UKSPA - Breakthrough Issue 10

Page 1

The United Kingdom Science Park Association magazine | Issue 10 | Spring 2020




0 0 0 0

0 0


0 0



0 0 0

Stepping up Investment for the Life Science sector

Develop your skills with the Royal Society of Biology Apply for our new certificate training programmes, perfect for those looking to upskill or change career Technical Skills Certificate Designed to support the career development of technical staff working in higher education, industry or in a private laboratory. Skills covered include: • Laboratory leadership skills • Laboratory equipment maintenance • Laboratory health and safety • Designing practical classes • Cell/tissue culture

Applicants must undertake a minimum of five courses within a 12-month period, including one compulsory course

Industry Skills Certificate The perfect training programme for those working in industry who want to upskill and gain more commercial awareness. Skills covered include: • Core business skills • Copyright and patent awareness • Leadership skills • Project Management skills

Available to members and non-members To find out more about training, email Those working at an UKSPA member location can apply for discounted RSB membership. Find out more RoyalSocBio Registered Charity No. 277981 | Incorporated by Royal Charter

What’s on the horizon? We care about the future and collaboration is at the heart of our approach Our vibrant facility is designed specifically to support and encourage the growth of innovative and knowledge based companies, transforming how we live and work. Our unique combination of laboratory, workshop & office space, provides companies in the life sciences, aerospace, automotive, and construction technology sectors the ideal location to grow their business.

Together we can make a difference For more information or a tour of these exciting facilities contact : 01902 824100 BT_M.20


Connect, share and support


UKSPA Chairman Dr Glenn Crocker MBE on why the innovation network has never been more important…

n my first contribution to Breakthrough, following my appointment as UKSPA chairman, I wrote in the last issue about the need for UKSPA to remain relevant in the face of the challenges and opportunities as the science and innovation sector changes. At that time, I was referring to issues such as the trend towards aggregation of science park ownership, significant staff movements amongst our members as well as Brexit and continued political uncertainty. All will certainly continue to have an impact on our members. However these issues have been overtaken by the spread of Coronavirus and this alone will have an unprecedented additional challenge for the science and innovation sector. Such is the pace of change, and the lead in time for the magazine, that all I can do is to hope that you remain safe and healthy and to ask you to support UKSPA as we attempt to promote the vital role that you are all playing in combatting the virus, protecting our colleagues and tenants from the economic efforts of the pandemic as well as stressing to


T: 01799 532050 E: W: l Executive Director Jim Duvall l Communications Manager Adrian Sell l Membership Administrator Louise Tilbrook

Government the unique role that our members play and the need for greater financial support for our members. So, do continue to visit our new website (launched in late March) at for further information on the impact of coronavirus. This is also a forum for us to support each other by providing information and ideas to help cope with the impact of the lockdown. Despite the challenges, we also need to look to the future and the refreshed website is just one step towards our continuous improvement programme at UKSPA. The website has been refreshed so that it can deliver greater benefits to members and provide a better platform for discussion, “thought leadership” and promotion of our members. Our recent conference at Leeds Nexus also contributed to this greater focus on “ideas” and national issues. In this issue of our magazine you will find articles from a number of those who contributed really insightful contributions to the Leeds event including Alissa Dhaliwal, Head of Innovation at CBI and Helen

OPEN BOX MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS l Director l Director Sam Skiller - l Production Manager l Production l Advertising Sales

We are committed to sustainable forest management and this publication is printed by Buxton Press who are certified to ISO14001:2015 Standards (Environmental Management System). Buxton prints only with 100% vegetable based inks and uses alcohol free printing solutions, eliminating volatile organic compounds as well as ozone damaging emissions.

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Wollaston, CEO of WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) who we certainly will be engaging with as the Association moves forward. The recent UKSPA membership survey saw an exceptionally high response with real enthusiasm from members to support increasing activity to increase UKSPA’s research and policy activities to run alongside an enhanced event programme and improved digital communications. The survey closed in late March and we will analyse and take forward the very positive feedback that we received from an unexpectedly high response rate from members over future weeks and months. So, despite the serious challenges we are all facing I do hope that you will remain connected and share your experiences and successes so we can all support each other. Never has our network been more important. ■

All comments and feedback should be forwarded to the UKSPA team:

Breakthrough is published on behalf of UKSPA by Open Box Media & Communications, Premier House, 13 St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1RB. T: 0121 200 7820. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the consent of UKSPA.

Open Box Media & Communications are proud to be corporate sponsors of Heart Research UK.

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5

10 UKSPA SPRING CONFERENCE A buoyant two days at Nexus Leeds 20 MEET THE MAYOR We speak to Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street CBE



DON’T WAIT, INNOVATE Alissa Dhaliwal, Head of Innovation Policy, CBI asks could Catapult quarters be the solution?





A CATALYST FOR INNOVATION Stevenage - home to a World-Leading Cell and Gene Therapy Hub. Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, Chief Executive Officer, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst tells us more


MORE THAN JUST MONEY Simon Hoad, Executive Director, Trinity Investment Management considers investment in the scientific sector

6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

40 NON-DILUTIVE FUNDING FOR HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCE COMPANIES Dr Michael Kipping, Innovation Lead, Innovate UK explains the Biomedical Catalyst programme 42 HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS Alex Toft, Head, Minerva Business Angels on increasing awareness of angel investor benefits 46 THE PLACE AGENDA Daniel Rathbone, Assistant Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering on working towards a more research-intensive UK economy 48 PARK LIFE Why County Durham’s NETPark is quickly becoming a global hub for innovation

70 HOW TO FUTURE-PROOF SCIENCE BUILDINGS Designing flexible, cost-efficient research facilities for the future 72 IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME David Rooke, Location Service Director, Invest Essex looks at investment in life science and public health


WISE WOMAN We meet Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive of the WISE Campaign

32 MARCHING ON TOGETHER Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and Innovation, the region and its world class innovation



25 WHAT IS THE REAL IMPACT OF BUSINESS ACCELERATORS AND INCUBATORS? Jonathan Bone, Senior Researcher, New Technology and Science, NESTA looks at the roles business accelerators and incubators play in the startup ecosystem

38 HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Transformational transport investment for Northern regeneration - Tim Foster, Head of Economic Advice, Transport for the North tells us more

54 SUPPORTING START-UP’S TO GROW AND SCALE GLOBALLY NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, and its comprehensive support programme 56 KEELE - THE REAL DEAL Joe Caine, Smart Innovation Hub Manager, Keele University gives us an insight into Keele University Science and Innovation Park’s significant expansion in recent times and future plans



50 ONWARDS AND UPWARDS North East England - driving growth of the life science sector in the UK

A SENSE OF UNITED PURPOSE Dr Joanne Phoenix, Interim Executive Director tells us more about Sensor City and the innovation support for ambitious businesses it provides

SCIENCE PARKS AT THE HEART OF A BOOMING UK BIOTECH SECTOR Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive, BioIndustry Association on the UK biotech sector going from strength to strength

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

78 A DAY IN THE LIFE Placi Espejo, Head of Business Development, Oxford Technology Park gives us an insight into her working day



76 LIFE SUPPORT Beauhurst looks at the state of investment into UK Life Sciences companies

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 7



25 Years Providing Chemistry for Small Molecule Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology Research

Screening Compounds for Hit Finding • Over 1.2 million high quality, in-stock, small molecule leadlike and druglike compounds • New compounds added annually based on novel, proprietary designs • Pre-selected diversity sets available offering broad chemical space and pharmacophore coverage • Targeted and focused sets covering CNS, kinase, ion channel, nuclear receptor, GPCR and spirocycles • More than 1,800 citations in peer-reviewed journals

Synthetic Macrocycles for Difficult Targets S





• MW range of 400 to 800 (ave. 600) with ring size of 12 to 26 atoms (ave. 17) • For use against low druggability targets such as protein-protein interaction, antiviral and antimicrobial targets



H3 C


• A library of more than 11,000 synthetic, macrocyclic compounds


• Custom select compounds from the Macrocycle Library or purchase the complete set

Building Blocks for Hit to Lead • Over 14,000 in-stock reagents available • Purity of 95% or higher by NMR and LC-MS • Designed for hit-to-lead, lead optimization and medicinal chemistry programs • Search and order online at ChemBridge’s website

Reg Richardson | Tel: +44 (0)1386 765519 | Fax: +44 (0)1386 423336 |



How we can achieve a 21st Century version of the Moonshoot

Tom Bridges, Director of Cities Advisory and Leeds Office Leader for Arup, on how initiatives can translate to economic growth…


ne of the big questions facing the Government is how to accelerate sluggish economic and productivity growth. At a time of rapid economic and technological change, the places that will be successful in the knowledge economy are those that can create and commercialise innovation through research and development (R&D). In the UK we underinvest in R&D. The Government aims to increase R&D spend to the OECD average of 2.4% of GDP, but few parts of the UK meet this benchmark currently. Despite strong universities and some real success stories, many of our cities and regions have yet to build an innovation-ledeconomy with sufficient strength, coherence and critical mass. Greater Boston in Massachusetts has built one of the world’s most dynamic economies based on innovation. It is anchored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other world class universities. A team, led by the University of Leeds, is participating in MIT’s programme to learn from the Greater Boston story. Collaboration is at the heart of its success. From universities, entrepreneurs, large corporates and angel investors to local and national

government; we need to work together to create a successful ecosystem.


There are four calls to action to ensure initiatives such as these translate to economic growth. First, we need to rebalance and tackle the UK’s north-south divide in spending in R&D. Over half of our current R&D spend is concentrated in the South East corner of the nation. Only 5% is in Yorkshire and 2% in the North East. Second, a place-based approach to innovation is important. Innovation happens in places and through collaboration. The modern economy relies on intangible assets and networks such as knowledge, research and development, creativity, software, data, and talent. This means knowledge spillovers are critical to the economic competitiveness of any region. Cities and city regions would benefit from greater influence and power over how decisions are made on public investment in R&D. They are best placed to identify the pullthrough projects that help translate research into commercial applications. Third, we should get behind innovation districts in our cities. The geography of the economy is changing.

