NEWS24 June 2020

COVID-19 has accelerated innovation in Surrey

A survey amongst Surrey Research Park tenants reveals that over 50% of respondents are pivoting their business or diversifying their product range or service as a result of COVID-19.

Surrey Research Park is home to some of the county’s most innovative and dynamic businesses from a range of sectors including healthcare, MedTech, immersive technology/games, FinTech, space, environmental and software development.  Research conducted amongst tenants on the impact of Coronavirus on their organisations reveals that 57% of respondents are diversifying their product range or service as a result of the pandemic, whilst over a third (35%) have identified a new application for their technology and 39% have accelerated innovation within their organisation.

Over half of respondents believe that the impact of COVID-19 will result in an increase in innovation and over one third (35%) believe it will lead to an increase in UK manufacturing. Only 7% think the Coronavirus pandemic will stifle innovation.

The innovations from Surrey Research Park tenants are diverse and include:

“The survey results are testament to the high level of resilience, agility and innovation that has always underpinned the culture at the Park,” comments Malcolm Parry, CEO, Surrey Research Park.  “We know that it is a particularly challenging time for businesses across all sectors, but it is encouraging that so many of our tenant organisations are reviewing their businesses, seizing new opportunities and rapidly adapting to current market needs.”

According to the findings, there is concern about funding for innovation, with respondents believing that, for new technologies, there will be a reduction in funding from the Government (28%) and from private/angel investors (38%). Not surprisingly, respondents felt that most investment would be in the healthcare sector, 52% think there will be an increase in funding in MedTech/healthcare but only 14% believe there will be an increase in investment in sectors outside MedTech/healthcare.

Malcolm Parry concludes, “Innovation is absolutely crucial to stimulate the UK economy and funding remains critical to bringing innovative solutions to market.  Over the last few months we have launched several initiatives, in conjunction with the University of Surrey, to provide financial help to our tenants. This includes a COVID-19 Equity Investment Scheme to support tenant organisation struggling to raise investment as a result of the pandemic.”