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First Turf Marks New Era for Norwich Research Park

4/16/2013 9:46:35 AM

April 16, 2013 -- The first turf has been cut on Norwich Research Park marking the start of its transformation from a world-class centre of research to a next generation research and innovation park. The new Centrum building will be the hub of the new campus, with meeting spaces to facilitate interaction between commercial and academic researchers, and accommodation for larger commercial organisations.

Building has started almost two years to the day that The Minister for Universities and Science, the Right Hon. David Willetts MP, first announced that the Government and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) would invest £26M to deliver innovation from bioscience at Norwich Research Park.

David Willetts says now; “The Government’s investment in Norwich Research Park is recognition that it will drive growth, foster innovation and support skilled jobs. It is excellent news that the project is making such rapid progress. This is a crucial step in realising our ambition for the Park to be a world-class hub for research and development.”

The Norwich Research Park is home to a world-class university, the UK's eighth busiest hospital, internationally renowned centres for plant and microbial science, the UK’s premier food research institute, and one of only two international scale genome mapping centres in the country.

The Centrum building will be located at the centre of the Park near the conference centre with the Norwich BioIncubator, Norwich Research Park Innovation Centre and research institutions all within a short walk. It will allow growing companies room to expand and offers high specification laboratory and office space to attract larger companies.

Matthew Jones, Chief Operating Office of Norwich Research Park says that cross-Park collaboration between researchers has also increased over recent months and this is creating an open environment for innovation.

“This cluster of life science excellence is becoming more mature. We are now seeing spinouts such as Procarta Biosystems and Intelligent Fingerprinting becoming closer to market and the senior managers of companies supporting the University of East Anglia, such as the managing director of Anglia DNA who is an Honorary Lecturer.

“Facilities on the Park include the Clinical Research Trials Unit, which brings together academic expertise from the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia with clinicians from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. This resource is proving an additional attraction, with companies like LondonPharma able to pursue early phase clinical trials on its doorstep.

“As these relationships deepen they are creating more opportunities for the thousands of students that graduate each year from UEA and a magnet for bioscience related organisations.”

Norfolk MP and Government Life Science Adviser, George Freeman MP, conducted the turf cutting at the ceremony. He says that closer links between Norwich and Cambridge are key to developing a strategic role for Britain in feeding the rapidly emerging global markets of tomorrow.

“The Norwich Research Park is rapidly coming to be globally recognised as a leader in the appliance of life science across the ‘big three’ sectors of food, medicine and energy.

“By working with partners in Cambridge, our region can lead a revolution that will build a sustainable, export-led economic recovery and support the fastest growing markets in the developing world. This is a major opportunity we should seize without delay.”

The new £11.5 million Centrum building is due to open in Spring 2014, it will encompass a business centre, meeting rooms, restaurant, café and laboratory and office space. The building is part of substantial BBSRC investment in the Norwich Research Park to deliver innovation from the research base and generate economic growth and job creation.

Photo Caption Norwich Research Park 2013 features: front, left to right: Richard Bacon MP, George Freeman MP. Left to right, back: Matthew Jones, Chief Operating Officer Norwich Research Park; Gavin Napper, Area Director for Morgan Sindall; Steve Visscher, BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive.


Nina Beadle/ Rachel Holdsworth, PR consultants, Holdsworth Associates, Tel: 01954 202789, email:,

Norwich Research Park: Dr Jane Heavens, Projects & Communications Manager, Tel: 01603 274442, email:

About Norwich Research Park

The Norwich Research Park is a partnership between the University of East Anglia, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, four independent world-renowned research institutes namely the John Innes Centre, Institute of Food Research and The Genome Analysis Centre (all strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)) and The Sainsbury Laboratory linked to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. The BBSRC is itself a partner, as is the John Innes Foundation.

The vision of the Norwich Research Park partners and local government stakeholders is to develop a thriving science and innovation business park over the next decade by supporting spinout and start-up companies and through attracting inward investment from large corporate organisations involved in science and technology.

The Norwich Research Park is home to around 30 science and IT based businesses. With over 11,000 people including 2,700 scientists, the Norwich Research Park is Europe’s leading centre for research in food, health and the environment.

The Norwich Research Park partner websites are:

University of East Anglia

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

John Innes Centre

Institute of Food Research

The Genome Analysis Centre

The Sainsbury Laboratory

Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Centre

John Innes Foundation

Tel: 01954 202789




Twitter: @holdsworthPR

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