Cardiff Capital Region joins sbarc|spark family

Press Releases - Cabinet

Shared mission brings benefits to Wales 


Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), the team dedicated to re-energising and reshaping South East Wales, is moving into Cardiff University’s sbarc|spark innovation hub.

CCR’s mission to connect people, opportunities and investment dovetails with sbarc|spark’s quest to create partnerships that bring lasting benefits to Wales.

sbarc|spark is a bespoke centre for innovative collaborations. Home to both the Social Science Research Park (SPARK) and Cardiff Innovations@sbarc|spark – the University’s hub for spinouts and start-ups – sbarc|spark provides the seedbed to grow successful collaborations.

Kellie Beirne, Director of the CCR, said:

“CCR and Cardiff University have lots in common, so our move to sbarc|spark made perfect sense. We both act as convenors and brokers for regional investment in South East Wales. We work closely across five priority areas in which Cardiff is research-excellent – Compound Semiconductors, Fintech, Cybersecurity, Creative and Medtech – and we jointly facilitate opportunities for business investment. Above all, we share the same commitment to making South East Wales a better place to live, work and thrive.”

sbarc|spark opened on St David’s Day (1 March). It is already home to public, private and third sector partners who enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with Cardiff University. New tenants include the Institute for Wales Affairs (IWA), data-driven business specialists Bipsync and SimplyDo, plus Nesta Cymru – the innovation agency for social good.

The Cardiff Capital Region £10m Challenge Fund team is already based in the centre. Working in partnership with the University and Y Lab – the public services innovation lab for Wales – the fund invites public sector bodies to develop challenges and connect with organisations that are able to provide innovative solutions.

Professor Damian Walford Davies, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who led the development of sbarc|spark, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Cardiff City Region team to our Home of Innovation. Our stars are clearly aligned. Co-locating alongside 13 groups and institutes in SPARK – the world’s first social science research park – will give CCR access to leading experts with the skills and vision to solve a range of society’s wicked problems, while giving Cardiff University access to CCR’s impressive range of business development projects and brokerage skills. In that sense, we are perfect partners.”

SPARK’s groups and centres include CASCADE, the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre; WISERD, the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods; the Welsh Economy Research Unit and the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health.

CCR is driven by the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal – the visionary joint commitment made in 2016 by the ten local authorities of the Cardiff Capital Region, UK Government and the Welsh Government to unlock £1.2bn of collective investment.


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