Government hands Norwich Research Park £12.5m bioscience boost

Norwich Research Park. Picture HexCam

Norwich Research Park. Picture HexCam - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's growing reputation for innovation has been reinforced by a £12.5m investment to fund more than 100 scientists.

The research institutes on the Norwich Research Park (NRP) has received a significant cash-injection into its doctoral training programme, helping to bolster its position as a world leader on bioscience.

The government grant – delivered by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) – will be combined with £3m from partners at the NRP to pay for 156 PhD students over the next five years.

The announcement builds on the £4m investment committed by the BBSRC in 2012 to support 39 students for three years.

Speaking about today's funding announcement, professor Dale Sanders, director of the John Innes Centre (JIC), which led the bid, said: 'I am thrilled that the exceptional quality of PhD training on NRP has been recognised by an award of this magnitude. JIC has a long track record of training outstanding graduate students in the life sciences, and this award from BBSRC will continue to enhance the graduate environment through synergistic interactions with UEA and our sister research institutes on Norwich.'

The Centrum building at the NRP was launched in July as part of a £26m BBSRC-funded project, which will include a virtual technology centre and a molecular farming facility.

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, chief executive of Norwich Research Park, said: 'This further investment provides a clear signal of Norwich Research Park's growing reputation as a world leading location for bioscience both from a research perspective but also the application of this across industry.

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'A key decision for businesses in where they locate themselves in these sectors is the access they will have to leading research in their field and importantly, to a skilled work force that is critical in driving commercial success. This investment further boosts both of these credentials and demonstrates to businesses that Norwich is an ideal international location to base themselves.'

The NRP is home 12,000 people including 3,000 researchers and clinicians. It is one of Europe's leading centres for research in food, health and the environment.

Vince Cable, business secretary, said: 'The UK punches far beyond its weight in science and innovation globally, which is a credit to our talented scientists and first-class universities.

'This new funding will safeguard Britain's status as a world leader in life sciences and agricultural technology.'

The application was made by five partners across Norwich Research Park: The John Innes Centre (JIC) which was awarded the funding, The Sainsbury Laboratory, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC), the Institute of Food Research and the University of East Anglia (UEA). Associate partners are Plant Bioscience Limited, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and The SAW Trust.

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