Knowledge intensive jobs are moving into urban areas where innovative people, firms and organisations are sharing ideas. Cities, universities and cultural institutions are supporting and capitalising on this trend through bold investments to create new campuses, business space, and public realm. Traditional out-of-town office and science parks are seeking to re-invent themselves to enable greater collaboration amongst occupiers. Finally, as the economist Mariana Mazzucato has argued, there is the potential for a mission-based approach to innovation. Fifty years ago the Apollo moon missions were a huge catalyst for innovation and technology transfer. Today we face major societal challenges such as climate change, an ageing population, inequalities and social exclusion, automation, housing supply, and mobility: global issues that will have big local impacts on our cities and regions. We can use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for ambitious missions to address these local challenges to unlock global markets for new solutions. This could be our 21st century equivalent of the moon shoot. The time to act is now. ■

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 9


The world according to UKSPA and its Members

A Buoyant two days at Leeds for the UKSPA Conference

Dr Glenn Crocker, Chairman of UKSPA opens the conference at Nexus, Leeds


Adrian Sell reflects on two days of top quality speakers and networking at the recent UKSPA Conference

eld at the beginning of March with over 150 delegates in attendance - this despite at the time the growing uncertainty as regards travel and meeting policies from the pandemic outbreak. The venue: Nexus, University of Leeds - home to a thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs who benefit from the seamless access to the University’s expertise, backed by innovative support networks and business advisory services. The conference continued the positive trend of even further increased member engagement from all parts of the UK and Ireland, borne out by the fact that the event was actually oversubscribed. Early arrivals on the first day enjoyed a tour of the Nexus building which first opened in the spring of 2019. The two days considered and debated many topics including current national and regional trends for the science and

10 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Arup; and James Goodyear, Director of Strategy, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust who spoke in the opening plenary. Dr Stow welcomed delegates and explained the journey of Nexus so far, the E C O S Y S T E M A N D I N N O VAT I O N culture, innovation and enterprise within Opening the conference, Dr Glenn the University and ecosystem. Tom Bridges Crocker, Chairman, UKSPA welcomed spoke in detail on Leeds innovation delegates and introduced the Chairman ecosystems and regional place innovation. of Nexus Leeds, Dr Martin Stow; Tom James Goodyear informed the audience of Bridges, Director Cities Advisory, the work of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Leeds innovation district. The talks highlighted the innovation ecosystem development of the Leeds region and its position at the forefront of digital technologies, financial and professional services, manufacturing, healthcare and A capacity audience of UKSPA members at the opening plenary session Innovation. innovation sector, sustainability, business growth and innovation support, collaborative environments and fostering economic growth.

Contamination comes in all shapes and sizes ........

........ Decontamination comes in a bottle Celebrating 50 years of cleaning and decontamination in laboratories around the world Decon Laboratories Limited, Conway Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LY England Tel: +44 (0)1273 739241 E-mail: Web:


‘Lessons from the North’ delivered by Henri Murison

Tom Bridges and Alissa Dhaliwal deliver a session on day one


Henri Murison, Director, spoke of the work of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in developing consensus among businesses, civic leaders and others about how the north of England can be more successful. The focus on encouraging cities and counties to work together to create a northern powerhouse. Henri went on to say that he believed the biggest contribution that a partnership of businesses, local and national government can make to the collected strengths of the northern economy is by focusing on four key challenges: Infrastructure and assets, education and skills, international competiveness and leadership and learning.

Relations Manager, University College Dublin and Joe Caine, Smart Innovation Hub Manager at Keele University. Micéal gave a detailed presentation on sharing operational good practice while Joe spoke to delegates on attracting and supporting innovative companies. Closing the first day, UKSPA members both old and new had the opportunity to give their peers updates on their activities, the session also allowed some new members to introduce themselves. Thereafter the networking carried onto the evening at the conference dinner. Joe Caine from Keele University


The afternoon continued with two more sessions, Alissa Dhaliwal, Head of Innovation Policy, CBI and Tom Bridges discussing Innovation districts and catapult quarters. Alissa discussed the ‘Don’t Wait, Innovate’ report from the CBI which calls for action to grow more R&D activity across the UK’s regions and nations. Arup’s Tom Bridges looked at Innovation districts on a national level, how they can be a catalyst for economic growth and how they should lead the way in increasing productivity through inclusive growth. He added, city regions and Innovation districts should continue to secure capital investment in public spaces, physical and digital infrastructure, and new buildings and that Government, and cities should invest in developing non-physical networks to create an innovation ecosystem. Running concurrently were two case studies presentations on business growth and innovation support from Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media

12 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

broadcaster’s relocation to its new National headquarters in Leeds. Kevin spoke on the new initiatives to support growth in nurturing new talent from diverse backgrounds across the UK, exploring and developing mutually beneficial relationships across the UK; and contributing to the strategic partnerships in Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds. Mark Rogers, Facilities & Maintenance Manager, Horiba Mira chaired a topical and lively session on sustainable transport. As major employment hubs, there is an ever increasing need for member locations to deliver a sustainable transport policy for occupiers and visitors. Paul Hodgins, Founder & CEO of Ginger Shared Transport spoke of the disruption that will inevitably come in local transport and how shared transport of small, clean, low speed vehicles will transform UK transport in the not too distant future.



Day two started with a plenary session on Communities and Connections, Perspectives from the North. Firstly Tim Foster, Head of Economic advice, Transport for the North spoke about the case for transformational transport investment that would enable the North to function as a single economic area, with productivity growth driven by easier commuting, trade and knowledge sharing both within and between city regions. Kevin Blacoe, Head of Partnerships for Nations & Regions, Channel 4 reflected on the

Recently appointed UKSPA board member Ian Mcfadzen chaired a discussion on the challenges for innovation in lower density locations. Rhian Hayward, CEO, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus commenced proceedings looking at the role of the rural entrepreneur, its challenges, opportunities and the rural innovation ecosystem. Elliot Dransfield, Site Manager, Hethel Innovation informed the audience of how Hethel Innovation has supported hundreds of businesses in East Anglia over the past eight years through: bespoke interventions, training courses, conferences, masterclasses, workshops, innovation platforms, and incubation. Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin

Focus oxForD risk ManageMent ltD inDepenDent insurance consultants Specialist Business Insurance for Life Science, Healthcare, Medical Devices & Technology Industries

The UK is a world leader in the life science, technology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. From start-ups to companies with a global presence, the risks involved differ significantly and you need to talk to a specialist insurance broker who understands this world. Our highly knowledgeable and experienced team is available to help you through the complexities of the cover needed to protect you and your business.

> How we can Help By taking the time to talk to our clients and learn about how their business is growing we can adapt and adjust their insurance solutions as circumstances change. We can provide the full range of cover needed in these specialist environments, including but not limited to: • Property Damage/Business Interruption, including Research & Development operations • Public and Employers Liability • Product and Services Liability

• Healthcare Professional Liability, also known as Medical Malpractice • Errors & Omissions Liability

• Clinical Trials Liability – Global Programmes can be arranged • Directors & Officers Liability

• Intellectual Property Protection • Cyber & Privacy Risks

> wHo we work witH Based in Oxford, we look after companies across the UK – including those with global offices. To find out how we can help you, contact: paul Monaco commercial insurance Director t: 01865 953 111 e:

We pride ourselves in taking a personal approach to arranging insurance solutions for businesses in these challenging environments.


Following Elliot, Liz Cashon, Innovation Campus Manager, National Agri-Food Innovation Campus discussed how a rural innovation campus can play to regional strengths and global challenges can be addressed with local expertise, and the barriers of being in a rural location can be overcome to become a unique offer for innovative businesses. At the same time in the lecture theatre there was a session dedicated to sustainable laboratory trends and initiatives by Richard Smith, Sustainability Manager and Michael Still, Energy Contracts Director from new UKSPA members Bouygues. Richard and Michael posed the question on how we integrate sustainability and energy efficiency into the design, construction and operation of science laboratories. Phil Macdonald, Managing Partner, Oberlanders Architects presented on the key laboratory design considerations in a sustainable laboratory design. Phil discussed many issues including the future trends in science, building adaptable space for future flexibility, looking at alternative energy sources and health and wellbeing in design. The charismatic Andy Evans, Director, Green Light Laboratories spoke at length to an enthusiastic audience on applying lab cost factors to procurement, practice and policy. He went on to outline his views on how lab operators can minimise running costs and environmental impact without having any negative effect upon the science or the scientists.


The last parallel sessions took place with David Smith, Strategy Consultant, Nexus Project Manager and James Hall, Director, Associated Architects who looked at the development of the Nexus innovation hub. The presentation provided some insights into designing space with collaboration in mind and how this was integrated into the innovation ecosystem.

14 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Jim Duvall, Executive Director, UKSPA hosted a session which provided the opportunity to discuss the emerging conclusions from the recent UKSPA membership survey which is being carried out and will contribute to the future direction of the association. The question being asked over in the lecture theatre was – How can we create collaborative laboratory environments? Neil Jones, Head of Analytical and Laboratory services, Alderley Park chaired. Neil presented the benefits of open access research facilities and services, and he also gave an overview of the accelerator programme at Alderley Park. Dr Claire Shingler, Business Manager, gave case study examples of companies that have benefitted from Oxford BioEscalator’s approach to fostering innovation and collaboration. Dr Steve Fish, Faculty Director and Martin Gilmore, Head of Partnerships, Lancaster University in front of a large audience discussed how chemistry and material science are drivers for regional innovation. Following the conclusion of the parallel sessions, UKSPA Vice

Chairman Patrick Bonnett introduced Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive of the WISE campaign who spoke with passion about increasing the gender balance in science and innovation, and looked at the ten year trends of women in core STEM. She reiterated that there are now more than one million women in STEM but much more needed to done, and also gave the business case for gender diversity and the work of WISE, including inspiring girls from the school room to the boardroom. There’s more from Helen and the work of WISE in this issue on page 34. Concluding the conference was Henry Whorwood, Head of Research & Consultancy, Beauhurst. Beauhurst provide data and research reports on the UK’s high-growth ecosystem and Henry gave an insightful and detailed presentation on how high growth, hi-tech businesses fund their growth. Despite the extenuating circumstances, the two days at Nexus had a positive atmosphere and a good deal of positivity for the future of the science and innovation sector. Our thanks go to our hosts, all delegates who attended from all over the UK and Ireland, the speakers and sponsors for making the conference such a success. The two days provided a timely opportunity for UKSPA members to consider the challenges and opportunities in an ever changing landscape. We now look forward together to meeting the challenges that are ahead of us in the coming months as UKSPA plans a number of increased services and opportunities to collaborate and network. ■


Powering the economy through Science and Technology The Surrey Research Park is recognised as a centre of excellence in technology, science, health and engineering. To date, it houses over 170 businesses, including leading players such as SSTL, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence Limited, IDBS, Optegra as well as many start-up R&D businesses, all of which enjoy the value of a great environment in an innovation district. The University of Surrey The Research Park is owned and managed by The University of Surrey renowned throughout the globe for its exceptional performance across teaching and research. The Park maintains close links with the university both physically and through its knowledge base. The Surrey Technology Centre The STC allows opportunities for opportunity led entrepreneurs and established companies to locate in serviced offices on flexible licence from 120 up to 900 sq ft. This centre incorporates a business incubator and an on-site support team. Larger units for corporates and high growth companies The Park has accommodation for companies requiring up to 60,000 sq ft. Outstanding amenities The Park sits at the edge of the thriving university campus with the ÂŁ40m Surrey Sports Park and Hotel within walking distance. There is easy access to the historic county town of Guildford which offers exciting retail and leisure facilities as well as a rail station, serving London Waterloo. Communications The Park enjoys outstanding communications with fast links to major airports, road and rail networks.





