Porton Science Park is set to gain international recognition after it was awarded a coveted Life Sciences Opportunity Zone status.
The Government announced this week it was one of only six sites out of dozens that applied, which were successfully granted the status.
The Government scheme allows partners on the site to showcase the capabilities of the Porton Science campus to an international audience, particularly overseas life sciences companies looking to expand into the UK.
As Porton Science Park grows there will be an increase in international collaborative projects between industry, academia and Government that will attract investment from start-ups to multi-nationals.
Companies would be co-located with established campus partners including Dstl, PHE Porton Biopharma Ltd and Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.
Porton Science Park opened just over a year ago on the Science Campus that is also home to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Public Health England (PHE) Porton. It now has more than 100 people on site helping consolidate the position of south Wiltshire as a nationally important centre of excellence in specialist health, life science and defence and security sectors.
The first £10m phase opened with funding from Wiltshire Council, The local Growth Fund and the European Regional Development fund working closely with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).
Wiltshire Council is also investing £2.5m of capital funding for phase two of the Porton Science Park project, which is matched by £2.5m of European Regional Development Funding. Phase two will create an innovation centre to provide specialist business support, training and development for scientific businesses on campus, plus expansion space and additional employment from the scheme. It will build on the success of first phase, which already has more than 100 people working on site, and enables businesses there to share resources and technologies, and establish links to higher education institutions, researchers and academics.
The site has capacity to grow further, with a total of 10 hectares available for development on the park as a focus for innovation, entrepreneurship and high-tech growth, particularly in the areas of biodefence and healthcare.
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 and this new £10million scheme will support the exchanging of ideas, knowledge and skills between researchers and businesses while encouraging strong collaboration with them, the NHS and the Government.”
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Porton Science Park is attracting the brightest and best and is building a reputation as a place where ground-breaking research into life sciences and technology is taking place. This is an opportunity for this jewel in Wiltshire’s crown to be on an international stage bringing high skilled jobs to the county and a real boost to Wiltshire’s economy.”
Paddy Bradley Director of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) said: “The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted that Porton Science Park has been awarded this coveted new status. It will support our efforts in promoting the world class capabilities at Porton to an international audience, bringing more highly skilled jobs to the south Wiltshire area.”
Professor Andy Bell, Chief Technical Officer of Dstl said: “Dstl is committed to the successful development of the Porton Science Park and wider campus. The Porton Science Park development complements our own facilities and further secures the campus as a centre of excellence.”
Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Executive Officer, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust commented: “Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust fully supports this announcement. Life Sciences Opportunity Zone status will benefit our community and Salisbury hospital, by attracting and retaining the best people in live and work here. This is a major step forwards in making Salisbury a centre of excellence for health, which I welcome.”
Alex Sienkiewicz, Director of Corporate Affairs for Public Health England, said: “We congratulate Porton Science Park colleagues on securing this prestigious award and the undoubted benefits and opportunities that it will bring for all campus partners, including increased international promotion of our collective world-class capabilities.”