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2 December, 2011 - 11:00 By News Desk

5,000 jobs target for UK innovation cluster

Alan Giles, director NRP

Ambitious plans to create 5,000 new jobs in Norwich based on the growth of a world-class research and science park will show that Cambridge isn’t the only technology centre of excellence in the UK.

Britain’s Business Secretary Vince Cable is a keynote speaker at Norfolk Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Unlocking Growth’ conference today where he will flag up the potential for international and UK businesses to leverage global growth from Norfolk.

The world-renowned Norwich Research Park will be central to the region’s growth ambitions, according to NRP director, Alan Giles.

He is saying: “The growth potential of the Norwich Research Park will be of benefit not just to science-based organisations but to the entire regional economy.”

The plans for the park include attracting more tenants from home and abroad and a focus on developing the regional knowledge economy.

Giles says: “Although the Norwich Research Park is probably best known for the university, hospital and the research institutes, it is a lesser known fact that additionally there are 30 businesses here included in our growing population of 11,600 staff and 14,200 students. The park also attracts thousands of visitors each year.

“All of these people require leisure activities, housing and transporting and the businesses need equipment, printing and other services. We see this growing demand increasing the amount of economic activity in the region, and this in turn will generate opportunities for entrepreneurs across all business sectors.

“Our aim is to leverage the science excellence and reputation of the Norwich Research Park to create a supportive environment for early stage, potential high growth companies and generate 5,000 jobs in the Greater Norwich area over the coming 10 to 15 years.

“We are already seeing the success of this strategy. The Norwich BioIncubator has supported over 20 new companies, with 112 jobs created; many of these companies, such as Anglia DNA, now have products on the market and are actively expanding the range and breadth of their services.”

There are also significant opportunities being created in the near term with the planned construction programme, enabled by the Government’s £26m capital grant announced earlier this year.

John Irving, of Norwich Research Park comments that the Park’s green strategy will benefit regional contractors.

He says: “Our plans for the Norwich Research Park include a major construction programme and the refurbishment of some existing properties. With our commitment to sustainability, this work will be completed to a high Building Research Establishment (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method standard, known as BREEAM. This means that where possible we will be sourcing local suppliers and contractors.”

The Norwich Research Park recently refurbished the NRP Innovation Centre during which £5m was spent locally. It continues to use the local supply chain whenever possible, for example, Norfolk company Millar West was awarded the contract for fitting office and laboratory furniture.

The NRP Innovation Centre is filling quickly but there is still some accommodation available, including a limited amount at the BioIncubator.

Companies interested in this and other opportunities on the Norwich Research Park can email innovation [at] nrpic.com or visit the websites www.nrp.org.uk and www.nrpic.com.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Alan Giles, director NRP

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