UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has confirmed it will invest more than £317m into a ground-breaking plant and microbial science and innovation hub at Norwich Research Park.
The new hub will aid in the development of new cutting-edge, world-class facilities for the John Innes Centre (JIC) and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), both already internationally recognised centres of excellence in plant and microbial science.
The new hub aims to become a net-zero carbon laboratory and will help to deliver a step change in the UK’s capability to translate scientific knowledge into bio-based solutions in response to some of society’s most pressing challenges.
The investment will be funded by the UKRI Infrastructure Fund, which invests in the facilities, equipment and resources that are essential for researchers and innovators to do ground-breaking work.
The fund will invest into the JIC and TSL Next Generation Infrastructure Programme which will develop the site over the next seven years, with £54.7m being invested over the first three years and a total investment of £317.7m from the fund.
Roz Bird, chief executive officer of Anglia Innovation Partnership LLP, the organisation that runs Norwich Research Park, said: “This is more great news for Norwich Research Park following on from the recent announcement of the BBSRC’s £163.9m of funding for three of our world-leading institutes – Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute and the John Innes Centre.
“This investment underlines the strategic importance, and potential future contribution, of this science park campus, in the UK. The research in agribiotech, food biotech and industrial biotech, taking place, creates opportunities for collaborations that will translate the science into tangible solutions that can help improve the lives of people around the world.
“We have established a growing sense of community on the campus, and we are starting to build a pipeline of next-generation companies which have either emerged from the research conducted on the campus or from entrepreneurs looking for collaborations and partnerships.
“Our aim is to maximise the research activity taking place through our campus-wide enterprise strategy, and business development activity, creating a wide range of jobs, at the park campus, and contributing to the local, regional and national economy.”
Professor Melanie Welham, executive chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), said: “Providing access to cutting-edge, sustainable research and innovation infrastructure is mission-critical to the competitiveness and long-term success of UK bioscience.
“UKRI’s investment in the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory Next Generation Infrastructure provides an important opportunity to further improve our local connections with key partners at Norwich Research Park, the likes of which include Earlham Institute and Quadram Institute.
“Beyond that, the investment also represents a real opportunity to establish a world-leading global interdisciplinary hub for plant and microbial sciences that will help deliver the bio-based solutions needed to address global challenges around sustainable agriculture, food, nutrition, and health”.
Construction of the new hub is expected to be complete by 2030.
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