Newcastle Helix

Inspiring, Innovating and Connecting Looking forward to the next UKSPA gathering in Newcastle and more


he next UKSPA conference which was due to take place on 4-5 June at Newcastle Helix, National Innovation Centre for Ageing has been temporarily postponed because of the unprecedented events worldwide. The next conference will still take place in Newcastle and provisional dates for the autumn have already been earmarked. Although the 4-5 June date cannot be fulfilled as a physical event please do keep these dates saved in your diaries as we are exploring the possibility of an online event. The recent UKSPA conference in Leeds continued a pattern of increased member engagement, their continued drive, enthusiasm and resilience in the toughest of times. The science and innovation sector sits at the heart of the UK’s long term economic plan and the appetite to learn and network, as demonstrated in Leeds, has never been greater amongst members and partners. Recent conferences are a clear barometer that the future development and growth of the UK science, innovation and technology sector is good hands.

16 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

The next gathering will see a range of top speakers debate national and regional trends for the science and innovation sector, sustainability, business growth and innovation support, collaborative environments and more.


We are delighted that the next UKSPA conference will be held at the Newcastle Helix, National Innovation Centre for Ageing. Newcastle is rapidly becoming a leading location for commercial life sciences, with a global reputation for research excellence into healthy ageing. The North East is home to over 200 life science companies, it is also a major hub for exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, with the commercial base underpinned by a broad range of expertise in biotechnology and novel therapeutics. Set up in 2014, the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing is a worldleading organisation, created with a £40 million investment from UK Government and Newcastle University. Their vision is to create a world in which we all live better.

Leading on innovations that improve all aspects of life for our ageing societies, and working collaboratively to create a society that is better equipped to meet the opportunities and challenges associated with ageing populations. The Catalyst is a new ground breaking facility that is home to the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data. Bringing together world-leading innovation experts, scientists, industry and the public, to develop, test and bring to market products and services which enhance and improve all aspects of life for our ageing societies. Newcastle Helix brings together industry leaders, businesses and top researchers in a new innovation community. It is an exemplar of sustainable urban development which combines prestigious commercial and residential space with first class research and education facilities in the heart of a flourishing city. The Helix is a collection of cutting edge buildings set in a 24 acre testbed and a collaborative ecosystem for public and private bodies to flourish. A wonderful environment for our next conference. We thank Newcastle Helix, National Innovation Centre for Ageing for offering to host the conference and we look forward to welcoming you. ■

Please go to for all the very latest news as regards the event in Newcastle and future events both physical and online.

Upcoming events Please send your event listing to:

New look UKSPA website

THE BUSINESS OF SCIENCE CONFERENCE Celebrating the Commercialisation of Science

More news, blogs, thought leadership articles, case studies, plus enhanced content, industry data, market trends and policy matters. Contact to discuss how you can be involved.

Quality Pre Used Lab Equipment

A complete buy and sell service • Quality Instruments at a fraction of the original cost • Convert your unused equipment into revenue • New Project? We source equipment • Lab Clearance service

Akribis Scientific Limited

Date of the event: 21 May 2020 Venue: Millennium Point City: Birmingham Country: United Kingdom URL:

M E D – T E C H I N N O V AT I O N E X P O

The UK & Ireland’s leading event for medical design and manufacturing technology Dates of the event: 29-30 September 2020 Venue: National Exhibition Centre City: Birmingham Country: United Kingdom URL: 01565 734875


The human factor: People, communities and their innovation ecosystems Dates of the event: 6-9 October 2020 Venue: Cartuja Science and Technology Park (PCT Cartuja) City: Seville Country: Spain URL:


The Autumn UKSPA Conference and exhibition Dates of the event: 8- 9 October 2020 Venue: Newcastle Helix, National Innovation Centre for Ageing City: Newcastle Country: United Kingdom URL:


The UK’s largest annual trade exhibition dedicated to the laboratory industry Dates of the event: 4-5 November 2020 Venue: National Exhibition Centre City: Birmingham Country: United Kingdom URL: www.lab-innovations-com

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 17


Kickstarting a regional R&D movement Could Catapult Quarters be the solution?


or centuries, the UK has been a home for global innovation. Scientific progress has not only transformed our economy, it has been the single biggest driver of productivity and helped to improve our lives for the better. As we look to the future, research and innovation will have an important role to play in driving progress on the social challenges we face as a society. Supporting an ageing population, transitioning to a zero-carbon economy and tackling antibiotic resistance will all require significant research and innovation and business will have a central role to play. Keeping the UK at the forefront of global innovation is a shared priority of the CBI and government. The Prime Minister has already made some promising statements to unleash innovation and make the UK a global hub for science and research, with the

18 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


target to reach 2.4% of GDP spend on R&D by 2027 at the heart of its plans. The UK currently spends 1.7% of GDP on R&D, far below the 2.4% OECD average, and UK investment is particularly limited outside of the South East. It will be difficult but international experience shows us that it is possible. In the last 20 years, 14 other countries have successfully increased their R&D intensity by the scale that the UK is aiming to achieve over a ten-year timespan. Hitting this target and achieving the benefits that can flow from it will need a new approach

Allisa is responsible for lobbying and policy development on R&D and innovation adoption. During her four years at the CBI, Alissa has covered several policy areas including public procurement and healthcare to more recently leading the development of the CBI’s life sciences sector approach

though, requiring the UK to build its R&D capacity across the country and beyond the South East at pace.


There are already examples of groundbreaking R&D taking place all over the UK as demonstrated in the CBI’s recent report “Don’t Wait, Innovate”. Within this report the innovation strengths that the UK has to offer were explored and the findings are promising. From the pioneering life sciences cluster in the East of England, the thriving agritechnology sector in Northern Ireland to


the cutting-edge transport cluster in the Midlands – the UK is leading the development of new innovations every day. Central to the success of these clusters of excellence is the strong partnerships being created between business, universities and a string of other local actors. Yet the truth is that we need to see more of this R&D happening at pace and scale to make a real dent in the 2.4% target. At a time when the UK faces increasing global competition from other countries powering ahead with their R&D strategies it is important that we develop a clear, bold brand and offer for UK innovation. This must be built on making it easier for businesses, including international ones, to invest in R&D throughout the UK.


One of the ways the CBI believes this could be achieved is through the creation

of a new network of “Catapult Quarters”. Catapult Quarters would be located around anchor institutions like Catapults and Research Technology Organisations (RTOs). They would build on local strengths and incentivise co-location and collaborative activity within designated geographic areas through a targeted benefits and support package, and in some cases regulatory flexibility. For example, the package provided by a Catapult Quarter could include access to business liaison services such as a dedicated business account manager, grant funding for collaborative R&D projects or access to new regulatory environments that enable the testing of technologies in the real-world. An important element of the Quarters would be taking a focus on applied research to help improve the UK’s capacity for commercialisation and enhance the attractiveness of the UK’s R&D offer – an area which businesses consistently highlight as needing improvement. By encouraging business colocation and bringing key local stakeholders together in a coordinated way Catapult Quarters could also support the development of even more clusters of excellence in different parts of the country and strengthen those that already exist. And they could also provide greater international visibility for UK regional capabilities which could

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

help attract international R&D investment and incentivise global businesses to anchor commercial activities in the UK. The CBI is pleased to be working with business and other stakeholders to further test how Catapult Quarters could be implemented in practice. Government’s recent announcement that it will be holding a review on how Catapults can be used to strengthen R&D capacity in local areas will provide an important opportunity for us to develop this further.


Whilst Catapult Quarters provide a significant opportunity, they should be seen as part of a holistic and long-term strategic approach to R&D. Government will also need to significantly expand public R&D funding to crowd in the business investment needed to hit 2.4%. This includes making the R&D tax credit internationally competitive and growing funding towards late stage development and commercialisation. Imagine, if R&D spending increases to 2.4% and Catapult Quarters are created, how much further the UK could grow its successful innovation-based economy. We could break even more ground on the grand challenges of our time and ensure the UK remains the home of global innovation for centuries to come. ■

For further information, please visit: powering-the-uk-s-low-carbon-future

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 19


Meet the Mayor


efore becoming Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street combined a career at John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government. Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose through the ranks to become managing director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history. He was also chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group. In 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy.


Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands in May 2017. As Mayor, Andy is chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with the role having significant powers and influence over some of the biggest issues affecting people’s lives in the West Midlands, including economic growth, transport, housing and skills and jobs

2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Andy, how do you feel your background has benefited you in your role as Mayor? There are more similarities than may appear between being CEO of a customer-facing business and a regional Mayor.

First of all, you are a front man. In business you champion the brand and your employees, in politics you champion your region and its people. Then, there is setting and sticking to a competitive strategy, which is as important in regional leadership as it is in business. A Mayor also has to build a team, create plans, set goals and ensure there is accountability for delivery, just as a Managing Director would. Crucially, in business, you employ analysis of a problem or opportunity, and then create a resourced plan to address the matter at hand. In the same way, I try to always be clear about what I want to achieve for the people of the West Midlands, and how we can achieve those goals. It’s about arriving at solutions through rigorous analytical processes, rather than politically-driven thinking.

turn their ideas into successful businesses. Places like Innovation Birmingham and the Custard Factory are providing centres of excellence for start-ups with promising ideas. From a digital point of view, the fact that our region will be the UK’s test bed for 5G technology is a huge draw, and we are now seeing a net positive migration of people to the city from London to Birmingham, which is a clear indication of changing attitudes. Most promisingly, the West Midlands recorded the highest increase in new businesses in the country since the Brexit vote, with a 21 per cent spike in new firms. The number of new firms here was eight per cent higher than in London and nine times higher than in the whole south east of England.

What do you feel have been the main achievements since being elected in 2017? I think we have achieved a great deal, but there’s lots more to do. We’ve linked up the region better with the extension of the Metro, we’re building new homes quicker than anywhere else in the UK and our Housing First scheme is starting to make a difference to help rough sleepers. But the thing I’m most pleased about is I think I have shown that someone can come into politics, who isn’t a career politician, and proven that this job can be done in a business-like way. I’ve always thought that this role is like a job interview with two million people and on the whole I believe we have done what we said we would do.

