The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway

A centre of excellence for knowledge businesses

The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway is set to play a key role in the growing knowledge economy of Essex and the East of England.

University of Essex Knowledge GatewayThis prestigious development will provide a campus-style environment for growing and established companies that want to improve their competitive advantage through access to world-class research facilities and the potential for profitable knowledge transfer and collaboration.

The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway, adjacent to the University of Essex campus on the eastern edge of Colchester, builds on the University’s established track record of innovation and partnership with business. A cluster of knowledge-based companies, located in an attractive parkland setting, will enjoy the stimulating environment of a university campus with access to comprehensive conference, catering and leisure facilities on site.

A consented masterplan for the project is in place and infrastructure was completed in 2011 creating development ready sites. The potential of the Knowledge Gateway as a centre of excellence to accelerate business growth through innovation and collaboration was recently recognized by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. The LEP has awarded “Growing Places” loan funding of £2.4 million for the development of the  first phase of the Parkside Office village. This development is now on course to be built and ready for occupation by May 2014. It will offer nine small office units of between 1,200sq ft and 3,500 sq ft.


A dynamic growth opportunity . . .

  • Practical business support to deliver competitive advantage and accelerate growth.
  • Prime location in a cluster of knowledge businesses where the emphasis is on growth and collaboration
  • Access to a world-class university research organization specializing in social sciences and in technology areas such as digital lifestyle, robotics and artificial intelligence, future networks and telecare.
  • Opportunity to build business relationships with a vibrant research and business community.
  • An integrated business community with conference, catering, retail and leisure facilities on site.
  • Road, rail, air and sea access to UK and international markets.

Competitive advantage

Knowledge-based companies thrive in an environment where innovation, research and collaboration are a way of life. The success of many leading technology and life sciences companies is based on their ability to recreate the campus environment, but with a strong business focus. The proximity of the University of Essex provides a stimulating environment for business with a lively international community, a sense of energy and enthusiasm and new ways to approach business opportunities and challenges.

Companies locating in the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway will derive competitive advantage through five key elements . . .

  • Access to world-class research and a particular emphasis on quantitative data analysis
  • Knowledge transfer through the Research and Enterprise Office
  • Development opportunities through the Essex Business School with a particular emphasis on support for SMEs
  • Networking and collaboration with cluster of knowledge-based businesses
  • The “Libeskind project”

World-class research

By locating in the Essex Knowledge Gateway, you can grow your business in an environment with all the facilities in place for research, collaboration, innovation and product development. The University of Essex has an enviable reputation for research with almost a quarter of the University's research rated as world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise confirmed Essex's top ten position as one of the UK's elite research universities.

The University has particular research strengths in quantitative social sciences and technology areas linked to Big Data analytics  and other specialisms which are likely to be of particular interest to you if your business is engaged in the following sectors:

  • software development, telecommunications and technology
  • market research, survey design and data analysis
  • marketing , PR and publishing
  • legal, professional and business services
  • health and social care
  • assisted living
  • social enterprise, governmental and non-governmental organisations

Research and Enterprise Office 

The Research and Enterprise office (REO) can help your company tap into this expertise to support projects designed to improve profitability, productivity and competitiveness. The REO has a long history of working with companies in the East of England to add business value through collaborative research, knowledge transfer, exploiting intellectual property, access to expertise through consultancy, management training and conference facilities, as well as support for growing businesses and start-ups.

Essex Business School

Continuous professional development is important for knowledge businesses. You can draw on the resources of the Essex Business School, based on the university campus. It is the largest business school in Essex and will be relocating to a stunning new zero carbon building immediately, adjacent to the Knowledge Gateway and due for completion in 2014.  The Business School offers a wide range of business management and personal development courses on site, providing valuable opportunities to enhance your company’s skills base even further. The Business School has a reputation for excellence and was ranked second nationally for research in the Accounting and Finance subject area.It is currently developing new programmes with a particular focus on SMEs in time for the opening of its new building

Knowledge cluster

You can accelerate innovation and competitiveness by locating in the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway. The campus will provide accommodation for growing and established businesses in the knowledge and life sciences sector, creating a strategic cluster that fosters collaboration and knowledge transfer. It is now widely recognised that companies located in cluster-like environments (particularly when linked to higher education institutions) are better off in terms of innovation and competitiveness than other companies, according to Oxford Research.

