Norwich Research Park hosted the signing of the City Deal, attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 12th December 2013.
Norwich’s success in securing a City Deal will bring new prosperity to the region, according to Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, Norwich Research Park's Chief Executive. She says:
“Research into new ways of improving food production, human nutrition and health has always been a key focus for the research institutes on the Norwich Research Park.
“However in recent years greater understanding of genetics – the code of life – has opened up opportunities for new types of research. We are fortunate to have The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) located on the Park and their cutting edge technological platforms, knowledge and key expertise in this area to help translate research into new businesses.”
A good example of this is Procarta Biosystems, a spinout from the John Innes Centre, that is developing a new approach to antibiotics. Procarta’s patented approach takes away the ability of the bacteria to control its own genes. This form of attack is completely new to bacteria and therefore makes it difficult for the bacteria to develop a resistance to drugs developed with this technology.
Dr Michael McArthur, co-founder and CSO of Procarta says that being on the Park has been hugely beneficial to the company. “As the science grows so does the company and we are actively recruiting. We want to play a key part of the scientific revolution that is going on at the Norwich Research Park. The UK government has backed us through its scientific funding body, the BBSRC, and there has always been an expectation that we will generate value and jobs. I am glad to reciprocate.”
Norwich Research Park has one of the largest concentrations of microbiologists in Europe and this has created an exciting hub for drug discovery and research. Collaboration across the Park – between the University of East Anglia (UEA), UEA’s Norwich Medical School, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the research institutes; The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), John Innes Centre (JIC) and the Institute of Food Research (IFR), plus the on-site Clinical Trials Research Unit – has started to fast track a range of new developments.
Other areas of expertise include; medical technologies, nutraceuticals, functional foods, industrial biotechnology, clean technologies and biofuels.
Norwich Research Park is keen to increase collaboration with regional companies. Its Centrum building, due to open in the spring, has flexible meeting spaces to create an environment that encourages networking and access to knowledge. It also has lab and office space for growing companies that want to locate there in order to benefit from the resources that are available in both terms of specialist equipment and expertise.
Sally Ann Forsyth says that entrepreneurs and regional businesses are actively encouraged to contact the Norwich Research Park office to talk about opportunities on the Park.
“Many of the companies we support have been able to access funding and grants as a result of working with partners on the Park and we can also arrange access to expertise and specialist equipment. We invite people to get in touch and see for themselves the opportunities that are on offer.”