How do you think we effectively address the imbalance in the UK economy? Firstly, we need to ensure that investment is allocated fairly across the UK, through infrastructure investment, a higher minimum wage and a greater focus on skills and vocational education. However, ‘levelling’ up isn’t just about pumping money into new areas outside of London, it’s also about recognising why the capital has outperformed everywhere else consistently. For example, the South East’s transport system is one clear advantage. I want to create a similar network in the West Midlands over the next 20 years. Secondly, the regions should have the power to influence their own destiny, and make key decisions locally. My fellow Metro mayors and I have argued that further devolution of regional powers will inject new confidence into the industrial powerhouses of the Midlands and the North and help level up economic imbalance.

World class innovation is prominent in the region, how are you making it easier for start-ups and existing businesses to find investment and grow? Start-ups need the right infrastructure, both physical and digital, to flourish, and there also needs to be the investors and technical know-how to

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Is enough being done in terms of investment in apprenticeships and skills? We have made great strides with apprenticeships, which have changed a great deal. They are no longer the old-fashioned indenture-style training of previous generations. They offer a great way to earn and learn at the same time, and provide key work experience and a clear pathway for a career, no matter what age you are. They provide learning at all levels too, right up to degree – and our region’s business community has embraced them. The West Midlands Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme is a great example of how local decision-making can improve outcomes. We are the only region to benefit from a scheme of this kind, which allows us to use the unused apprenticeship levy paid by big local companies to help smaller firms. So, if a big firm is paying the levy but not using all of the money, rather than being swallowed by a national pot those funds come back to the West Midlands – where we then use it to help smaller firms take on apprentices. In all, we hope the levy fund will collect up to £40 million to create new apprenticeships for people in the region. Of course, there is still much to do and we are always looking for new opportunities to boost apprenticeships. For example, I want to work with the Institute for Apprenticeships to create courses in new automotive skills such as electric powertrain, battery technology, autonomous sensors and software, and composite materials. It has been stated by yourselves that the West Midlands economy will be the fastest growing of any city region in the country, how could and should this growth benefit all people and places across the region?

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 2 1


IF THERE’S ONE THING WE NEED TO C O N T I N U E T O D O , I T ’ S I N N O VAT E – B E C A U S E T H AT ’ S W H AT T H E W E S T M I D L A N D S H A S A L W AY S D O N E . A C R O S S A L L O U R S E C T O R S , I N N O VAT I O N I S T H E KEY TO OUR FUTURE SUCCESS I am determined to ensure that everyone benefits from the economic growth we are seeing here, across all communities, ages and ethnicities. Every proposal that comes to the Combined Authority board is assessed by our Inclusive Growth Unit, to make sure we genuinely are thinking about the implications of our decisions on all communities. If you look at how the lion’s share of the money which is now being spent whether that’s on improving housing or extending the transport network – you can see that the Unit’s assessments are helping to ensure we reach out to help the communities that are furthest from the success of the region. Do you feel progress is being made in creating more jobs in the region, for example in the automotive industry? We are doing well in terms of job growth, with 97,000 new roles created over the last three years alone. In terms of the automotive sector, I think we have a real opportunity to build on the West Midlands’ history as the UK’s automotive heartland as the industry switches to electric power. My role as Mayor is to help attract the investment to make that happen. Building a Gigafactory here to manufacture the batteries needed for the next generations of vehicles would bring thousands of jobs, for example. We want to encourage international automotive companies to bring electric van manufacturing here too. I also want to extend the National Retraining Scheme to the automotive sector, helping workers to learn new skills and move into new more highlypaid jobs in the industry.

2 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Can you tell us more about the Digital Skills Partnership? The West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership is another example of collaboration. It brings together the region’s leading tech employers, digital entrepreneurs, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Department of Culture Media and Sport, as well as universities, colleges and other training providers. The Partnership aims to identify what digital skills are needed across the West Midlands and attract and retain investment and talent in the region. Investment in digital skills will help us future-proof our region’s workforce and continue to help establish the West Midlands as the UK’s leading tech hub. Are your plans for the region to be carbon neutral by 2041 realistic? The target of reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2041 was set independently, by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, which was important as it was based on scientific evidence. I do think it is a realistic ambition, and I think we should look at it as an opportunity rather than a difficult challenge. We can achieve it through a number of ways – promoting active travel and cleaner transport, building eco-friendly homes on Brownfield sites, creating a West Midlands ‘national park’, launching behaviour change campaigns. But I also believe the need to tackle the climate change emergency could be the perfect catalyst for the next stage of devolution. Yes, the Government needs to take ownership of the climate

change issue, but they also need to trust the UK regions to deliver change. The evidence that this will work is there, and there could be no greater sign of trust than a significant devolved funding package to help us achieve it. Tell us more about the Thrive at Work Programme? Thrive at Work is a great idea, which promotes mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. The idea is for organisations and employers to sign up and commit to recommended guidelines to create a workplace that promotes employee health and wellbeing. It combines manager training and health and safety with promoting healthy lifestyles and offers three Wellbeing awards - bronze, silver and gold - that organisations can work towards. As someone who spent so many years in business at John Lewis I’m very aware of how important wellbeing in the workplace is and I’m incredibly proud that the West Midlands Combined Authority has helped create such ground-breaking programme. Should you be re-elected in May what would you consider as your priorities? There are so many challenges ahead that it’s practically impossible to prioritise one. We need to continue to attract the record levels of investment we’ve seen over the last three years, we need to deliver a world-class transport system, we need to boost skills even further and we need to continue to develop our policy of ‘Brownfield First’ house building. We need more powers devolved from the Government. We need to continue our work to beat homelessness. We need to tackle climate change. And then there’s the small matter of delivering two huge events – Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022! But if there’s one thing we need to continue to do, it’s innovate – because that’s what the West Midlands has always done. Across all our sectors, innovation is the key to our future success. ■

To find out more, please visit:

ADVICE FOR INNOVATORS Hazlewoods specialist Innovation and Technology team deliver bespoke solutions to start-ups or established multinationals. For example, we recently worked with a growing software engineering company, initially to advise on accounting, tax and R&D tax credits. We were able to offer a ‘full service’ on an ‘all inclusive’ fee. HOW DID WE HELP? As our relationship with the company developed, we helped with other advice and assistance with the company’s growth, including: company secretarial services; employee expenses and benefits; > setting up an employee share scheme and associated compliance requirements; > preparing valuations of the company’s shares for further grants of employee share options; > >

advice on ‘employment-related securities’ tax matters regarding employee shares; > developing a bespoke Management Information platform and ‘dashboard’ to aid strategic business management; > ‘employment intermediaries’ reporting; and > advice on ‘off payroll working’. >

The company was acquired by a large multinational, we advised throughout the sale process, assisted with the due diligence exercise and preparation of completion accounts, and reviewed the proposed sale documentation. During the three years that we worked with the company, we prepared R&D tax credit claims worth over £1.1 million. If you would like accounting, tax or funding help for your innovative business, please contact David Clift at or 01242 680000. @HazlewoodsInnov We strongly recommend you take professional advice before making decisions on matters discussed here. No responsibility for any loss to any person acting as a result of the material can be accepted by us. Hazlewoods LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales with number OC311817. Registered office: Staverton Court, Staverton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 0UX. A list of LLP partners is available for inspection at each office. Hazlewoods LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the UK and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

4255 HWDS UKSPA Innovation 178x116.5mm Advert AW.indd 1

18/03/2020 15:17

Severn Biotech Ltd



MANUFACTURING PARTNERS Major Scientific Industry brands guarantee the best products at the best prices.

High Precision Thermoregulation

Metering Pump Solutions

Analytical and Precision Balances

Manufacturers of Bio-science Laboratory Products since January 1990 Severn Biotech Ltd is celebrating 30 years of manufacturing

 Sterile Phosphate Buffered Saline Solutions 1x PBS, 10X PBS  Electrophoresis Buffers TAE, TBE, TGSDS, TG./ Tris Buffers  Nuclease Free Water: Sterile DNase/ RNase Free 50x5ml, 250ml  PAGE Acrylamide Solutions / MB Grade Agarose  GITC DNA Extraction / Water Saturated Phenols / Severn Tri-Reagent

Fluoroplastic (eg PTFE, PFA) Labware

Vacuum Pumps and Networks




2 4 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Synthetic Peptides/ Peptide Conjugates KLH,BSA

Bespoke manufacturing & Customised Formulation

Overhead and Magnetic Stirrers

Contact : Severn Biotech Ltd Unit 2 Park Lane Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY116TJ

Tel: (+44) (0) 1562 825286 FAx: (+44) (0) 1562 825284


On and off site services for your business

What is the real impact of business accelerators and incubators?


Jonathan’s research at Nesta focuses on two key areas: Understanding how digital entrepreneurship can be supported across Europe (as part of the Startup Europe Partnership and the European Digital Forum); and Accessing the alternative finance market and how crowdfunding can be used as an innovative way of financing products and services

usiness accelerators and incubators play important roles in startup ecosystems, both offering a range of services (such as workspace, mentorship, training and funding) to early stage businesses, with the aim of helping them survive the fragile early stages of growth. The labels accelerator and incubator mean different things to different people, and the words are often used interchangeably.

However, the key difference between the two models, as we see it, is that while accelerators typically offer support through intense cohort-based programmes of limited duration, usually 3-12 months, incubators support startups on a more flexible basis, taking on new businesses when space becomes available, for an open-ended duration, often up to several years.

Defining Characteristics of Incubators and Accelerators Source: Adapted from Dempwolf et al. (2014)

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 2 5

Outcome measures positively associated with different types of support typically offered by accelerators and incubators

On our last count in 2017 (conducted with support from UKSPA) there were a total of 163 accelerators and 205 incubators in the UK—a large number of which located on science parks. Funding these programmes comes at a significant cost. We estimate that between £20-30 million of public sector funding goes into running these programmes each year; with a considerable amount of funding also coming from corporates and other private investment. However, despite the amount of money being spent on them, until now there was relatively little robust evidence regarding their impact, especially in the UK context.


Firstly, because at Nesta we strongly believe that, where possible, government policy and spending should be based on robust evidence. Secondly, we were concerned that without being able to communicate their impact to funders, accelerators and incubators will be at risk of having their funding removed and not be able continue the good work they do. Thirdly, research into the impact of accelerators and incubators can help us understand how to optimise programme design in order to maximise their effectiveness. For these reasons, we recently conducted research in collaboration with London School of Economics, The Open University and Beauhurst, and with funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to understand the impact of incubators and accelerators in the UK. This question comes with a major challenge in that accelerators and incubators are typically highly competitive, only selecting the best quality startups to take part in their programmes. This means that if we just compared startups that had participated in a programme with those that didn’t, we would expect those selected to take part in a programme to do better regardless of any value added by the programme itself. To control this issue, using data from one corporate accelerator we used the scores given to startups on application to control for their relative quality.

