A GROUNDBREAKING science campus in Runcorn has won a prestigious national award.

Sci-Tech Daresbury has been hailed as the science campus making the most significant contribution to innovation in the UK.

The recognition came at the UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) member awards when the site was honoured for setting the pace in innovation and for supporting the growth of knowledge-based firms.

Sci-Tech Daresbury was also shortlisted for Best Project award for last year’s open week which attracted more than 7,500 members of the public.

John Downes, group managing director of Langtree and chairman of the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture company, said: “The last 12 months have been very strong with new developments in the Enterprise Zone and a record number of new companies joining our business community.

“This award underlines our reputation as a place where business can innovate and flourish and we are delighted to have won it.”

Since 2005, 95 per cent of Sci-Tech Daresbury companies have achieved three-year business survival rates which compares to a UK average of between 50 and 60 per cent for this sector. “Companies also achieved average sales growth rates of 30 per cent per year over the past five years with 41 per cent of these exports,” said Mr Downes.

“It is figures like these that helped us to attract 34 companies to the campus in 2016 and that also give us the confidence to increase investment.

“We have recently completed and opened the £20m Techspace One and Two building which are already attracting major interest.”

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a private-public joint-venture partnership between developer Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Halton Council.

STFC provides a range of facilities and support including rapid prototyping facilities, labs, analytical equipment, and computing/visualisation facilities.

It is also involved in running incubator programmes at Sci-Tech Daresbury to connect companies with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and the UK Space Agency.

Half of the companies work with STFC and more than two thirds collaborate with a university.

These links deliver £16.7 million of sales to companies.

Mr Downes added: “Collaboration, co-development and business support make a big impact on all the companies and organisations who locate here.

“The campus is deliberately designed and operated to encourage catalyse opportunities between SME businesses, corporates, academic institutions and public sector bodies.”