Science and technology take up of offices and labs hits historic high in Cambridge

22.2.24 2 Minute read

Image of 1000 discovery drive (1)

In Bidwells' latest Arc Market Databook, Cambridge saw take up by science and tech businesses i reach its highest level in the current cycle , with the sectors responsible for 86% of take up in 2023, 5% higher than the year before.

1000 Discovery Drive, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Take-up of lab space totalled 272,000 sq. ft in 2023. A major pharmaceutical company on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus was the largest letting of the year, while across the Cambridge market there were five laboratory lettings in excess of 20,000 sq ft. This was facilitated significantly by the delivery of new labs in the second half of 2023 and is nearly three times more than the take-up level achieved in 2022, where a lack of available supply significantly held back the market Despite the new space that has been delivered, however, there remains an 850,000 sq. ft shortfall in Cambridge indicating the strength of demand for lab facilities. This has placed notable upward pressures on rents, which rose 22% in 2023 with a further 5% uptick expected this year, further underlining the strength of demand.

Demand for office space has been similarly resilient because of strong demand from science and technology companies. Take-up hit 420,00 sq. ft in 2023 in line with 2022 activity. This was supported by  the expansion of Cambridge-based tech occupiers and serviced offices catering to start-ups. Nyobolt and Samsung were some of the year’s key lettings further reflecting the diversity of the tech sector in the cluster.

Office quality and location have been key determinants for businesses, from both those within Cambridge and those new to the city. An increased focus on the retention and recruitment of staff helps to explain less of a willingness to compromise on these factors, which reflects in the type of being let quickly and the type of space that remains available. The availability of office space rose to 12.2% by the end of the year but is dominated largely by lesser quality, dated properties, with much of the better-quality space currently under offer.

Max Bryan, Head of Office and Lab Agency, at Bidwells, said:

The data demonstrates the strength of science and tech demand for space in Cambridge despite continue economic uncertainty and finance constraints. The rapid absorption of well located laboratory space as it has come to the market this year underlines the potential opportunity presented by Cambridge. The UK government should capitalise on the demand for such facilities and ensure that two of the country’s highest potential business sectors can be accommodated by streamlining a planning system that has been inherently obstructive towards development.”

Recommended content



Max Bryan

Partner, Head of Laboratory & Office Agency

Get in touch


Max Bryan

Partner, Head of Laboratory & Office Agency

Max works with pioneering innovators and tech entrepreneurs, leading our unparalleled offices and labs agency team.

Read more

Search Bidwells