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Innovate UK senior leadership visit Norwich Research Park

18 October 2023

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Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, Dr Lisa Hazelden, Chief Product Officer and Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for Healthy Living and Agriculture, visited Norwich Research Park on the 5th October to discuss the fantastic science, research and innovation that Research Parks such as Norwich Research Park deliver, whilst also reflecting on the need to continue to evolve strategic investment to support the acceleration of innovation and boost regional growth in the East of England.

Representatives from the research community, at the BBSRC campus, one of the largest research clusters in Europe, managed by Anglia Innovation Partnership, the science park management company, engaged in detailed discussions about the research and innovation capabilities across the campus which include key strengths in what the government is terming ‘Modern Industrial Biotechnology’.

Norwich Research Park works in four global markets: agribiotech, food biotech, industrial biotech, and med tech, attracting top researchers from all over the world and developing novel technology at the new frontier of science in gene editing, healthy ageing, the human microbiome, and the use of plants in non-traditional drug discovery.

High growth companies on site include:

  • Tropic which is using gene editing techniques to reduce the banana’s propensity to a pathogen that would otherwise threaten the existence of the banana.
  • Colorifix, which has recently been shortlisted for the Earth Shot Prize for its work in the fashion industry to reduce the water needed in the dyeing process by 70 % through a new process synthesizing the way nature makes colour and using microorganisms to dye cloth.
  • Leaf Expression Systems, which uses the power of plant-based expression and plant biotechnology to produce high value proteins and biomolecules for research and product development.

With over 30 companies, on site, in 100,000 sq ft; 20 groups working in pre-seed activity as part of the AIP campus wide enterprise strategy, and 1.6m sq ft of planning consent, Norwich Research Park is set on a growth trajectory and will therefore make a major impact on the local, regional and national economy.

On the day the Innovate UK guests spent time with the Norwich Research Park senior management teams, representing the research community, as well as Dr Karen Lewis, Executive Director, Capability and Innovation at BBSRC and Director at Anglia Innovation Partnership, the leaders of high growth companies based on site and had lunch with entrepreneurs spinning out new ideas from their research.

Discussions included a review of the opportunities for businesses engaging in Innovate UK programmes, which included discussions of the recent success of companies like Iboxit. Working together the Norwich Research Park community and Innovate UK will align their collective ambitions for innovation and growth.

Following discussions, there was time for a tour of the bio-foundry and single cell genomics facilities in the Earlham Institute, the NIHR approved Clinical Research Facility and laboratories of the Quadram Institute. Both institutes house many of the technology platforms, which are a useful resource for businesses that want to tap into specialist equipment and expertise on site.

Roz Bird, CEO of AIP, said, “It was a real privilege to welcome Indro, and his senior team, to Norwich Research Park, for the day, to get into the detail of how to maximise the potential of our growing business community. As one of the largest research communities in Europe, there is a real chance that, with the support of our colleagues Innovate UK, we can supercharge this cluster of modern industrial biotechnology for the UK, providing benefits to the local community as well as regionally nationally and internationally.

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK said, “Innovate UK is committed to working closely with the UK’s research base, including Norwich Research Park. Through partnership we help innovative businesses to grow.”

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