Unilever invests £6.9m into new R&D centre at Liverpool Science Park
Global consumer products manufacturer Unilever is to open an innovation space at Liverpool Science Park as part of a £6.9m project to facilitate cutting edge research into home and personal care products like Dove hair shampoo and Persil laundry liquid.
The Integrated High Throughput Formulation Centre is the first of its kind in the UK and will be based in high specification laboratory space at the park’s new £8m wing on Mount Pleasant. It will use robotic automation and data management to allow Unilever, academia and other UK companies to radically alter the speed and quality of how products are developed and designed.
The benefits will span Unilever’s interests in sectors such as homecare and personal care products and other UK companies in the agriculture and paints sectors. This is big business as the UK market is worth around £180 billion a year.
The project is boosted by £1.7m from the Regional Growth Fund which will allow the facility to be established as a shared research and development innovation space for use by the University of Liverpool and other UK industry companies.
4,000 sq ft centre will open in September – the same time as construction starts on the £65m Materials Innovation Factory on Grove Street which is being developed in partnership with Unilever, the University of Liverpool and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Integrated High Throughput Formulation Centre will house state of the art equipment that will make and measure products better and faster than ever before.
Cameron Jones, site leader at Unilever’s Research and Development centre in Port Sunlight, said: “Liverpool Science Park was the natural choice for our base because it is at the hub of the Liverpool City Region’s knowledge quarter. This is one of a number of initiatives we have running across the North West and it will work hand in hand with our University of Liverpool connections.
“These are exciting times as we create a vibrant environment for our scientists to develop novel products using automated formulation robots and to innovate better and faster in highly competitive global markets. This new centre means we can build on the UK’s strength in formulation and allow us to continue to produce high quality products for consumers to use every day.”
Chris Musson, chief executive of Liverpool Science Park said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Unilever to Liverpool Science Park and we’re glad they chose us as their base for world-leading open innovation. Having a first class blue chip company adds tremendously to the diverse mix of bright, innovative companies we have here which in turn will promote and inspire collaboration and enterprise in the region.”