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HOK debates science hub creation

HOK was a vital contributor to our debate at 'Intelligent Cities' on the successful funding, development and design of urban knowledge hubs in the UK, with Imperial College London and Mitsui Fudosan.

The global design, architecture and engineering business, which is advising on the creation of new centres for Glasgow University - part of the £40 million research hub at Gilmorehill campus - and the Translational Research Facility for Cardiff University, is well known for its design of The Crick in London - which brought together six of the world's leading science and medical institutions. Encouraging cross-department and faculty collaboration is a core aim of the design of these new centres.

Managing Principal of HOK's London and European Studio, Daniel Hajjar, says that the debate on how innovation centres and science hubs are funded 'really needs to be brought to the politicians' attention. With The Crick, six institutions came together and government took notice, really putting this important knowledge quarter at King's Cross St Pancras on the map'.

David Height, Planning and Engineering Director at developer Mitsui Fudosan, remarked that ' activity in Austin (Texas), San Diego and San Francisco shows there is a clear trend in the research economy towards an urban cluster model rather than working in isolation on the fringes of cities. Successful commercialisation of research has already shown that this open innovation approach works, helped by the collaboration made possible by universities and commercial companies working in close proximity with plenty of informal meeting spaces."

But Daniel believes that funding models for investing in science research need to be looked at more critically and thinks that financial institutions in the UK are behind the curve when taking risks through investing in ideas - in both technology and in 'deep science', compared to the USA, 'We need to get science research ideas quickly to the market,' says Daniel.

See Daniel's clip above and watch him during the debate on our record of the web stream (at the 1 hour 50 minute mark) of the event:

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