Norwich Research Park – a growing role in the future of the Norfolk economy
PUBLISHED: 10:24 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 31 October 2019
Norwich Research Park is establishing a growing presence in Norfolk’s economy and it isn’t planning on stopping soon. Ambitious plans to attract more science sector businesses and research-based organisations should have a positive knock-on effect, with more jobs being created and an increase in inward investment.
While there appears to be a good degree of uncertainty currently about the UK's short-term prospects, the country's science-based research sector is set to have a healthy, long-term one. The UK's pre-eminence in the global science world is well known and it means that it is still one of the more favoured locations for scientists around the world who want to develop ideas that could change lives.
Norwich Research Park is well positioned to make the most of this opportunity and has its own very clear growth plans. Its Vision is to change lives and rethink society by creating a place and a community where great ideas, that can help humanity tackle the greatest global challenges, can be created, developed and ultimately commercialised into businesses.
Over the last 18 months, there have been a number of new spin-out companies formed at the Park that started with research undertaken at one of its four world-leading institutions - Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory and Quadram Institute. The number of companies based at the Park has increased from 80 in 2017 to 115 now, making it a vibrant and entrepreneurial place to be.
And there are big plans to expand. The Park has 59 hectares of land to build on and is actively marketing this to UK and international companies which would benefit from starting up or relocating there. It currently has an Enterprise Zone offering favourable terms to companies that want to build new premises.
Lambert Smith Hampton, a national commercial property agency that specialises in science parks, has been appointed to lead the marketing of the Park's Enterprise Zone development land.
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Nick O'Leary, director, Lambert Smith Hampton Cambridge office, said: "It really is an exciting time for Norwich Research Park and, to that end, Norwich and Norfolk. We are focused on bringing new R&D occupiers to the Park which will result in more people coming to live in the county and contributing to its growing economy.
"Norwich Research Park offers a unique mix of world-leading institutions, a huge pool of talent supported by the UEA and the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, great facilities and infrastructure, available land with Enterprise Zone status and the prospect of a fantastic lifestyle. It's really got it all and we expect companies to be queuing up to come here."
Underlining its importance to the UK science research sector, Norwich Research Park has been host to a number of high-profile VIP visits over the summer. In June, it hosted the Dutch Ambassador Simon Smits, who visited with a team of advisers from Drenthe Province, which has a similar science profile to Norwich Research Park, to build relationships for future collaborations. He said: "Norfolk and the Netherlands have many connections, going back hundreds of years to when the first 'Strangers' - Dutch refugees - settled in Norfolk in the 1500s. Today, that legacy goes on as we continue to collaborate, share new ideas, develop new technology, innovate and invest together.
"I find many areas of opportunity in Norfolk… the businesses here really have it all; deep knowledge and experience of food and drink production, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit - attributes we Dutch share with you!"
In July, a delegation from Jiangsu Province in China was hosted, following closely on the heels of a visit from Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.
"This clearly demonstrates that Norwich Research Park is attracting the attention of a number of influential decision makers.
To underpin the Park's growing role in Norfolk's economy, Anglia Innovation Partnership (AIP) LLP, the organisation that manages Norwich Research Park, has announced two new appointments. Dr Nick Goodwin, left, has taken on the newly-created role of chief operating officer and Dr Kirsty Culley, below, has become scientific engagement manager. Commenting on the two new appointments, executive chair David Parfrey said: "It's important that if we are to realise the full potential that Norwich Research Park undoubtedly has, we need to have the right people in place.
"I am confident that with Nick and Kirsty joining the AIP LLP team, we are now much better placed to deliver our strategy. Both are experienced and skilled individuals who each have a critical role to play in our future. It's going to be a really busy and exciting few years ahead of us as we make Norwich Research Park the Silicon Valley for science."