Science Minister celebrates £26M investment at Norwich Research Park

23 March 2011

The Government has today announced investment of £70 million for innovation centres on the Norwich Research Park and Babraham Research Campus. £26 million will come to the Norwich Research Park.

“The decision by government and the BBSRC to invest over £25M in the Norwich Research Park will help to transform the NRP Science and Enterprise Vision into a commercial and employment success,” said NRP Director, Alan Giles.

The NRP Vision centres on the generation of 5000 additional jobs at the NRP and greater Norwich over the next 10 to 15 years through growth in start-up companies, inward location and institutional growth. The aim is to develop the NRP as a key driver of the regional economy, recognised as a world leading centre for research and innovation. This new investment will help the transformation of the NRP from its current status as a ‘World Class Research Centre’ to embrace a successful ‘National Research Campus’.

Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of State Vince Cable said: “This investment is a real boost to our world class research base, life sciences and space industries 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."

The BBSRC strategic vision is to develop BBSRC institutes and campuses as key players in the UK in order to deliver innovation from bioscience. The current priority of the BBSRC is to focus on the Norwich Research Park and the Babraham Research Campus. Both of these represent an opportunity to drive economic growth through the creation and development of new companies and jobs, as well as extending the impact of public investment on the society and economy of the regions and the UK.

With over 2,700 scientists working on the Norwich Research Park (and more than 11,000 staff in total), it already has one of Europe’s largest single-site concentrations of research in food, health and environmental sciences. The NRP is also home to a growing number of scientific and IT based companies.

John Innes Centre Director Professor Dale Sanders said: “Investing in science provides real returns to the regional and national economy”

“JIC alone contributes over £170 million pounds annually to the UK economy. This is an opportunity to build on the contribution the institutes on the Norwich Research Park collectively make to UK growth in the biotechnology area.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of East Anglia, Professor Trevor Davies said: “It is gratifying to have this vote of confidence in the Norwich Research Park from the Government. Over the past three years all of the partner institutions on the Norwich Research Park have worked closely with the BBSRC and other stakeholders, including local authorities and business to develop the Norwich Science and Enterprise Vision.”

“This welcome and substantial investment is the perfect launch pad for the NRP to continue to drive economic growth for the benefit of the region and the nation.”