robotics research focuses on six core themes: AI and Machine Learning, Control and decision making in autonomous robotics, Real world deployment and application in autonomous-systems, Rehabilitation and assistive robotics, Robotics and autonomous platform and infrastructure engineering and Sensing and perception in autonomous robotics.

University of Bath

Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science study the environment of the Earth and near-Earth space and their effects on advanced technological systems. The Centre is home to a number of academics, researchers and research students from different Departments.

The Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science engage in interdisciplinary research, receive significant external funding and collaborate with leading national and international research groups. The centre has strong collaborations with the Met Office and the British Antarctic Survey.

University of Bath

Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies

The Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) places fundamental concepts of sustainability and circularity at the core of research, innovation, training and outreach in applied science and engineering. Their work applies a whole system approach to the following areas: Clean energy; Bio-based resources and production; Sustainable materials; Chemical and bio-chemical processes; Waste valorisation and recycling.

The Centre has received over £40M in funding since its establishment in 2008 and has graduated more than 85 PhD students, involves over 80 academic staff and interacts with over 40 external partners. Through STBAH, one of Centre’s innovation programmes, it has worked with 120 SMEs to help generate £14M of grant income and £12M of investment.

University of Bath

Advanced Design & Manufacturing Culture

Advanced Design and Manufacturing Centre (ADM@Bath) research looks to the future of design and manufacturing, covering all the lifecycle stages for products, processes and systems. Research tackles the global and social challenges faced by industrial sectors now and in the future.

The University is now home to a Renishaw AM250 Selective Laser Melting machine, significantly enhancing Bath’s advanced manufacturing capabilities. Student competition teams the centre supports and mentors some of the student competition teams including Team Bath Racing and Team Bath Drones.

University of Bath

Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology carries out interdisciplinary research bridging science and engineering. Home to a group of academics from the fields of physics, chemistry, computer science, biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, and engineering.

The Centre brings together experimental, theoretical and computational expertise in nanoscience and includes both creators and users of nanotechnologies, via the organisation of cross-departmental seminars, workshops and networking events.