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Central Research Laboratory

Central Research Laboratory was the UK’s leading and award-winning hub for product makers and hardware pioneers during 2015-2023. What began as a regeneration project in Hayes, North London became the inception of Plus X Innovation.

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The Challenge

In the 1960s, EMI  a British music company - was based in Hayes, West London, where it was an innovative R&D hub.  Here, scientists and inventors pioneered innovations such as stereo sound, airborne radar, and the CAT scanner.

Despite the historical foundations, the area saw great decline in the 1980s and Hayes became a location in need of economic growth and development.

A team of stakeholders needed to collaborate to build on the hardware heritage and create a new inspiring place for people and businesses to thrive.

The solution

To combat the building standing empty, a solution to build on the hardware heritage came in the form of a hub that would provide collaborative workspace, specialist prototyping workshop facilities, and hardware-focused innovation programmes to the community.

Established in 2015, The Central Research Laboratory (CRL) was founded. In partnership with U+I, now part Landsec, Mat Hunter and Paul Rostas from Plus X Innovation, created invention space and combined it with co-working and expert support.

CRL soon became a thriving hotspot, championed nationally for supporting hardware innovation, recognising the pivotal role it plays in the UK economy, and was home to pioneers solving our most pressing global and social challenges.

The results

Central Research Laboratory unlocked further planning for the local area, grew ambitious SMEs, created high quality jobs, generated positive social impact, and provided a strong return on investment.

Success in its first year gave Plus X Innovation confidence to triple the available space and grow the thriving community.

In 2017, the Central Research Laboratory became a funded project, with a £3.18m budget across 6 years. This unique project provided mentoring, support, specialist advisor network, and access to 24/7 facilities, including workspace and high spec prototyping equipment through its two award-winning and internationally recognised programmes: The CRL Accelerator, in partnership with Brunel University, and BOOST.

If you can provide entrepreneurs with unrivalled facilities, programmes, and community they can’t find anywhere else, they will travel. If innovative startups relocate to an area, big companies follow.

Due to Central Research Laboratory’s success in Hayes, Sonos, GoDaddy, and Mathys & Squires relocated to the area and took large amounts of space. This allowed U+I to sell for £18 million and the developers used this to unlock the rest of the area to continue to build and develop an area of economic growth.

CRL Programme Participants:

93% accelerated product development process

86% improved their resilience

86% accelerated commercialisation of ideas

112 jobs created from across both programmes

£124.8 of additional investment in supported businesses

86% increased chances of survival

£13.8m of grant awarded to supported businesses

Impact of Central Research Laboratory

Number of founders and businesses supported
Net additional employment
Net additional gross value added

Want to know more?

Plus X Innovation property partners

Property Partners

We balance making a strong socio-economic impact for local towns and cities where our hubs are based, with creating a profitable return for landlords, property developers, and councils. Speak to a Plus X Innovation property expert to find out more about bringing positive social impact and innovation to your local community.

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