�90m boost for Norwich Research Park

Plans to pump �90m into Norwich Research Park are announced today with the intention of putting Norfolk at the forefront of Britain's economic fightback.

The money is part of a �250m pot for organisations around the country researching life sciences –the study of food science, biomedicine and energy.

The grants to Norwich Research Park (NRP) are �19m for The Genome Analysis Centre, �29m for the Institute of Food Research and �42m for the John Innes Centre.

The project director at NRP, Adam Giles, said the funding was a 'massive vote of confidence' which 'underpins our vision and commitment and makes the park even more attractive for companies looking to locate here.'

The announcement comes as science minister David Willetts travels to Norwich today to speak about how the government aims to tilt the British economy towards the life sciences sector to achieve growth.

He told the EDP: 'This is absolutely an area where the future of the British economy lies as we try to rebalance away from the financial services.

'We finance excellence where we find it. East Anglia, because of its history in agriculture and because it has a collection of agricultural research institutes, is going to do particularly well.'

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The funding follows a major speech on life sciences given last year by prime minister David Cameron, followed up by a speech on the economy last week in which he underlined the importance of the sector.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, Downing Street's life sciences advisor, claimed there would be broad benefits for Norfolk from the investment.

He said: 'This is incredibly exciting for us. In the same way this funding underpins the long-term recovery of the UK, it also does the same for Norfolk.'

Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council which allocated the funding, said: 'This investment is a major commitment to realising the potential of a bio-based economy in the UK. This is only possible through a sustainable, excellent fundamental research base with the right people, skills and facilities.'

The funding follows �26m allocated to the NRP in George Osborne's 2011 budget.