Local Scientist wins Science Vale UK prize

Local scientist Caitlin Armstrong was the lucky winner from a recent on-line survey of people’s views of Science Vale UK, a globally significant region for science and innovation. Caitlin, who works for Oxford Biotrans, on Milton Park, Abingdon, won a Science Vale branded iPad.

A total of 2,300 people from across the south of England were invited to share their views of the Science Vale area. These will now be used to promote the region and its two enterprise zones to international companies to encourage them to move here – part of the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils plan to grow jobs in Science Vale by 20,000 by 2031.

After completing the survey Caitlin felt the workforce “in the area, is pushing the boundaries of science.” 81% of people living or working in the area saw the region as a place with a highly skilled workforce. The survey also showed over 88% of business leaders saw Science Vale as an innovative and exciting place to do business.

Caitlin Armstrong joined Oxford Biotrans just 8 months ago, having completed her Masters working in the research group of the founder at Oxford University. She enjoyed the work so much she wanted to continue in the field. Her first impressions of Science Vale upon arriving at Milton Park (and Harwell when visiting) was “the amount of greenery and open space. It felt really refreshing.”

Oxford Biotrans is a start-up company that develops high value chemical compounds. Their first product Nootkatone, provides a natural grade scent and flavour of grapefruit for use in the food and drink industry. A spin out company from Oxford University, they moved to a purpose built research & development laboratory on Milton Park in 2016.

Dr Matthew Hodges Oxford Biotrans Strategy & Business Development Manager said the reasons for moving to Milton Park were, “it’s proximity to Oxford and our academic founder. Caitlin studied in the laboratory of our founder so has been working on our enzyme technology and products for a number of years – it’s a great location for hiring skilled scientists. There’s also a significant number of other biotechnology companies on the site, as well as having good transport options.”

Science Vale UK is a region in Southern Oxfordshire, home to the UK Space Gateway, the European fusion research programme (JET), leading artificial intelligence and robotics research and a cutting edge Bio, Medical and Life Science sector. Within our business parks and enterprise zones, we’re creating environments in which science and technology businesses of all sizes can flourish. For more information on the regions relocation opportunities visit www.sciencevale.com or call the enterprise zone team on 01235 422343