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Commercialising research at heart of Norwich Research Park’s new vision

PUBLISHED: 06:15 21 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 21 July 2018

David Parfrey, executive chairman of Anglia Innovation Partners, which manages Norwich Research Park. Picture: Bethany Whymark

David Parfrey, executive chairman of Anglia Innovation Partners, which manages Norwich Research Park. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Archant

Norfolk’s foremost science park has laid out an ambitious 12-year plan to become a globally recognised cluster and forge closer links with the business community.

Norwich Research Park’s new vision sets targets for it to become a “world leading” research and innovation community which companies will “aspire” to be part of.

There was a strong emphasis on building closer relationships with businesses and supporting its 3,000 scientists and clinicians to consider and find commercial applications for their research.

The vision was unveiled at Centrum on Friday by David Parfrey, executive chairman of Anglia Innovation Partners (formerly Norwich Research Partners), which manages the park on the outskirts of the city.

He said a main aim of the vision was for the park, which includes Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia as well as its four institutes, to bring its research to “commercial and social benefit”.

“We want to bring our scientists and clinicians to the fore so we can show what we are doing,” he said.

“We have to build our capacity for research and build our capacity to commercialise that research.”

Norwich Research Park’s translation fund has so far given out £1.6m to support researchers to find commercial opportunities in their work, and Mr Parfrey has plans to build on its current capabilities.

He also plans to establish an accelerator at the park to help entrepreneurial scientists access advice on business planning, marketing and fundraising.

He said: “I have a particular interest in how we get science from the work bench into something that makes a difference people can see, whether it is economic or social or both.

“The accelerator programme will encourage science to come out of the lab.”

Other priorities for Mr Parfrey are for the park to work with partners such as Hethel Engineering Centre to support regional growth, and to bring a greater emphasis on staff wellbeing to its constituent organisations.

And he was hopeful the park could achieve global recognition. “Geography doesn’t have to be a problem,” he said. “If you start making hurdles into brick walls you will not get far. Take away the hurdles and the brick walls and let’s get on with it.”

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