The Norwich scientists solving the world’s biggest problems

Executive chairman, David Parfrey at Norwich Research Park. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Executive chairman, David Parfrey at Norwich Research Park. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Norwich Research Park is the headline sponsor of this year's Norfolk Business Awards. Here business editor RICHARD PORRITT discovers more about the groundbreaking work being done in Norwich.

Earlham Institute at Norwich Research Park. Picture: Anthony Cullen

Earlham Institute at Norwich Research Park. Picture: Anthony Cullen - Credit: Anthony Cullen

The executive chairman of the Anglia Innovation Partnership has outlined an ambitious vision to drive change across the globe from a hotbed of scientific endeavour in Norwich.

Norwich Research Park is already at the heart of a burgeoning science and technology sector in the East of England.

But David Parfrey – of Anglia Innovation Partnership, the body that runs the research park – is determined that the biggest challenges facing humanity can be overcome by some of the work being carried out in Norwich.

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And as part of a bid to grow even further the ambition of what can be achieved on the site and beyond, the Norwich Research Park has been announced as the headline sponsor of this year's Norfolk Business Awards.

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He said: 'Some of the biggest challenges we face on a global scale include how we feed a growing population, prevent and treat chronic diseases and take our planet back from the brink of irreversible climate change.

'To resolve these issues, we need to find and nurture people with ideas, people with passion and people with a clear vision of what the future needs. At Norwich Research Park that's exactly what we are trying to achieve.

'We're building a community of communities where people can work together to find the solutions to some of the world's biggest problems. The benefits will be felt by both the health and welfare of the global population and the economic and employment prospects for Norwich and Norfolk.

'We already have a rich heritage of world-leading research undertaken by the organisations based here such as The John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Quadram Institute, Earlham Institute, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and University of East Anglia.

'But we don't want to stop there. We have an ambitious vision that is our driving force to transform Norwich Research Park into a centre of global importance – from the soil to our health, our vision is to change lives and rethink society through pioneering research and innovation, reframing the future of research and delivering regional growth.

'Norwich Research Park will be the home of choice for research-based life sciences, agri-tech, bio-tech, medi-tech, bioinformatics and food and health organisations who want to deliver world-leading research that will result in resolutions, antidotes and preventative measures to some of the world's major problems.'

Another factor Mr Parfrey is determined to deliver on is creating a hub for sustainable regional growth.

He added: 'Our ambition is for Norwich Research Park to be seen as crucial a part of the local economy as Chapelfield, Gentleman's Walk and The Lanes.

'One of the key aspects of our vision is to deliver regional growth. For Norfolk, we want Norwich Research Park to actively contribute to providing a better bridge to society by attracting more organisations to the park and by creating opportunities for spin-out businesses to be formed from the organisations currently situated here.

'We want to create a vibrant business community that will support the development of incubator and accelerator businesses enabling them to grow and to attract the very best minds to work with them. We plan to work hand-in-hand with the Norfolk business community to make it happen.

'A huge strength is the concentrated presence of world-leading scientists, entrepreneurs and businesses resident at Norwich Research Park. As well as being an enterprise zone location providing business rates benefits, the park also includes 52 hectares of development land, ideal for expanding companies needing bespoke research facilities and office space.

'Already 115 business and 12,000 staff make a positive contribution to both the economic landscape of Norfolk, as well as on the welfare of the global population.

'We have a tailored infrastructure that includes a community of 3,000 expert scientists and clinicians, a university, a hospital, modern research resources and an abundance of land to continue building a truly significant location to host the world's best life sciences, research and tech organisations.'

Full details of how to enter the Norfolk Business Awards, which will be held at Norfolk Showground Arena on 21st November and entries will open at the end of May.