2 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

We found evidence that participating in this particular accelerator was associated with an increase in business survival rates of around 50%, an increase in the amount of external investment they raised, equating to about £90,000 more funding, and an increase in their growth in terms of the number of people they employed. While this paints a really positive, showing that accelerators can have a positive impact on the startups they support, it only used data from one programme and so can’t necessarily be generalised to all accelerators and incubators because some are likely to be more effective than others. In that case what makes a ‘good’ accelerator programme? Using data from more than 300 startups that had participated in a range of different programmes, we compared how receiving different types of support affected eight different outcomes measures, including growth in number of employees, the amount of investment they raised, their selfperceived innovativeness and how impactful they perceived the programme to be. While most types of support could be positively associated with at least one of these outcome measures, few could be positively linked with multiple outcomes. This suggests that there probably isn’t one optimum design for incubator or accelerator programmes. Rather what works best will be highly dependent on the specific aims of the programme and the context (e.g. location and sector of focus) within which it takes place.

Nevertheless, we found strongest evidence that the following types of support may have a positive impact: access to investors, access to peers, help with team formation, direct funding from the programme, press or media exposure, mentoring from an industry expert, venture capitalist or business angel, and help measuring social impact. Each of which were positively associated with more than one outcome measure.

To understand what impact accelerators have on the wider business ecosystems within which they belong, we compared the amount of investment going to startups, before and after the first accelerator was launched in a region. We found that following the launch of a programme, there was an increase in the amount of investment going to both startups that didn’t participate in the programme, as well as those that did. In summary, we found evidence that accelerators and incubators can have a positive impact on the startups they support and that these benefits do spillover into the wider ecosystem. We also now have a better understanding of how the different types of support offered by accelerators and incubators affect startup outcomes. Based on these findings we have recommended that public funders continue to support accelerators and incubators, but that they also invest in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of those programmes they do fund. As mentioned above there is still a lot of uncertainty around what the optimum design for an accelerator or incubator programme looks like. For this reason we recommend that programme managers do what they can to assess their own impact and test what programme designs work best in their context. We understand that the main issue here is capacity, however, we know that there are many academic and think tank researchers in the UK which would be eager to conduct evaluations in partnership with programmes if given access to their data. Doing this will both help you optimise your own programme but also to demonstrate your value to funders. ■

We would like to thank UKSPA for helping disseminate our survey and the UKSPA members which participated, without your support this research would not have been possible. For further information, please visit:

The Rotronic Universal Monitoring System – RMS

Monitoring environmental conditions in any industry requires a fully integrated continuous monitoring system. The modular Rotronic Monitoring System – RMS is the perfect solution. It provides installation flexibility and full data availability, anywhere, and on a variety of devices. Rotronic can meet all your requirements, incorporating multiple sensors for parameters on a secure network. We can service the entire system.

Find out more at

ROTRONIC Instruments (UK) Ltd, Crompton Fields, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9EE T: 01293 571000,

A PST Company (

Complete Kits or Components Custom Made for You Does your new product need bespoke kit components? We can help with our personalised, flexible, fast custom design service. You define the specifications, size, branding and packaging.

New CapilliSafe® Pastettes ■ Enable easy collection and dispensing of blood droplets from a finger stick ■ Collection and dispensing from a single use disposable plastic tube ■ Perfect for use in diagnostic and home testing kits

■ No user experience necessary ■ Fill easily by capillary action to a preset volume

Just one of many components available for kit compilation Contact Alpha Laboratories for more information or a quotation for your custom design requirements and join our long list of satisfied customers.

T: 023 8048 3000 W:

UKSPA_Apr_2020.indd 1

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

20/03/2020 15:32:29

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 2 7


“As good as it gets” Reflections on the impact of The High Value Manufacturing Catapult


ack in 2010, as the country worked to pull itself out of the teeth of the financial crisis, UK businesses were facing a bumpy ride. Output growth was weak and expected to stagnate in the face of weak global and domestic demand. Global forecasters were predicting a 1930s-style slump. Doom-laden daily headlines meant confidence was low. A key challenge was to find a route back to a more confident, more resilient manufacturing future. The Government of the day decided part of its response must be action to address the UK’s long-standing failure to translate the knowledge flowing from its world-leading research base into economic benefit. It saw a golden opportunity to change the tune by creating a network of ‘Catapult Centres’ which would connect businesses with the UK’s research and academic communities and de-risk the investments innovation hungry firms needed to make to translate great research into the market-leading goods and services that would help rebuild Britain’s economy.


The High Value Manufacturing Catapult was the first of the new Catapult Centres. A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping firms turn great ideas into reality using the very latest research, it brought together seven existing UK technology Centres who saw that, by working together, they could deliver more for UK manufacturers.

boost prosperity. As Chief Executive I would have an opportunity to do something to change that. Looking back now, as I prepare to retire from the Catapult later this year, I’m proud to say that I think we have succeeded.


Dick Elsy is the Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the go-to place for advanced manufacturing technology in the UK. With over £800m of assets, supporting both industry and academia, it represents the greatest concentration of advanced manufacturing research capability in Europe

In 2012 I was privileged to be appointed as its first Chief Executive. After many years in very commercial businesses, the Catapult struck me as a transformational solution to a problem I had been living with for most of my industrial career: our apparent inability fully to harness and translate the UK’s scientific excellence and instinct for invention into the manufacturing value-add that would


Since its inception, thanks to some amazing leaders and technologists across our Centres, the HVM Catapult has established itself as the ‘go to’ place for advanced manufacturing technology in the UK. It has worked on many thousands of projects, with many thousands of firms of all sizes and has developed a global reputation for excellence. The impact of its work is outstanding. HVM Catapult Centres have not only made a difference to the bottom lines of the individual firms they’ve worked with, they’ve also played a major role in developing the technologies needed to address some of the country’s greatest challenges like climate change or mobility. At a more local level the Catapult has also served as a magnet for global investors looking to set up operations close to our Centres, creating good quality jobs and regenerating communities. I came to the Catapult with a desire to plough something back into an industry which had fed and clothed me for so long. To have been given the chance to help to lift manufacturing in the UK to new heights and to have been a part in the delivery of significant new economic wealth creation projects, has been a rare and deep privilege. For a British engineer, my time with the HVM Catapult has been as good as it gets. ■

To find out more about The High Value Manufacturing Catapult, please visit:

Cultivate Compliance Solutions for Safe User and Data Management When compliance is crucial, METTLER TOLEDO state-of-the-art laboratory products, software and service options are on hand to help. Our solutions help you implement internal controls and procedures for complete, secure data collection and storage. Whether you are transferring liquids, weighing and analysing samples or exporting to a LIMS we have a suitable software solution. Combined with our expert advice on operation, calibration and maintenance data compliance is assured, making audits simply a matter of routine work.

Mettler-Toledo Ltd Tel: 0116 234 5095 Email:



Marching on together


Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and Innovation

he Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) works with public and private sector partners to unlock the City Region’s vast economic potential where everyone can build great businesses, careers and lives. Leeds City Region has the raw ingredients to be an engine of ideas and innovation that can drive forward, not only our economy but the national economy. By 2030 we will have made significant gains in reducing the disparity in public and private innovation investment between Leeds City Region and the South East. Our region boasts world-class innovation assets in healthcare technology, manufacturing and as a creative and digital heartland. With several NHS HQs, some of the world’s largest public and private-sector healthcare data platforms, over 15,000 digital tech companies and now the national HQ for Channel 4, there is potential for gamechanging innovation.

3 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

We know that successful regional economies are those that create a culture of innovation that enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs), larger firms, entrepreneurs and institutions to create, accelerate, champion and retain innovation.


Roger Marsh has been Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since 2013 and during that time has led the LEP through a period of significant transformation, including securing the country’s largest ever Local Growth Deal with Government. In partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the LEP – a public, private sector partnership – promotes Leeds City Region on a national and international scale

The LEP invested £3 million of Leeds City Region Growth Deal funding into the £40 million Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Leeds that opened last year. Complementing the LEPs innovation support for SMEs, the centre helps businesses to access world-class research expertise and expands lab space in the city. More than 500 businesses are expected to benefit from the new facility over the next few years. This year, research and evaluation business, Research Toolkit moved into Nexus and is developing a new platform that will connect young seekers with potential employers. The project will be 30 per cent funded by the LEP Access Innovation programme and 70 per cent self-funded.

OUR REGION BOASTS WORLD - CL AS S I N N O VAT I O N A S S E T S I N H E A LT H C A R E T E C H N O L O G Y, M A N U F A C T U R I N G A N D A S A C R E AT I V E A N D D I G I TA L H E A R T L A N D Dr David Wilkinson, Founder of Research Toolkit, said: “One of the main drivers behind our move to Nexus was to access the first-class business support services offered by the Nexus team and collaborators such as KPMG and the LEP.” We have also invested in the pioneering 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, a one-stop-shop that caters for all aspects of technical and business support. It gives businesses a foot in the door to the university’s schools, benefitting from R&D support, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) opportunities and student placements.


Credit: Hannah Webster

Building innovation into our ecosystem is key. In January we welcomed delegates from all over the world for a three-day workshop as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT REAP). The programme is centred on the idea that successful regions can link innovation with entrepreneurship to create an

environment or ecosystem that promotes high growth. We focused on our nationally and internationally significant healthcare technology sector and the support that has inspired a diverse range of medical technology and digital health entrepreneurs. Combined with our position as a UK-wide centre for NHS decision-making, Leeds City Region is uniquely placed to further develop healthcare. The insights gained from MIT REAP were valuable, helping to inform the development of our Local Industrial Strategy. The Local Industrial Strategy is our long-term plan to boost productivity and transform the City Region. We want to have the strongest innovation ecosystem in the UK. Therefore, accelerating economic growth through technology and innovation is at the centre of the strategy. By supporting businesses, innovators and budding entrepreneurs to develop, we can help bring to life more and better ideas to solve our biggest societal challenges.

Raising productivity across the City Region in line with the UK average is also a central aim of our Local Industrial Strategy and we believe supporting businesses to create and innovate will help achieve this.


