iCAST Creative Hub launches at Swindon’s Carriage Works

The Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST) Creative Hub was officially launched at its new base at the historic Carriage Works in Swindon yesterday.


At the core of iCAST, the Creative Hub aims to provide a Business–Academic gateway for collaboration, particularly for high-growth SMEs, who are seeking to gain access to iCAST’s academic expertise, equipment and facilities.  The Hub focuses on driving iCAST’s engagement with these businesses to assist with R&D commercialisation.


A key feature of the Hub is to run Creative Workshops to provide a dynamic environment driven by creative thinking where innovation and application challenges can be identified and prioritised.  The workshops aim to enable diverse teams to develop solutions across integrated technical/commercial areas and supply chains and identify the best investment strategies to develop Joint Industry Projects or identify sources of private or public funding to support delivery.


iCAST is excited to count businesses across Swindon and Wiltshire among its members, be a core part of the regeneration of Brunel’s Carriage Works and be at the forefront of the reinvigoration of Swindon’s innovation-led heritage.


The opening event took place in front of an audience of researchers, industry partners and other key local and regional stakeholders, with speeches being made by Professor Sarah Hainsworth OBE FREng (Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath), RT Hon Sir Robert Buckland MP, Cllr Jim Robbins (Leader of Swindon Borough Council), Colin Skellett OBE (Chair of Business West) and the iCAST team, Professors Matthew Davidson from the University of Bath and Charlotte Williams OBE FRS from the University of Oxford.  


Professor Matthew Davidson said “It is great news that our Creative Hub is now open for business. iCAST’s partnership of the Universities of Bath and Oxford, The National Composites Centre, the Centre for Process Innovation and SETsquared brings a unique wealth of research and innovation expertise to help iCAST’s cluster of over 100 clean tech companies deliver sustainable innovations. 


We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to develop our activities from such an historically relevant and strategically important base as Brunel’s Carriage Works in Swindon. The welcome and support we have received from Swindon Borough Council, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and other regional bodies has already been fantastic, and we are very excited to be working together ever more closely to help Swindon, iCAST and the companies we support reach their potential in delivering clean, sustainable growth.”


Cllr Jim Robbins declared the iCAST Creative Hub open for business, stating “I am delighted to open the Creative Hub at iCAST, and am really excited about the opportunities that it will bring the town. I’m determined to see Swindon really become the hub for great research in the UK, using our links with UKRI, Innovate and Research England.  


iCAST will really help the Council deliver on our net zero and sustainability targets, and it is fantastic to have an innovation centre opening in one of the buildings first used by Brunel’s hugely innovative railway works. 


I’m pleased that the Universities of Bath and Oxford have chosen Swindon as the home for the ground-breaking collaboration, and keen to see the research and the innovations that the centre will deliver!”