Oxford University Development (OUD), the £4bn joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital, has launched an international competition to find a team to design the masterplan for its world-leading £1billion, 190-hectare mixed-use Innovation District at Begbroke Science Park.

The winning design team will set the bold ambition and design intent for a project that will transform the area around the University’s Begbroke Science Park, to the north of Oxford. The project will also create a community of up to 2,000 quality homes, with new schools, a public park and nature reserve.

OUD and the University aspire to create a boundary-pushing scheme that achieves a step-change in sustainable design, delivery, and operation. The new district will seek to attract the very best minds, while driving economic growth, improving transport connections, delivering benefits for local people, and enhancing the surrounding natural landscape.

It will also provide an exemplary new setting for the University’s world-leading science and innovation, which will help address key global challenges facing humanity – from food security and biodiversity to climate change and the urgent need to move to a zero-carbon economy.

The regeneration programme will be multi-phased. The first phase will provide new facilities for the University’s research and development, as well as providing space to incubate spin-out companies, while the second will involve the creation of the wider Innovation District.

Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Development, said: “We’re looking for a stellar team to design a masterplan that both responds to Oxford’s housing needs and propels the economic attraction of the new centre as a place to live, work, and foster innovation and enterprise. We want to bring together the best minds in the industry, to work with us, Cherwell District Council, and our local communities to create a masterplan of global significance.”

Dr David Prout, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) at the University of Oxford, added: “For nearly two decades, the University’s Science Park at Begbroke has been home to a wide range of research and development activities across our Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences departments, playing a vital role in contributing to the wider local, regional, and national economy. Oxford University is and will remain the freeholder of the majority of the land, and our strategic goal is to create an exemplary new community that the University and local residents can be proud of – a world-leading Innovation District with sustainability at its heart.”

Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Capital: “Science, engineering and innovation have never been more important, and new schemes like Begbroke will help ensure UK universities continue to be world-leading. We are helping realise their potential by investing in much needed science infrastructure, which can incubate the great talent and innovative spin-outs which come from these first class institutions. In addition to Begbroke, Legal & General has brought forward projects, in partnership with world-leading universities, worth £2bn this year alone.”

The ambition is anchored by Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan Partial Review. This identified the site for a high-quality mixed-use development with a range of research & development facilities, new homes and associated social and physical infrastructure, such as schools, community centres, and recreation and amenity space, as well as new sustainable transport links with Oxford.