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Supporting Business Innovation

  • Research
  • Industry Engagement
  • Innovation
  • University of Hull

Funder - Part funded by the European Development Fund and the University of Hull

The University of Hull’s new Aura Innovation Centre (AIC) is a community that supports businesses of all sizes, helping them to accelerate low-carbon projects, drive green innovation and deliver clean business growth.

Dave Dawson Innovation Manager

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Anthony Harford Innovation Manager

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Project Partners

The economy is shifting towards a low-carbon future, and the green energy transition opens up a number of challenges and opportunities for business of all shapes and sizes.

The Aura Innovation Centre can help you to get your carbon reducing ideas well and truly off the ground, we can help to:

  • Shape and define your idea
  • Access specialist funded support
  • Access research experts and testing facilities
  • Bring together the skills and knowledge to accelerate your ambition

By working with the AIC, you’ll become part of a powerful community of innovative thinkers, scientists, inventors, researchers and problem solvers – all working together to benefit your business. Benefits could include:

  • Reduction of your carbon emissions and carbon footprint
  • Savings in energy costs
  • Increased efficiency
  • Improved productivity levels
  • Access to new markets
  • An enhanced competitive edge
  • And more…

We’ll help you to shape and accelerate carbon-reducing ideas into viable solutions that provide real value and opportunities for your business - whether that idea is a new product, process or services, we’ll help you to deliver it.

Ready to take the next step? Let’s talk. You can reach us by phone on 01482 464700 or by emailing

To find out more information about the Aura Innovation Centre, please visit

Developing a sustainable building fit for collaboration and innovation

From the very outset of the project, the University of Hull and its partners set out to create a sustainable building, which exceeds environmentally-friendly standards. 

The location of the Aura Innovation Centre involved serious consideration.  A number of Brown Field areas and sites in commercial planning zones were assessed for suitability. We were looking for a green home for the Aura Innovation Centre (AIC), and a central location in the region that could easily be accessible by both sides of the Humber, so that the AIC can fulfill its key purpose of driving collaboration. Bridgehead Business Park met this criteria.

Opening in early 2020, the AIC is now located at the very heart of the Humber region, in one of the UK's greenest business parks, previously a Brown Field site and burrow pit to extract chalk used in the the foundations of the Humber Bridge.

Developed by Wykeland, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust works in partnership to deliver on a number of strategies to ensure there is little impact on existing habitats as well as to create new space to encourage further local wildlife. Wild orchids found on the AIC site were safely relocated to a protected area towards the back of the building where they can continue to grow.

We aimed to develop a sustainable building with a BREEAM Excellent rating, which the building has done, through its design, construction, materials sourced and supply chain used - positioning it in the top 10% of UK new non-domestic buildings.

Upon completion, the AIC was awarded an A-rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of 18, considerably higher than most new, similar buildings (which would expect to achieve a rating of 31), and, higher than buildings of existing stock (which would expect to achieve a rating of 82).

Many factors contribute to the green credentials of the building:

  • Carbon emissions - actual emission rating is 8.2kg/CO2/m2.annum which is a 41% improvement over the notional building.
  • Embodied emissions - all materials within the main building elements are A+-B rated on the green guide. 
  • Supply chain – using local contractors where possible and ensuring the entire supply chain uses responsibly sourced materials
  • Renewable energy – the building was positioned to maximise the impact of solar panels installed on the roof, harnessing energy for the building
  • Materials sourced – from recycled materials, from the aggregate used in the foundations to carpets and cladding
  • Water – rainwater is used to clean the externals of the building, reducing the need for chemical products. The drainage system also allows water to permeate back into the ground
  • Heat efficiency – air is recycled around the building and windows are designed to keep heat within the building during the winter and reflect the glare in the summer
  • Energy performance of the building – LED light bulbs, AAA rated electronic equipment, efficient showers
  • Encouraging visitors to consider their carbon footprint – car share parking spaces, electric charge points and cycle shelters encourage visitors to think about how they travel to the AIC.
  • Yonders Low and zero carbon technology report states the PV array offers a 10% CO2 and the air source heat pumps offer a 19.2 carbon saving. 

A number of local schools initiatives and visits to the Aura Innovation Centre site have be organised by Hobson & Porter to learn about the construction of sustainable buildings and the range of careers and skills involved.

The Aura Innovation Centre is part of the University of Hull, which has recently launched its ambitious plan to become carbon neutral by 2027. We have made good progress having already reduced our carbon emissions by 31% in two years. You can find out more about the University's carbon neutral plan here.

Announcement of aided projects

Project title: Carbon reduction in black grass management

Lead academic: Professor Graham Ferrier (University of Hull)
Supported by: Dr. Rodney Forster and Dr. Sarah Shaw (University of Hull)

Goal of the project:
To reduce the carbon footprint of 5 local farmers engaged with Black Grass management  The project will explore best practices and new technologies to help tackle the black grass problem impacting on farmers in the Humber region and across the UK.

Project results:
Results will be published upon project completion, estimated January 2021.

The results of the project will be published on the Aura website. A detailed report containing the full results of the project will be available to all undertakings active in the agricultural and forestry sector or sub sector concerned upon request and free of charge.