View of social seating and co-working space located within Northumbria University Business Incubator

Northumbria University Business Incubator

The Incubator is a direct intervention by the University to address regional innovation and enterprise performance by providing investment in an enabling research environment to increase the number of businesses and jobs within the local and regional economy.

The Incubator will also develop the University’s growing reputation as a leading entrepreneurial institution and provides opportunities for alumni, local businesses, investors etc. to engage with and support the University.

A range of research enterprises are being developed to create philanthropic funding to support activity in the Incubator.

Project aims

  • An innovative new enterprise facility designed to focus all of Northumbria’s entrepreneurial support and expertise into a central hub located in its campus
  • To support businesses, student start-ups, academic spin-outs and graduate-led enterprises, and offer wrap-around business and innovation/research support services, entrepreneurship training, management guidance and mentoring
  • Accessibility - the new building will be fully accessible with workspaces for individuals and teams which comply with legislative standards
  • Visibility - the new development will provide a clear location for its services with a distinct, separate entrance to the facility
  • Connectivity - the new facility will be IT rich, providing connectivity to both the University’s own structured data network and the wider internet. The facility will enable agile working, remote working and virtual meetings (including but not limited to both teleconferencing and video conferencing)
  • The new facility will provide a safe and supported environment for students, staff, business partners and visitors
  • Identity - though the facility will be UNN branded, it will be identified as a standalone facility for research and innovation
View of social seating, co-working space and meeting room located within Northumbria University Business Incubator

The SPACE approach

The proposals for the refurbishment maximised the existing floor plan and worked with the existing structure to allow the available budget to be accommodated. The front of house extension provides a new entrance and exhibition space, providing a statement of intent and gravitas to this centre of research and innovation.

Our concept focused heavily on biophilic principles through the use of timber and natural materials, daylighting and connection to outside space to benefit occupant health and wellbeing.

The existing steel and concrete structure remained exposed in an industrial aesthetic to minimise embodied carbon and waste, whilst delivering the project to a tight budget.

As part of a longer-term vision, SPACE also worked with University stakeholders to develop proposals for co-located academic space which would bring together academic and industry communities in a collaborative workspace. This would be fronted by a signature entrance and exhibition space which would showcase world-class enterprise and innovation from University spin-outs.

Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for employability and partnerships at Northumbria, said:"Our new Incubator will take this to the next level as a purpose-built workspace with access to a range of support and mentoring services and a central location in Newcastle close to all transport links.

"The aim is to offer the perfect environment to grow the next generation of student and graduate entrepreneurs.

"Looking ahead, our ambitions include creating a shared vision and facility for accelerator and scale-ups in partnership with key stakeholders across the North East, and I would encourage business organisations to support our Enterprise Club and Enterprise Fund."

Closer detail of lime green chair in social seating area located within Northumbria University Business Incubator