£70m injection for Babraham and Norwich Research Park
The Government is investing £70m in two East of England science and innovation clusters.
£44m will go to the Babraham Research Campus, near Cambridge and £26m to the Norwich Research Park. The funds will support the development of these sites - which are already key players in bioscience and innovation - and further strengthen them as UK science and innovation clusters.
On both sites there will be an expanded opportunity to drive economic growth through the creation and development of new companies and new jobs, as well as extending the impact of public investment on the society and economy of the regions and the UK.
The funding comes from an extra £100m for capital infrastructure investment for science announced by the Chancellor as part of the 2011 budget.
The investment will help to create and develop exciting new companies and jobs based on world leading bioscience, says the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) which already invests heavily in world-class research institutes at the sites.
In Babraham, funds will be invested in infrastructure and capital development to attract an anchor tenant; modernise existing facilities that are considered regional or national bioscience infrastructure; continue to deliver a highly specialist, skilled workforce across the region; support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from preliminary start up through to emerging companies; and provide opportunities for visiting scientists to collaborate with researchers at the site with the support of short term accommodation on site.
At the Norwich Research Park the focus will be on developing the site as a world- leading centre for environmental and life sciences with the aim of creating 5000 new jobs over the next 10 years and attracting an anchor tenant.Investment in infrastructure will make the Park more attractive to prospective investors and partners, as well as attracting a world-class workforce. There are also plans to expand existing incubator capacity to ensure sufficient office and research facilities for new SMEs coming onto the Park.
Norwich Research Park is Europe's leading centre for research in food, health and environmental sciences. Nearly 3000 scientists are already based on the NRP in science research institutes, which include the John Innes Centre, Institute of Food Research, the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Genome Analysis Centre, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital Trust and the University of East Anglia, as well as a number of science and innovation businesses.
Secretary of State Vince Cable said: "This investment is a real boost to our world class research base and life sciences industry and demonstrates further the Government's commitment to science following the Spending Review and the ring fencing of the science budget. It will create new businesses and improve existing ones, attract highly skilled scientists and technicians and become a focus for international investment."
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "This new investment recognises the value of our excellent research base and proves the UK science industry is very much open for business. The extra spending will help drive innovation and growth and reflects our commitment to cutting-edge research."
Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive, BBSRC said: "We are delighted that the government has chosen to make this significant investment in bioscience innovation at the Babraham Research Campus and Norwich Research Park.
“The new centres will provide the intellectual and commercial environment necessary to support the development of new and sustainable industries and the creation of the Knowledge-Based BioEconomy on which our prosperity depends. These centres are arenas in which new ideas can flourish, helping to accelerate translation of research outputs into valuable new technologies, products and practices."
Dr Mark Downs, CEO of the Society of Biology commented: "The Chancellor's additional support for the life sciences provides a strong message around the value of biology and its contribution to health and the economy. The greatest challenges the world faces: food security, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the aging population and disease can all ultimately be addressed through biology based research.
“The BBSRC plays a critical role in supporting UK bioscience and we are delighted that the excellence of their research centres has been recognisedthrough additional public sector funding."
BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences and the largest single public funder of agriculture and food-related research.
Sponsored by Government, in 2010/11 BBSRC is investing around £470 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts