Lancaster University has completed the acquisition of land for the development of a pioneering new campus that will drive innovation in healthcare.
The site, directly adjacent to the University at Bailrigg, will be developed into an Innovation Campus that will bring together innovators, academics, entrepreneurs, the business community and health care providers to make advances in products, services and technologies for the health sector.
An independent assessment suggests the project will have a significant economic impact, ultimately creating up to 2,000 jobs and representing a £100 million boost to the regional economy.
Amongst its first challenges, the Innovation Campus will respond to a pressing need to tackle issues linked to ageing; widely considered to be one of the biggest social and economic challenges of our time. Lancaster University already enjoys a formidable reputation for academic research in this sphere.
Neil Johnson, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine, said: “The Innovation Campus will trigger collaborations between the brightest minds in academia, business and healthcare and also draw in members of the public to help find solutions to some of the most urgent, health-related issues facing society.
“It will drive new innovations, new thinking, new approaches, new services and new products in healthcare, making a significant impact locally, nationally and internationally.
Councillor Eileen Blamire, Leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This is excellent news for Lancaster and the long term vitality of the district’s economy. The Innovation Campus is an exciting development and will strengthen the district’s attractiveness for investors, further boosting economic growth and creating top-quality jobs. The city council has promoted this project for many years and is pleased to now pass on overall lead for developing the Innovation Campus to Lancaster University. Transferring ownership of the land from the council to the university is an important milestone and we look forward to continuing to help the university deliver this important scheme in the coming months and years.”
Lancaster University’s Vice Chancellor, Mark E. Smith, said: “The Innovation Campus is a strategically important project for the University and its partners, Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council, and the University is very pleased to be progressing the delivery of a scheme bringing world-class research, growth and jobs to our region.”
Planning permission has been granted for a new access road to be formed from the A6 and outline permission has been secured for the development of the site.
Work is anticipated to start later this year on Phase 1 of the facility, which is expected to open in 2019.
'Test Bed' success
Lancaster Health Hub, a NHS/University partnership headed by Lancaster University, has co-ordinated a successful application for a pioneering ‘Test Bed’, hosted by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and involving Lancaster University, local NHS organisations, lead technology partner Philips, social enterprises and digital health businesses.
Together all these organisations form the Lancashire and Cumbria Innovation Alliance (LCIA), which over the next two years will enable frontline health and care workers in Lancashire to use a range of technologies and interventions to support frail and elderly and people living with long-term conditions and dementia to be cared for outside hospital with the intention of improving their outcomes.
The "Test Bed' project is seen an important building block towards the development of the Health Innovation Campus.