Harwell Science and Innovation campus has been awarded a Life Sciences Opportunity zone for a 10-year period, the UK government has announced.

Harwell’s renowned science and technology campus is one of only seven locations to have been given this status with the aim of promoting UK life sciences capabilities. The government introduced the small number of specially designated zones in 2016 through the Life Sciences Sector Deal to attract inward and foreign investments, establish trade agreements and promote the UK as a world-leading location for the life sciences industry.

Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK is home to one of the strongest, most vibrant health and life science industries globally, with discoveries and improvements in health diagnosis transforming people’s lives. Collaboration is vital to growing this sector”.

Harwell’s HealthTec Cluster now consists of 58 organisations collectively employing 1,250 people and is a collaboration between industry and academic researchers. The cluster is centred around £2 billion open access facilities including the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and Central Laser Facility, the UK’s national synchrotron facility Diamond Light Source as well as the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre and Rosalind Franklin Institute.

STFC’s Executive Chair Mark Thomson said: “Our contribution to life sciences research at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is already the result of extensive collaboration to harness cutting edge science and facilities in innovative ways. This new status for Harwell will give us the opportunity to deepen and broaden relationships even further across scientific disciplines to extend the limits of medical and biological knowledge.”

The news comes a week after the Government’s launch of the Nucleic Acid Therapies Accelerator (NATA) and the ground breaking of the new Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC). NATA, located at Harwell, will lead research in targeting and delivering nucleic acid medicines around the body with the potential to target a range of previously untreatable diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntingdon’s, many rare genetic diseases, and cancer. STFC’s EPAC facility will be a new advanced imaging centre housing super-bright lasers that produce state-of-the-art 3D X-rays in just 40 seconds. This will accelerate the development of new medical treatments, bring down the cost of manufacturing and enable the identification of design improvements.

For more information go to https://stfc.ukri.org/news/harwell-awarded-life-sciences-opportunity-zone-status/