Science and real estate call for national effort to make Britain a scientific superpower
Almost 400 researchers, academics, investors and real estate professionals from around the world convened in Westminster yesterday to call on Government to grasp the opportunity to make Britain a Scientific Superpower.
Bidwells’ flagship London conference held in partnership with EG magazine spoke of how £20bn of global investment capital is currently lining up to invest in offices and laboratories for the UK’s world leading science and technology sectors.
But Bidwells’ head of science and technology, Max Bryan, told delegates that despite business space demand hitting 2.8m sq ft across Oxford and Cambridge at the end of last year there is now a woeful lack of supply, with zero lab space currently available in either location and demand for 1.7m sq ft of wet and dry labs.
The findings of Bidwells’ Life Sciences 2030 report, launched at the event, show that shortages across the life sciences sector look set to deepen further in the next decade threatening the Government’s much-stated ambition to make Britain a Scientific Superpower.
The report’s YouGov researchers found that 30 per cent of life sciences companies they interviewed expect to be searching for more specialised space in the coming decade as technologies such as AI, Robotics and Automation change the way research is carried out.
The conference was sponsored by Advanced Research Clusters, Pinsent Masons and British Land.
The packed auditorium heard the scientific research community and real estate leaders echo the Government’s ambition to make the UK a world-beating home of scientific discovery but agreed that a chaotic planning system, the glacially-slow pace of infrastructure delivery and the threat of global competition is holding back the UK’s economic growth.
The event was opened by Professor Chas Bountra, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, University of Oxford, before attendees enjoyed a morning of panel debates looking at ‘How the UK’s Innovation Potential of the UK is unleashed’, ‘Life Sciences in 2030’ and ‘What does the S&T sector need to grow within the Arc?’.
PANEL: Unleashing the UK’s Innovation Potential.
Dr Andrea Kells, Director, Research Ecosystem, Arm Richard O’Boyle, CEO, Pioneer Group; Professor Karen Holford CBE, Chief Executive & Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University; Professor Chas Bountra, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, University of Oxford;
PANEL: Life Sciences 2030
Dr Adam Stoten, SVP Academic Partnerships, Evotec Dr Emma Stanton, VP Clinical, Oxford Nanopore Technologies; Nicole Jadeja, Partner, Life Sciences, Pinsent Masons; Dr John Baker, Senior Vice President, Product Portfolio & Innovation, Abcam;
Four pioneering innovation district plans were unveiled after the lunch break before four global investors discussed ‘How we Invest in UK S&T’. The afternoon closed with three further keynotes, including a fascinating talk from former minister for universities and science Lord David Willetts, now president, Resolution Foundation entitled: ‘Can Britain be a Science Superpower – on Earth and in Space?’
PANEL: What does the S&T sector need to grow within the Arc?
Dr Andy Williams, Vice President, AstraZeneca;
Dr Mark Kotter, Founder, Bit.bio; Angus Horner, Founder Harwell Campus
The day ended with a panel featuring all three afternoon keynote speakers to answer the key question of the day, "How do we create a Scientific Superpower?"
PANEL: Creating Places for Innovation
Mike Derbyshire, Head of Planning, Bidwells
Stuart Grant, CEO, ARC Advanced Research Clusters; Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Developments;
PANEL: Investing in UK S&T
David Marks, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Brockton Everlast (Chair);
Michael Anstey, Partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital; Thomas Renn, VP Acquisitions & Development, Breakthrough Properties; Abigail Shapiro, SVP, Head of Office, Retail and Life Sciences, Oxford Properties; James Sheppard, Managing Director, Kadans Science Partner; David Marks, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Brockton Everlast (Chair)
KEYNOTE: Can Britain be a Science Superpower – on Earth and in Space?
Lord David Willetts, President, Resolution Foundation
PRESENTATION: Lessons from Global Clusters