Dundee’s rejuvenation took another step forward today with the release of the first images of the multimillion pound innovation hub to be created by French tyre manufacturing giant Michelin.

The multinational firm, which has long had a presence in the city, is behind plans to create an Innovation Parc dedicated to sustainable mobility and decarbonisation.

Located on the company’s former factory site, the £20m Innovation Hub will be a purpose-built facility supporting collaboration and innovation between organisations of different shapes and sizes.

The company announced the closure of the factory – with the loss of about 850 jobs – in November 2018, saying the factory was “unsuitable” in the current market.

The aim of the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) – which will house a new industrial space subdivided into six units – is to replace the jobs and continue the half century economic link with the city.

It will be a place where businesses, researchers and challenge-holders can work together on developing, testing, and commercialising new products and services for a sustainable, low carbon future. 

Alongside the 1,200 square metre physical development, MSIP will deliver an associated programme of innovation activity and will provide access to support programmes. 

The Innovation Hub will be located on the east side of MSIP, at the main entrance of the Innovation Parc. The facilities, which will include hot-desking, meetings rooms, event spaces, design workshops and a café, will be available to everyone working on the Innovation Parc and others that can benefit from what it offers.

Dundee City Council previously secured £3.5M of funding from the Tay Cities Deal Industrial Investment Fund to support the Innovation Hub. Detailed design work is already underway, and the planning application has been submitted. MSIP is a joint venture between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise.

Robertson Construction was appointed in 2020 as the build contractor for MSIP’s wider transformation programme, which was procured through Procurement Hub Major Projects framework. Construction will begin on the Innovation Hub in early 2022 with completion expected in 2023.

Colin McIlraith, chief operating officer at MSIP said: “The Innovation Hub is a core part of the transformation programme, which is already underway and brings everything else that we offer at MSIP together. 

“The design for the Innovation Hub provides a dynamic space housing a changing mixture of people, all aspiring to achieve the same goal of net zero. It’s also important to showcase our mission in everything we do, and we’ve worked hard to ensure that the design considers the environmental impact of the space, both in its development and in the future when it will be in use. 

“It’s great to be able to now share what the Innovation Hub will look like. It’s ambitious but achievable, which is what MSIP is all about.”

Sarah Petrie, innovation director, MSIP said: “The Innovation Hub will be the focal point for MSIP’s innovation activity and the place where the earliest stages of innovation and entrepreneurship are initiated. 

“It’s a key part of the offer at MSIP and will be a driver for business formation and growth, harnessing know-how, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit – a gateway for new businesses and a stepping-stone for small businesses.

“It is vital that this space is an exciting, modern, fun, and accessible environment, to attract and retain the best talent and to stimulate ideas, enthusiasm, and collaboration. Looking at the exciting designs shared today, I have no doubt we will deliver that.”

Craig Heap, project director at Holmes Miller, said: “With the Innovation Hub being home to a mix of start-ups, SMEs, and large corporates, as well as researchers and students – all of whom are working together to bring us closer to Net Zero – we had to create a dynamic space that is flexible enough to meet a range of needs, both now and in the future. 

“Crucially, sustainability is at the heart of the project, and every effort has been taken to minimise the environmental impact of the building, both in terms of its construction and its ongoing operation and maintenance, which includes its own green and sustainable energy supply. Ultimately, the new hub will help inspire users and visitors and showcase MSIP as a modern, fast-moving, and ambitious collaboration, driving forward innovation in low-carbon transport and sustainable mobility.”