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£5M funding partnership to bring new innovation and economic benefit to UK

26 January 2010

A £5M development at the Norwich Research Park (NRP), funded by a partnership including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will provide facilities for start-up and growing businesses that will turn world-class science into products and technologies. This new development, announced today (26 January 2010), will bring new innovation and a boost to local and national economies. Over 30 office and laboratory units will be created in a totally refurbished and customised building housing up to 300 new staff. The main contractors have been appointed to carry out the work and the new facilities will be fully operational as early as July 2010.

BBSRC will provide £500,000 as well as the land and buildings to host the new facilities, with £1.4M coming from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), £1M from the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP), £500,000 from NRP partner the University of East Anglia (UEA), and the remainder from other NRP partners.

BBSRC, the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the John Innes Centre (JIC) and the University of East Anglia (UEA) are involved with the management of the facility, which will be controlled by new joint venture company Colney Innovations Ltd (CIL).

David Parfrey, BBSRC Director of Finance and director of CIL said: “The office and laboratory suites will provide unrivalled facilities for new and expanding research businesses attracted to the cluster of science facilities at the Norwich Research Park. The research carried out by the two thousand scientists already working at the Park is world-class and it makes absolute sense to create a facility on this site where the results of such research can be taken through to applications.”

Prof Douglas Kell, Chief Executive of BBSRC, said: “The Norwich Research Park is home to three world-class BBSRC institutes: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research and The Genome Analysis Centre. This new facility will play a key role in helping our scientists, and others, to translate their excellent science into products, services, advice and jobs to benefit the economy and people of the UK. BBSRC is proud to be a partner in this venture.”



The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

About CIL

Colney Innovations Limited (CIL) is jointly owned by BBSRC, UEA, JIC and IFR, formed to manage the new bio-tech facilities with the objective of providing 'follow-on' space on commercial terms for science related companies based on the Norwich Research Park. CIL will also manage the existing Norwich Bio-Incubator business.

About EEDA

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Essex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk

EEDA's vision is for the East of England to be an ideas driven region that is internationally competitive, harnesses the talent of all and is at the forefront of the low carbon economy.

About GNDP

Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, and Norfolk County Council have been working together with the Broads Authority as the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) to help manage growth plans for the 3 districts.

About IFR

The mission of the Institute of Food Research ( is to undertake international quality scientific research relevant to food and human health and to work in partnership with others to provide underpinning science for consumers, policy makers, the food industry and academia. It is a company limited by guarantee, with charitable status, and an Institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

About JIC

The John Innes Centre ( is an independent, world-leading research centre in plant and microbial sciences with over 800 staff. JIC is based on Norwich Research Park and carries out high quality fundamental, strategic and applied research to understand how plants and microbes work at the molecular, cellular and genetic levels. The JIC also trains scientists and students, collaborates with many other research laboratories and communicates its science to end-users and the general public. The JIC is grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

About Norwich Research Park

The Norwich Research Park is a partnership between:

  • University of East Anglia
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
  • and 4 research centres:
    • John Innes Centre
    • Institute of Food Research
    • Sainsbury Laboratory
    • The Genome Analysis Centre

About the University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia, founded in 1963, directly employs around 3000 full-time staff, has over 14,000 students and an annual income of some £170M. It is estimated to be responsible for indirect employment of some 3300 people outside the institution and generates direct and indirect economic impact of around £420M. The University has a longstanding reputation for world-class research, particularly in the environmental sciences. In a survey of geosciences papers over the last decade, UEA came third after Harvard and Princeton for the number of papers produced, number of citations and citations per paper. (Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators 2009, reported in Times Higher Education, 19 November 2009)

External contact

Peter Treglown, FOUR public relations

tel: 01603 627294
mob: 07768 176622

Mark Fuller, GNDP

tel: 020 7089 2089
mob: 07952 286223

Adrian Ient, EEDA

tel: 01223 484699
sb: 01223 713900
mob: 07795 828917


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299