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Babraham Research Campus receives £44M boost for bioscience innovation

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24 March 2011

The Government has announced that £44M will be awarded to the Babraham Research Campus to support bioscience innovation, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to science and cutting-edge research following the Spending Review. This funding comes from an extra £100M for capital/infrastructure investment for science announced by Government as part of the 2011 budget.

Left to right: Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Bioscience Technologies; Science Minister David Willetts; and Prof Michael Wakelam, Director, Babraham Institute

Left to right: Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Bioscience Technologies; Science Minister David Willetts; and Prof Michael Wakelam, Director, Babraham Institute.
Image: Babraham Institute

Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Babraham Institute said, “We welcome the additional funding to the Babraham Research Campus, which will enable us to build on our current strengths in research and innovation. It will allow us to initiate further developments in infrastructure and facilities to support the life sciences industry in both the region and the UK.”
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts today visited the Babraham Campus to see the facilities within Babraham’s Bioincubator Building such as the Technology Development Lab, which are designed to support early-stage biomedical ventures. He 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."

As a leading hub of life sciences innovation in the UK, the Babraham Research Campus plays a key role supporting the region’s life-sciences network and early-stage biomedical enterprises while also helping to attract inward investment. This additional investment to the campus will help to create and support exciting new companies and jobs based on world-leading bioscience, says the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which supports the Babraham Institute.

Derek Jones, Chief Executive of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, the Institute’s commercial company said, “This investment is excellent news for the sector, the region as well as the UK. It is further recognition by Government of the value of our excellent research base at Babraham and the invaluable support our facilities provide to emerging biomedical enterprises. The creation of a supportive, entrepreneurial environment promoting bioscience innovation is one of our key objectives as we continue to develop the Babraham Research Campus. We continue to have great support from the local biomedical and entrepreneurial community. This funding will enable us to build on the success of our 4th Bioincubator Building, developed with financial support from BBSRC, which is already full.” 
In addition to the Babraham investment, £26M will also go 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 Babraham Research Campus is distinct in that, through the proximity of a world-leading academic institute with commercial ventures, it more easily promotes the translation of ideas emanating from basic bioscience research”, added Professor Wakelam. “This new investment supporting innovation centres at Babraham and the Norwich Research Park will maximise the impact of public investment in bioscience research.”

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC’s Chief Executive 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.”

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.”

Nigel Gaymond, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association said, “The Government’s investment in the BBSRC’s Babraham campus is a great example of commitment to providing facilities for start-up companies in the life sciences sector. Future job growth in the UK will come from the small and medium enterprises of the kind that Babraham will host.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Babraham Institute is an institute supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) near Cambridge, undertaking international quality life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. The Institute’s research is focused on understanding the biological events that underlie the normal functions of cells and the implication of failure or abnormalities in these processes. Research focuses on signalling and genome regulation, particularly the interplay between the two and how epigenetic signals can influence important physiological adaptations during the lifespan of an organism. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and healthier ageing. www.babraham.ac.uk

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd is the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute, an institute supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) devoted to life sciences research. BBT promotes, supports and encourages academic and commercial biomedical research locally, regionally and nationally. BBT delivers the Knowledge Exchange remit of the Institute and is responsible for managing the Babraham Research Campus’ Bioincubator, currently home to around 30 early-stage biomedical companies. BBT brings together all the elements to support innovation and enable the successful exploitation of research in the biomedical sector based on technologies emanating from the Babraham Institute and bioventures relocating to the campus. BBT has taken a prominent role regionally, initiating and leading partnerships to promote knowledge and skills flow and has established a reputation for successfully translating innovative science into viable business opportunities through partnerships for wealth creation. Website: www.babraham.com

About BBSRC

BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M 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.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

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.

External contact

Claire Cockcroft, Head of External Relations, Babraham Institute

tel: 01223 496260
mob: 07786 335978