Masterplan in place

The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway development masterplan provides for an integrated and sustainable development of a range of accommodation to suit both small and larger companies as well as leisure, hotel, restaurant, retail facilities and student and private housing.

Outline planning consent has been granted for the development of 37,161 sq m (400,000 sq ft) of commercial space. Within this, detailed planning permission has been granted for the Parkside office village of 3,018 sq m (32,488 sq ft) Bespoke buildings from 1,393 sq m (15,000 sq ft) and upwards are available on a leasehold basis and can be designed and built to occupier’s requirements.

An integrated business community

The University of Essex Knowledge Gateway will provide your business with a complete range of facilities on site. As well as the leisure, hotel, restaurant and retail facilities on the designated Knowledge Gateway site, you will have access to the extensive facilities on the university campus.

Conference and meeting facilities

If your company wants to host meetings in a stimulating environment or organise conferences and seminars, the facilities are right here. The University of Essex can cater for meetings and conferences from 2 to 1,000 delegates with a wide range of facilities from the elegant 18th century Wivenhoe House country house hotel to lecture theatres and the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall. The University is also home to the innovative iLab (innovation laboratory) experience. The iLab provides a unique setting for your board meeting, away day, team building, problem solving or strategic planning needs by taking teams away from their normal working environment and stimulating discussion using specialist technology and facilitator assistance.

Catering and retail

For eating and basic shopping, you and your employees will find everything on site. An a la carte menu is available at the Wivenhoe House hotel which has re-opened after extensive refurbishment. There is also a wide variety of café and restaurant facilities available all year round within the university campus. The University has a range of banks on site, as well as a post office, copy and print centre and a book store.

Sport and leisure

The University of Essex is home to one of the most advanced sports facilities in Essex following an investment of some £1.4 million in 2010. A wide range of indoor and outdoor facilities and activities are available to you, as a Knowledge Gateway occupier, through a “Passport to Sport” membership scheme. This offers tiers of unlimited usage suited to varying needs and abilities and includes access to the University’s Brightlingsea Watersports and Yacht Club.  .

The University Gallery supports local artists as well as showing exhibitions of work by world renowned contemporary artists and selections from the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (now known as ESCALA).  The Lakeside Theatre offers student productions as well as playing host to numerous touring professional companies.

Strategic location

The Essex Knowledge Gateway is ideally located for access to UK and international markets. The campus is on the eastern fringe of Colchester with good road access to the main A12 trunk road which is just 40 miles from the M25 and links to the national motorway network. The nearby A120 and A45 trunk roads provide easy access to the county’s seaports and airports.

London Stansted Airport, just 50 minutes away, is the third busiest airport in the UK, with more than 29 scheduled and charter airlines serving more than 150 destinations across 31 countries.

To support international logistics operations, airfreight services operate from London Stansted Airport, with international seaport facilities at Tilbury, London Gateway and Harwich. The resurgent Southend Airport, (approximately 1 hour away) also handles air freight.

Fast mainline rail routes link Colchester to London Liverpool Street station (approximately 55 minutes) and the rest of the UK rail network. Stratford International Station, (approximately 1 hour 6 minutes) adjacent to the London 2012 Olympic Village, opened in 2009 as part of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, providing high-speed rail services to France and Belgium.

Living in the Colchester area

Colchester and the surrounding area is a great place to live and work. It is England’s oldest recorded town and offers a huge choice of quality homes at competitive prices, excellent schools, first-class leisure facilities and an environment that gives the right work-life balance. The region has an excellent education system, with a number of outstanding selective schools regularly featuring in the top ten English state schools. 

The quality of life in the region is superb. Although it offers close proximity to central London and Cambridge, which means residents can enjoy the benefits of being close to world-famous cities, the area around Colchester also contains huge areas of unspoilt countryside and some of the most attractive landscapes in the country including the AONB of the Dedham Vale known as Constable Country. Also close to the coast for water sports and family activities. It offers superb leisure facilities, stunning historic towns and cities, a tremendous variety and quality of cultural experiences, and some of the finest shopping in the country.

Find out more . . .

David Rooke
David Rooke

Inward Investment Manager

+44 (0) 7989 380435


In a career spanning over 30 years David’s experience includes large-scale factory management and 17 years in inward investment. David has worked with a wide range of major corporates and organisations in the UK and overseas, advising on inward investment projects, business relocations, expansion and consolidation projects.