History

Laboratory research at Begbroke dates back to 1960

Begbroke History Image

To watch a short video presentation about Begbroke Science Park click here.

The site of the Oxford University Begbroke Science Park has been occupied since the Iron Age; an Anglo-Saxon settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Book, and remains from the site are on view in the Ashmolean Museum. Through the centuries the site was used for farming. The 17th century Jacobean farmhouse has been sensitively restored, and now houses offices and conference facilities. Research at Begbroke dates from 1960, when Begbroke Hill Farm became the HQ of the Weed Research Organisation. In the 1980s, the Cookson group bought the site for its Technology Centre, and in 1998, it was snapped up by Oxford University. Begbroke’s first Academic Director, Professor Brian Cantor, masterminded the installation of £7.8m of atomic engineering and analysis equipment in early 1999. Following Department of Materials’ arrival, the remaining space at Begbroke attracted local science-based start-up businesses, keen to work more closely with Oxford University. The first three months of 1999 saw the opening of the Park’s Business Incubator; the arrival of Nanox - its first spin-out; and the AEA Advanced Materials Centre (which became Oxford Materials Characterisation Service). This was the beginning of the University: Business model - a model so winning that some of its first tenants still remain on site.history 2 The Oxford University Begbroke Science Park was officially launched by Lord Sainsbury and Vice Chancellor Colin Lucas in summer 2000. Professor Cantor was succeeded in 2002 by Professor Peter Dobson, Queen’s College fellow and serial founder of Nanotechnology spin-out companies, as Academic Director. Under his pioneering direction, a further 6000m2 of bespoke office and laboratory space was added. history 3Begbroke today is a cross-departmental research facility and science park with 12 000 m² office/laboratory space for 20 research groups and 30 high-tech science-based businesses and spin-outs; a conference venue and business training centre; a technical services provider; an educational establishment - and  a key employer in the Cherwell district. It embodies the University's commitment to promoting Oxfordshire as a hub for knowledge-intensive activities. Significant improvements were made to the infrastructure in 2012, a new access road from the A44 paving the way for future development. The building of the Begbroke Innovation Accelerator, adding 5400m², was announced as part of Oxford City Deal by Chancellor George Osborne in early 2014.

 For more information about Begbroke Science Park, and to be a part of its future, contact enquiries@begbroke.ox.ac.uk