Through the LEP Growth Service, we provide support to businesses through our Access Innovation programme. With funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Local Growth Fund, Access Innovation helps SMEs to become more productive and competitive through the development of new products, processes and services. It links SMEs directly to specialist expertise and facilities within researchintensive organisations, such as universities, Catapult Centres and private sector specialists. Access Innovation has engaged with over 700 SMEs to date and we have invested £1.9m into projects. It has helped local businesses to access specialist expertise through collaborative innovation projects and supported the purchase of capital equipment to facilitate the development or commercialisation of new products or processes. We have seen a great interest in this programme from businesses in the healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing and digital sectors. One of the businesses supported by the programme is Paxman in Huddersfield. The business received a £100,000 grant to create a topical product which they hope will enhance the reduction in hair loss for patients undergoing chemotherapy when used in conjunction with a cooling cap. Paxman has reported positive results and if successful, the project will reduce the trauma experienced by patients. As Access Innovation draws to a close in June, our support for SMEs will continue with Connecting Innovation; this programme will support SMEs in the region to access the right support and the right time in the aim of creating a culture of innovation, utilising regional opportunities. ■

For further information, please visit:

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 3 3


WISE Woman

Transforming the campaign for greater gender balance in STEM Helen, could you tell us about your background and how that led to you to WISE? I’ve always been passionate about women’s equality, participation and recognition. I have worked on equality, diversity and inclusion since my days as an activist in the women’s movement in the 1980s. I worked in a wide range of roles including seven years as Director of Campaigns for the Equal Opportunities Commission, five years delivering projects via my own consultancy company, Equal to the Occasion until the opportunity came up at WISE in 2012. The great thing about WISE is that I get to work with decision makers from business, industry and education who are in a position to make a real difference. What do you think have been the most positive aspects of engaging women in STEM and the WISE Campaign? Over the last eight years I have been encouraged by the growing number of men taking an active interest in the campaign. Year on year we have seen more men attend WISE Conferences and other events. This is a positive sign that gender balance in STEM isn’t about women’s rights, it’s about good business. Helen Wollaston CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WISE

Helen has helped transform WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) into a thriving, independent social enterprise, enabling business and education providers to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in the UK’s scientific, technology and engineering workforce

3 4 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Are companies doing enough to nurture female talent in STEM? What more needs to be done? There is a tendency to focus efforts in the education system rather than look at what can be done internally by companies to improve opportunities for

women they already employ. Whilst of course it is important to promote positive role models who will inspire girls to choose science, technology and engineering, it is equally important to make sure that policies and practices within the workplace are fit for purpose so that once recruited, women can be themselves and thrive. WISE developed a Ten Steps framework with industry partners to improve the retention and progression of women in a science, technology and engineering environment. Is there enough support from leaders, senior management and managers in changing the culture of business to embrace equality and in turn recognition? Educating leaders is the step which provokes the most discussion amongst WISE members. As with any other transformation programme, visible commitment by leaders is absolutely critical to making a real and sustained difference. It helps to have an Executive level sponsor of diversity and inclusion to champion the agenda at Board level and hold people to account. We get very positive engagement from business leaders at our annual CXO breakfasts, giving an opportunity to share challenges and solutions amongst a peer group of leaders from different sectors. Signing charters and making verbal commitments are not enough – people expect their leaders to walk the talk and to remove blocks and barriers to change.

about gender pay gaps, as well as candidates and employees, creating momentum for change. Some organisations hold managers to account for making progress on diversity targets through pay and performance management processes, which also acts as a powerful lever for change. There is often criticism of the recruitment process of women into STEM roles, has this improved in recent years? This is another area where we are seeing progressive employers and universities review and update their practice in order to attract a more diverse applicant pool. It is not about lowering the bar, as some may fear. Values-based recruitment campaigns which inspire applicants with a sense of purpose and emphasise the attributes of the type of person the organisation is looking for rather than a long list of technical requirements and years of experience tend to resonate better with women. They may be filters at later stages of the process which filter women out. WISE shares case studies and practical advice with our members so that they don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Often there have been difficulties for women looking to return to work. Are the barriers coming down?

We are seeing an encouraging growth in returner and retraining programmes from employers who recognise the pool of talent available amongst women who have taken a career break. All too often, they end up trading down their career for flexibility. There are still far too few part-time or flexible working options available in science, technology and engineering, particularly in senior roles. Businesses who advertise roles as being available on a flexible basis always attract high quality candidates who cannot work full time, fixed hours at a fixed location. Are business leaders doing enough to engage more women in STEM? Until we reach parity, there is always more that can be done by all parties involved. WISE would like to see 30% female representation in the UK’s STEM workforce. This is a good benchmark for all organisations, no matter what their size. Once any minority is a third or more of a group, they no longer feel like they are the odd ones out. Women will be judged on their ability first, not on their gender. Are there now more role models for women? We now have a million women working in STEM roles. There are plenty of role models around but we need to raise their profile, to show girls that science, Renowned scientist Fran Scott performs a demonstration at the 2019 WISE Awards

Is there enough accountability from business to demonstrate their commitment to a diverse workforce? In a tight labour market, organisations have to work harder to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion in order to attract and retain the best people. Gender pay gap reporting has increased accountability because the data is in the public domain. People are starting to ask questions when they see that 90% or more of those in the upper pay quartile are men. Clients, investors and shareholders are asking questions

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 3 5


engineering, technology and maths open doors to exciting, well-paid jobs where they can make a real difference to the world. We developed the MySkillsMyLife resource which helps girls identify their personality type and suggests career options to suit. It provides access to nearly 600 real-life role models doing STEM jobs, allowing girls to find out first-hand what is involved. From your report, Women in tech roles is very much under-represented and companies are failing to attract and retain women in the sector, why do think this is? What can be done to stop this trend? Figures show that women represent just 16% of IT professionals; this figure has been largely static for the last ten years. This is a real and serious issue, when you consider that technology roles today account for more than 25% of core STEM roles and have such a fundamental impact on all our lives. In the long term we need to improve the relevance and appeal of computing to girls at an early age. In the short-term, to fill immediate skills shortages, we should be offering more accessible pathways for women to re-train so that they can work in technology. Can you tell us more about your Ambassador programme? We launched our Ambassador programme in 2019. It is a network of inspirational, influential and diverse women working in science, technology and engineering, who are helping us at strategic level to extend the reach and impact of the campaign. Led by Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer of NHS England, the group has already opened doors in new regions and sectors, in academia, research communities and government as well as industry. What would you like to see from the government in increasing participation, contribution and success of women in STEM? I would like to see targets set across all areas of education and the industrial strategy – like the 30% target for the offshore wind industry workforce. This would focus attention on the issue and encourage more consistent collection of gender-disaggregated data. It would also improve transparency and help to measure the impact of different

3 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Princess Anne - a patron of WISE - speaks at the launch of MySkillsMyLife at UTC Reading

initiatives. Currently a lot of public money is invested in different programmes designed to address the issue but we don’t very often see evidence of outcomes. How do we address the need for gender balance in the classroom? A whole-school approach is important; taking a robust approach to challenge gender stereotypes so that boys and girls are encouraged to discover their niche, free from old-fashioned gender stereotypes which limit their options. We also need to involve parents in the conversations. Parents, particularly mothers, are the biggest influencers on their daughter’s choices. Demonstrating the variety of opportunities and positive support provided to women in science, technology and engineering can be a real eye-opener. How do we provide more early year opportunities for girls to engage and realise their potential in stem? We would like to see more role models going into schools, especially role models doing new types of work which students and indeed teachers may not have heard of. Employers, colleges and universities can inspire students by hosting open days, offering work experience and projects to bring STEM subjects to life. Could you tell us more about the Ten Steps Programme? Our industry led Ten Steps is a pragmatic business framework to ensure that women in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing have the same opportunities to progress in their career as

their male counterparts. It works with all levels of organisations, whichever stage they are at in their gender balance journey to show where they are and how they can improve and measure that journey. The practical steps address how best to remove the complex barriers that can stand in the way of real equality of opportunity and how to develop a genuinely inclusive culture, helping to improve the recruitment, retention and progression of women. The framework provides structured support, advice and benchmarking which allows companies to learn from each other. Future plans and objectives for WISE in 2020? Firstly, we will work with more employers, universities and colleges to create a truly inclusive environment for women from all backgrounds in science, technology and engineering. Secondly, we will increase visibility of positive role models through a special one million women in STEM online campaign, sharing stories to show the breadth and depth of contributions women are making to STEM across the UK. We are also linking gender balance in STEM to sustainability, showcasing women using science and tech to address the climate and biodiversity emergency. Thirdly, we will develop new pathways for women who want to change career path to move into technology from other types of jobs and careers. ■

To find out more, please visit:

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 3 7


Heading in the right direction Transformational transport investment for Northern regeneration


roductivity is vital for economic growth. It determines the wealth, wages and living standards of a society and is critical for ensuring the longterm success of a country. The Government has said that it wants to level up the UK economy, by re-balancing the economy away from London and the South East to other parts of the country, including the North. This objective is based on the idea that the UK’s productivity challenge is largely a result of these areas significantly lagging behind the capital, and that a turnaround in the UK’s fortunes overall can only be achieved by correcting the imbalance and boosting productivity in these slower growing regions.


The North of England already has significant strengths. It is one of the largest regions in the UK with a population of 16 million and generates over a fifth of the UK’s GDP. It has seven of the UK’s leading universities and features over five areas of outstanding natural beauty. It has a major international airport, currently the UK’s

3 8 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


third largest, with significant spare capacity and a number of significant other ports and airports. Increasingly, it is home to a number of ‘prime’ capability industries that are capable of competing globally. To truly create a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ economy, however, will require a step change in the economic performance of our cities, towns and economic centres. Most future growth is likely to be in knowledge intensive industries, which are disproportionately city based. Cities are the engine of economic growth as they help match workers to firms and firms to workers. Doubling the size of the city alone can increase productivity by 3 to 8%. So cities matter, but increasing productivity in city centres is only likely to drive transformational

As Head of Economic Advice for Transport for the North, Tim is responsible for developing the evidence base to support transformational investment in pan Northern connectivity and driving economic growth across the North

economic change if it is part of a wider strategy for improving economic prosperity across a range of places. Transport is fundamental to driving economic change on the spatial scale of the North of England. We need to encourage greater co-operation beyond traditional boundaries; create a joinedup approach that helps Northern towns, cities and rural areas develop sustainably and ensure that prosperity generated by the Northern Powerhouse is shared as widely as possible, not just in the key cities. Transport for the North’s role is to make the case for transformational transport investment that would enable the North to function as a single economic area, with productivity growth driven by easier commuting, trade and knowledge sharing both within

23 Strategic Transport Plan | Introduction

Strategic Transport Plan Connecting People


Connecting Businesses

Northern Powerhouse & UK Economy

Moving Goods

Aims of the Plan

Inclusive & Sustainable Growth

Strategic Development Corridors Major Road Network


Strategic Rail

Funding Spatial Planning


Analysis & Appraisal TRANSPORT FOR THE

and between our city regions. Bringing these cities and economic centres closer together to help the region function more like a unified economy that has the size and scale to compete globally with the most productive and prosperous places around the world.


