Liz Cashon, Innovation Campus Manager at York Biotech Campus

COVID-19 has, without a doubt, changed the face of bioscience for the long term. Already vital research facilities became centres of focus overnight as the world looked to scientific research teams to find answers and solutions to the pressing concerns that the global pandemic brought with it.

Working as part of UK’s bioscience economy, we have seen this surge in demand first-hand, especially within Yorkshire. From conversations with other stakeholders in the region, to an uptick in enquiries around our spaces, there has been a very notable shift in focus to finding the right bioscience research space. Existing firms in the region have also been looking for room to expand and grow with demand, at York Biotech we have just recently completed expansion projects for Labskin and Abingdon Health. We also imagine our colleagues in science parks across the UK have had a similar experience!

As the region shifted its focus to bioscience, so did we. You may be more familiar with York Biotech Campus under its previous name, the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus (NAFIC). We launched our new identity in June 2020, following a year of development, to represent our evolution from an agri-tech site to a campus with a broader range of innovative research and development firms. Our new brand includes ‘Biotech’ within the name to encapsulate this diverse range of bioscience onsite, as we now host everything from agri-tech to environmental to healthcare. 

Not only did we want to platform our leading position in biotech, but we were also keen for our brand to highlight our Yorkshire roots. We are proud to be a key stakeholder in the Yorkshire bioscience economy, therefore the inclusion of a Yorkshire rose into the brand was a no brainer.

While we have already experienced a significant time of expansion and change for the industry, there is plenty of growth still to come. Now more than ever, we are seeing innovative organisations evolving out of the region and contributing significant research to the global community.

Many of our tenants have been involved in vital research into COVID-19, for instance, Abingdon Health is working as part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) to develop and manufacture at scale an effective at-home rapid antibody test. Therefore, our job of providing the right space and environment for tenants to grow is of the utmost importance.

At York Biotech Campus, we are readying ourselves for this growth, and our new brand is just the first step on this journey.