Tech Corridor features in major new report on Golden Triangle life science ‘Supercluster’

11th June 2020

Britain's life science sector is a key driver of the economy (Pic: Wellcome Genome Campus)

The Tech Corridor has been highlighted in a major new report calling for the creation of a life science super-cluster that could help power Britain’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

It features in New London Architecture’s new report, Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc, which calls for the government to streamline planning to speed up development in the region and enable the creation of a US-style supercluster.

The Chancellor’s forthcoming emergency budget should look to speed up the delivery of vital lab space, housing and other infrastructure that can attract talent and ensure fast-growing spinouts can remain in Britain rather than relocate to Boston or other major science hubs, the report says.

Uk life science businesses contribute £74 billion to the UK economy annually and support 250,000 jobs. They have played a central role in the UK’s economic response to Covid-19, and the sector’s ability to preserve and create employment, export innovation globally and lead on the development of a vaccine has meant it has come under the spotlight more than ever.

The Tech Corridor links the food and human health research undertaken at Norwich Research Park and the University of East Anglia with the ‘golden triangle’ of Cambridge, Oxford and London.

A once-in-a-generation opportunity

Linn Clabburn, Tech Corridor programme director, said: “The halo effect from Oxford’s and Cambridge’s legacy of innovation extends far beyond the walls of their historic universities, and the potential to grow a science and tech cluster that links in with the world-leading research institutions at Norwich Research Park and the University of East Anglia is significant.

“At the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, we’re committed to creating a top-tier destination for the best tech talent from around the world. This will require significant investment in hard and soft infrastructure and a strategic focus that recognises that unless we look to create a genuine, resilient, super-cluster, a once-in-a-generation opportunity will be missed.”

The report also calls for changes to planning policy to enable more co-ordinated spatial planning, providing the right balance and mix of housing, start-up, grow-on, industrial and corporate space across the region as a whole, so that researchers and entrepreneurs can easily identify their next opportunity and continue to attract top-tier talent.

The Tech Corridor has been working with international architecture firm Perkins+Will to develop a spatial plan for the region identifying some of the best opportunities for growth and the steps needed to enable that growth. This work features as a case study in the report.

Mike Derbyshire, head of planning at Bidwells and Tech Corridor delivery board member, said: “Life sciences need to be at the heart of Britain’s recovery story. Creating a cluster across the Golden Triangle to rival the “other” Cambridge – in Massachusetts – is vital. We already have our own hub of pharma and biotech innovators alongside world-leading universities and research institutions. But to properly capture potential growth, create jobs and ensure we can level up areas outside of London, firms need space to grow and the worlds of academia and research need the private sector to be able to build clusters around big thinking spinouts from the likes of Imperial, Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Read the full report here.