This has been a positive year for Surrey Research Park (SRP) and our businesses despite a challenging external environment, and we have advanced the SRP agenda on multiple fronts. We continued with high occupancy, averaging 97%, throughout the year. We enabled several customers to expand whilst providing security with long-term leases. Additionally, we have 70,000ft2 of new development under discussion. Overall, this resulted in our second year of increasing financial performance, as measured by total return on investment (25%) and total return on asset value (14%).
Despite economic uncertainty, our outlook remains cautiously optimistic due to the breadth and quality of innovative companies at SRP, with clusters overlapping Government’s priority areas, namely space; sustainability; animal and human health; and digital. Our Tenant pool is positioned well for growth as the country doubles-down on innovation as a driver of economic recovery. This report celebrates the achievement by SRP companies. There is much to celebrate. From new RNA delivery mechanisms, to managing clinical trials of Lecanemab, hailed as a “historic moment” in Alzheimers treatment. From building new satellites, to changing the way animal cancer is treated. From developing a global atlas of environmental DNA data, to FDA approval for early-stage cancer detection. The list goes on, and it was unsurprising that SRP companies collected 5 of the 16 available Surrey Business Awards.
In our first development since 2014, Alliance Medical opened a cancer screening facility, containing a digital PET-CT scanner, one of only two in the UK. This will be used to improve health outcomes locally, in addition to research on cancer and dementia with the University, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and NPL. We continued to strengthen links between SRP businesses and the University, for research collaboration and student talent flow, with a Working Group comprising Tenants and University colleagues helping drive this initiative. There have been several new activities already, with much to be achieved, and the direction of travel is positive.
During the year we welcomed Kathy Slack OBE as the new Chair of the Board. Kathy is a vocal champion for innovation, and I am delighted to be able to work with her. Last year we completed a master-planning exercise that would rejuvenate the Park; support the University in its net zero by 2030 carbon target; deliver against increasing market expectation for sustainability, whilst ensuring compliance with anticipated regulation. The focus over the coming period will be securing finance and undertaking the requisite upgrades. I have also been delighted with the continuing strong support from Angela Richardson MP, who visited SRP again during the year. SRP is one of the largest University-owned Parks in the UK.
Despite economic challenges, the future is positive as this is a place of innovators. A place of action. And a place where we get things done.
Grant Bourhill, CEO, Surrey Research Park