In 2019, Transport for the North published the first Strategic Transport Plan for the North of England, setting out an ambitious vision to transform the economy of the North of England and

create a global powerhouse that could compete with the most productive and prosperous places in the world, creating 850,000 jobs by 2050 and adding £100bn to the North’s economy. The Plan will rebalance decades of underinvestment and transform the lives of people in the North. A truly inter-connected North will drive business productivity which creates a virtuous cycle of greater investment and higher skilled jobs locating to the region. More people will have the opportunity to access a wider range of jobs that better match their skills. Businesses will more

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

easily be able to seek out opportunities across a wider range of markets. This helps drive business productivity, more investment and higher skilled jobs locating to the region. Visitors to the North by rail and air can access a wider range of destinations, growing the visitor economy and supporting trade and inward investment. Northern Powerhouse Rail forms the heart of that plan for an interconnected North. A fast, frequent train service connecting the city regions of the North. NPR and HS2 together can bring new opportunities to millions of people and thousands of businesses, a one in a generation opportunity to create a core spine of rail connectivity for the next century and beyond. Transport for the North recognises that fulfilling that opportunity will require not only significant investment in transport infrastructure, but progress on skills, research and development, decarbonisation and social inclusion to grow a successful and prosperous North. Our Plan is aligned with and reflect the vision of our Northern towns and cities. The key then is to ensure that investment in transport can kickstart a wider revolution of opportunity for business, people and places. Emerging spatial plans and economic around proposed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail stations demonstrate the opportunity for unlocking the economic potential of the North. In Leeds for example, the arrival of HS2 is a facilitator of the regeneration of the South Bank, a 250-hectare regeneration project creating at least 8,000 new homes and generating 35,000 jobs, doubling the size and economic impact of Leeds city centre. The key test for Northern Powerhouse Rail will be how it contributes to the creation of inclusive, healthy and productive spaces and places right across the North. ■

For more about TfN, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 3 9


Extending the frontiers of UK science and industry

Biomedical Catalyst


Non-dilutive funding for Health & Life Science companies

he UK has a thriving health and life science sector that is a highly productive, R&D intensive cornerstone of the UK economy. Numerous challenges await small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to explore and develop innovative new products such as attracting skilled workers, identifying the right geographical location and ecosystem for the company along with the scientific and technical challenges posed by the innovation itself. One challenge that all SMEs typically face is in finding the money to pay for commercial research and development projects, particularly ones that are at an early stage of development and have a high degree of scientific or technical risk that would put off the most ardent investor. The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) is a joint programme run by Innovate UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC) and was launched in 2012. It was part of a wider package of measures to support the life sciences sector under the Government’s Industrial Strategy with the aims of:

4 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


Michael is an Innovation Lead for the Biomedical Catalyst funding programme at Innovate UK - part of UK Research & Innovation. The Biomedical Catalyst has provided over £210m grant funding to innovative healthcare SMEs since 2012

• Delivering growth to the UK life sciences sector;

• Delivering innovative life sciences

products and services more quickly and more effectively into healthcare;

• Provide support to academic and

commercially led R&D in a seamless, effective and efficient manner.

Funding for commercially led R&D was designed to enable companies to derisk innovative projects and make them more attractive to external investors. The programme supports a ‘technology agnostic’ and supports a broad range of projects including gene therapies, drug discovery, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostics, standalone digital health including artificial/ augmented intelligence. Why was the Biomedical Catalyst programme created? The creation of the Biomedical Catalyst was partly motivated by major strategic issues faced by the UK life science industry in the early 2010s. At the time, the sector faced challenges including an extended period of declining R&D productivity and expected loss of revenues from the expiry of patents on ‘blockbuster’ products. This led to disinvestments in R&D by large pharmaceutical businesses which were partly offset by a growth in biotechnology start-ups and the emergence of new industries (e.g. digital health). However, the global financial crisis of 2008 led to a

One stage process. Written assessment Feasibility £200k TRL



Project stage

Basic and Applied Research

widespread withdrawal of the risk finance upon which these businesses depended to fund their activities, placing constraints on their growth. How does the programme work? In essence, the programme is a partnership between UK Research & Innovation organisations with MRC funding academic led projects whilst Innovate UK fund commercially led projects. Innovate UK have four streams of the Biomedical Catalyst programme that focus on providing non-dilutive grant funding at different stages of development from feasibility (total project costs £250k) through to late stage projects (total project costs £4 million). Typically, competitions for grant funding are run every 3-4 months and consist of two streams that companies can apply for e.g. feasibility and early stage. Since 2012, Innovate UK has provided £210 million in grant awards to UK companies and the programme is open to any eligible SME who can apply for grant funding for 70% of the total project costs. What impact has the programme had since it started? The programme uses UK taxpayer money to fund innovative and high risk projects so it is crucial that we understand the impact that the funding has had and whether it provides value for money. In November 2014, Ipsos MORI were commissioned to undertake an independent evaluation of the programme. An interim report was published in 2016 that explored the impact and processes used during the period from 2012 to 2015. A second and final report from the evaluation was published in October 2019 and focused on the longer-term impact of the programme in stimulating R&D investment and accelerating the development of biomedical technologies led by industry and academia. Grant funding through the Biomedical Catalyst had an enduring effect on commercial R&D spending. It is estimated that the programme:


Two stage process. Written assessment + panel

Primer £1.5 million


Translational Development

Early stage £4 million





Clinical evaluation and regulatory approval

• Led to an increase in overall R&D

spending of £248m to £350m by 2018.

• Levered an additional £0.76 to £1.48 of private R&D spending per £1 of public sector spending.

• Increased employment by 11 to 15

percent over 3 to 5 years (net of deadweight), equivalent to the creation of 234 to 330 jobs.

The programme also had a significant positive effect on the ability of businesses to leverage additional venture finance from the private sector. It is estimated that:

• The 150 firms benefitting from the

programme raised between £563m and £710m in private investment as a direct result of the programme.

• The estimated leverage ratio was

between £3.99 and £5.09 per £1 of public spending.

Overall, Ipsos MORI found that the Biomedical Catalyst had been successful in stimulating investment in the life science sectors and accelerating the development of healthcare technologies. Comparisons with evaluations of other initiatives suggest the programme has been, at minimum, as effective as R&D tax credits in stimulating private R&D investment. A cost-benefit analysis of the grants awarded to businesses by Innovate UK related the benefits of the programme embodied in the increase in the value of businesses supported suggested that the BMC also offered strong value for money, with a central estimate of the benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of £4.72 per £1 invested. This substantially exceeds the hurdle rate of return typically applied in the approval of the Business Cases for these types of scheme. What does the future hold for the Biomedical Catalyst? Since the programme started in 2012, the number of applications from medical

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Late stage £4 million

9 Post market, Adoption and monitoring

device and diagnostics companies including stand-alone digital health has increased dramatically and approximately half of recent competition awards have been made to companies working in these areas. The geographical distribution of funding has also changed since 2012 when funding almost exclusively went to companies in the ‘golden triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London. Around 40% of recent grants went to companies outside of the golden triangle. Although the reason for this change has not be evaluated, it is likely due to a combination of factors with a key one being the investments and development of innovation ecosystems in the other parts of the UK. At the time of writing, the programme has fully distributed the £100 million ring fenced funding that it was allocated in 2016. The last round of the competition was in 2019 when £10 million in grant funding was made available. In total, the competition received 357 applications from companies who sought a total of £116 million in grant funding. In order to be eligible for funding, applicants have to score a minimum of 70% in the written assessment. The total amount of funding sought by companies who met this standard was £80 million. The drivers behind the creation of the Biomedical Catalyst are still present and demand for non-dilutive funding from companies in the health and life science sector is still strong. Further funding to continue the programme has been requested by Innovate UK and given the importance of this sector to the UK economy, we are hopeful that the Biomedical Catalyst will continue. ■

To learn more about the Biomedical Catalyst programme, please visit: translation/biomedical-catalyst or contact Dr Michael Kipping: Michael.kipping@

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 41


Heavenly Connections The network increasing awareness of angel investor benefits



The Minerva Business Angel Network, operated by the University of Warwick Science Park, is an organisation which has helped over 70 companies receive more than £11 million through its network of Angel investors, attracting around a further £35 million in co-investment

4 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

inerva Business Angels are part of the University of Warwick Science Park Ltd and initially started as an informal network in 1994. In 2010 we formed our first investment group and from there we have grown into the UK’s largest traditional angel network. We operate out of 10 centres with groups together with: (1) Birmingham (a collaboration between Minerva Aston and Birmingham universities); (2) Black Country growth hub; (3) Sci-Tech Daresbury Science Park (Chester); (4) Gloucester; (5) Loughborough University; (6) John Moores University (Liverpool); (7) London (with Warwick Business School); (8) Nottingham (a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent) and (9) Warwick Innovation Centre; and an associate member (10) Wroxall.


Minerva has supported over 90 companies leverage £63m in investment since 2010. One of our great challenges is the regional imbalance in investment activity and the accompanying risk of a loss of talent, jobs and entrepreneurs as they seek funding down South. Given the relatively low investment activity in our SMEs compared to the South East, we have a pool of latent talent in the Midlands and North of potential investors get to be fully engaged. It is an important capital not only in financial terms but as an experience base that more than ever, we need to engage with to support our local entrepreneurs. We have, in the UK, a unique and important tax incentive, the Enterprise Investment scheme, that has been a great asset in helping investment in early-stage companies. However, the

The Venture Centre at University of Warwick Science Park is home to Minerva

distribution of investment validates the level of challenge we face in seeking to balance the UK’s economy. HMRC tells us under their Enterprise Investment scheme, and Seed Enterprise Investment scheme £2.1bn was invested in what can be considered start-ups and scale-ups. This is 6,240 companies who use the support yet 67% of this money was invested in companies based in London or the South East.


The British Business Bank tells us in their report ’The UK Business Angel Market’ - “The so-called golden triangle between London-CambridgeOxford is where most UK angels are located and where they tend to invest. Over half (57%) of angels are based in London and the South East, with the majority (80%) of London based angels making at least one investment in London. But angels elsewhere are also attracted to investing in London with 63% of non-London based investors making at least one London based investment.” Through the British Business Banks, we have seen many initiatives seeking to address this disparity, for example, the Northern Power House and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund both of which has helped. However, sadly we seem to lack the culture enjoyed in the South of active investing in our entrepreneurs and these young high growth companies to the same level. As we move North property is historically perceived as the principal investment tool for those with any spare capital and the term High Net Worth investor (selfcertification requirement for angel investors) is a term frequently misunderstood. Yet Angel money is invariably good soft finance being patient and generally philanthropic in nature (its risky nature is well understood). However,

A N G E L M O N E Y I S I N VA R I A B LY G O O D S O F T F I N A N C E . . . H O W E V E R , F R E Q U E N T LY N O T R E A L I S E D I S T H E VA L U E T H E I N V E S T O R S ’ E XPERIENCE AND CONNECTIONS BRING frequently not realised is the value (if not greater) the investors’ experience and connections bring. While investors can fall into two camps “passive” - the request no involvement or “active” – they want to support the business, they both can prove the steady hand on the tiler and a lifeboat at times of trouble. All too frequently inexperienced entrepreneurs can be bedevilled by bad advice, easily influenced by “big” credential and exploited. It can be somewhat of a lottery in finding the right advisors, or appropriate board member. Angels, with skin in the game, an altruistic attitude can fill these gaps. Their interest is typically based on having relevant experience and the right interpersonal chemistry seems to be a good starting point. As always exceptions do apply, and an advisor/board member needs to be chosen carefully. The importance of this relationship has been noted by Oxford Economics, who estimated the economic impact on the UK of firms using venture capital or business angel finance or both for 15,000 angel-backed businesses over five years to 2015 helped contributed £4.5bn to GDP and created 69,700 full-time equivalent jobs in the UK economy.


From a Science Park perspective acting as an enabler to an angel network not only helps support those interested in raising finance but provides a talent pool for those young companies seeking guidance. A more extensive network helps with those larger raises for scaleups and can be popular with Venture Capitalist as both a validation mechanism and the knowledge experienced support is on hand. For the entrepreneur, it can be an independent voice in the wilderness and provide invaluable guidance at critical junctures of development. Increasing the awareness (and culture shift) for both potential investor and entrepreneur of the benefits of angel activity (e.g. tax advantage, giving something back, helping a company grow, mentoring, the connectivity and a return for all parties) outside the South East remains the largest challenge to the growth of this sector. ■

For more information about Minerva Business Angels, please visit: SITR_National_Statistics.pdf [iii] The Contribution to the UK Economy of firms using Venture Capital and Business Angel Finance – Oxford Economics & BVCA April 2017 [iv] [i]


R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 4 3


Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst A World-Leading Cell and Gene Therapy Hub


tevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) is a not for profit organisation formed in 2012 through a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK. It is now a globally recognised cluster for the development of advanced therapeutics and is at the centre of the largest cluster of cell and gene therapy companies in Europe. The site is home to major organisations including GSK, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) Manufacturing Centre, LifeArc and GE. Alongside these is a growing cluster of leading-edge start-up companies. Together, there are now 45 companies employing over 4,200 staff.


The focus of the campus is on translation, development and scale up of advanced therapeutics. It brings together academics, small biotechs and large pharma to help accelerate new therapeutics along the innovation supply chain to market. SBC provides more than just the combination of shared and private lab and offices spaces, specialist equipment, value-added solutions, operational support and

4 4 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

business services; by working with major organisations on campus it provides access to an ecosystem that can actually help transform occupiers’ ideas from concept to reality. A variety of training, mentoring and networking events are also held throughout the year with fellow innovators, investors and industry leaders. This creates a vibrant ecosystem where interaction and collaboration are the norm. The opportunity to collaborate with the CGT Catapult enables companies to manufacture therapies at commercial scale shortening timescales to market through working directly with the key elements of the supply chain. This collaboration helps to address many of Dr Iwan Roberts CO-FOUNDER, PURIDIFY (A GE OWNED COMPANY)

“The SBC team have supported Puridify from our very beginning and being located here has allowed the company to grow rapidly and be acquired by a major Pharma company within just four years.”


Sally Ann is resposible for the development of the SBC Campus to its full potential as a world-class science, innovation and business cluster. Prior to this, Sally Ann was the first Director for Harwell Oxford, Director of Colworth Science Park and CEO of Norwich Research Park

Cell & Gene Therapy companies based at SBC - January 2020

the production challenges faced by advanced therapy companies.


The global investment in 2018 in cell and gene therapies is estimated at $9.7bn (up 64% since 2017) with $1bn of that invested in the UK.1 Backed by over £75m* of funding, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s largescale GMP manufacturing centre enables companies to develop their commercial scale manufacturing processes through a unique collaborative operating model, underpinned by endto-end expertise and practical support from CGT Catapult experts. This accelerates the delivery of cell and gene therapies to market in the UK and internationally. This has attracted to the campus a wide range of companies, including from the US, putting the SBC campus firmly at the centre of cell and gene therapy in Europe. The centre has so far seen five companies benefitting from this model, and it has recently completed the construction of an additional six GMP cleanroom modules, doubling its capacity. Therapies are currently being manufactured and reaching patients nationally and internationally from the centre.


The combination of the strength in cell and gene therapy, access to a supportive environment and focus on commercialisation has reduced the risk of failure and time to market for companies and proved highly attractive to investors. Companies have access to a wide range of investors on the campus, within the UK and internationally. Investors directly associated with the campus are S.R. One (GSK), the LifeArc Seed Fund and the Apollo Therapeutics Fund, which is a collaborative venture

between Imperial, UCL, Cambridge University, AstraZeneca, GSK and Johnson & Johnson and is based at SBC. Since it opened in 2012, companies at SBC at have raised over £1bn equity investment of which over 85% has been for those with a cell and gene therapy focus.

SBC is now one of the largest attractors for equity investment in biotechnology and continues to deliver sustainable commercial success for the UK.


Situated at the centre of the Golden Triangle of Cambridge, Oxford and London, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst has outstanding connectivity with key centres of research excellence. Keith Thompson CEO, CELL AND GENE THERAPY CATAPULT

“Our original attraction to the SBC campus was the opportunity to engage with GlaxoSmithKline’s cell and gene therapy group as well as the SMEs on site. The campus now attracts spin-outs to multinationals from around the globe to develop their products here – the centre of the biggest cell and gene therapy cluster in Europe.”

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

It is therefore ideally positioned to translate leading research innovations into cutting edge therapeutics. SBC continues to build on its success and is entering the next phase of development with plans to double the capacity at the campus within the next two years. Currently, SBC provides of state-ofthe-art laboratory, office and shared space within its Incubator and Accelerator buildings. The new Spark building, which was supported by Hertfordshire LEP, will be officially opened in spring 2020. A further new facility, Sycamore House, is under development in collaboration with Kadans Science Partner and will be opened in 2021 with further growth planned in the future. In October 2019, Nadhim Zahawi MP announced that SBC was designated as the first of six new Life Sciences Opportunity Zones (LSOZ) in the UK, a key part of the government’s commitment to support the growth of life science clusters2. ■

For further information, please visit: *Funding includes investment from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund 2018 Annual Report, Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, https://alliancerm. org/publication/2018-annual-report/ (2018) 1

Business and Industry Minister announces Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst as one of six new Life Science Opportunity Zones in UK, https://www.stevenagecatalyst. com/news/business-and-industry-ministerannounces-stevenage/ (7th October 2019) 2

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 4 5


Towards a more research-intensive UK economy: the Place Agenda


ere at the Campaign for Science and Engineering our work on increasing research and development (R&D) intensity has focussed on two main strands. The first is working with Government to give them recommendations, published in our report ‘Building Scientific Strength’ last year, on how the target to invest 2.4% of GDP in R&D can be met. The second is working with our members across the UK to create an evidence base for the ‘Place Agenda’ and regionally focussed investment in R&D. From distinctive strengths in transport innovation in the West Midlands to leadership in the life sciences in the Liverpool City Region, regions across the UK have demonstrated excellence in R&D. These strengths not only have a role in contributing to local

4 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


and inclusive growth, but in making the UK a more research-intensive nation. Recognising different local strengths, or indeed existing local capacity for research, will be vital in unlocking the potential of every region. Improving regional growth through R&D investment is a growing political priority, with the Government recently announcing it will produce a Place Strategy for UK R&D. The Government have spoken about directly tackling regional differences and ‘levelling-up’ those areas of the UK that have not seen

Daniel joined CaSE in January 2019 as Assistant Director. In this role he is head of policy for CaSE, shaping its policy agenda with the support of the Executive Director

high levels of investment in recent years. Investing in areas of excellence and building regional research capacity across the whole of the UK is one important way to ensure communities can prosper. This investment in regional R&D will also play a significant role in reaching the Government’s target of increasing combined public and private R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

W H AT A R E C a S E D O I N G ?

We are working with our diverse, UK-wide membership to develop an evidence base

for the impact of place-based regional R&D investment on local economic growth. We have initiated a series of discussions across the regions and devolved nations to bring together senior representatives from academia, industry and local government to review areas such as the enablers and barriers of different places in increasing research intensity, the structure of partnerships between organisations and the opportunities that R&D investment could bring for local economies. The creation of UK Research and Innovation has already provided new opportunities to support local R&D; new investments such as the Strength in Places Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will aim to support areas of excellence and build research capacity across all four corners of the UK. Strong evidence will be essential to inform policymaking and ensure that a place-based approach to research funding will in fact deliver the intended outcomes. We hope that our contribution to the evidence base will support policymakers in building a more productive and prosperous nation. So far, we have held discussions in Scotland, London, the West of

WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR DIVERSE , U K- W I D E M E M B E R S H I P T O D E V E L O P A N E V I D E N C E B A S E F O R T H E I M PA C T O F P L A C E - B A S E D R E GI O N A L R & D I N V E S T M E N T ON LOCAL ECONOMIC GROW TH England, the West Midlands and the North East. Our work will continue across the UK in the coming months, including in Northern Ireland, Wales, and other English regions. Although this work is ongoing, several themes have begun to emerge from the discussions we have had so far. We have found that the lack of regional branding is often a barrier to attracting R&D investment into a specific place. Strong branding and a clearer definition of a region’s strengths can provide clarity on what differentiates a place from others nationally and internationally. Additionally, strong local civic leadership, and an understanding by local leaders of R&D and the role it can play in economic growth, is essential to driving forward increased R&D intensity.


University-business collaborations play a powerful role in describing the local innovation ecosystem and promoting a region. This is particularly true for the collaborations between Universities and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Universities often act as an anchor point around which a local innovation ecosystem can be built. However, research ecosystems are often complex and fragmented, which can hinder SMEs from accessing finance and innovation support easily. We have found that this is an area where Science Parks have an important role to play as a way of bringing together innovative SMEs and, in some cases, helping them access this support. Skills is a topic that has come up during every conversation we have had so far. Attracting and retaining highly skilled graduates in a region is important in order to attract innovative businesses to that region. This is often affected by the wider perceptions of a region and quality of life factors outside of R&D, such as housing affordability. And finally, more infrastructure will be essential to prepare places for growing research activity.

W H AT N E X T ?

We will be continuing our discussions around the country with the aim of producing a report on what we have found. We will use this to continue to engage with the Government as they develop proposals for their Place Strategy. ■

To read CaSE’s ‘Building Scientific Strength’ report, please visit:

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 4 7


NETPark Life Why County Durham’s NETPark is quickly becoming a global hub for innovation


ome to two UK catapult centres, three national innovation centres and one of the country’s leading AIM listed tech companies, The North East Technology Park (NETPark) really is a thriving hub of innovation making an impact on a global scale. Since opening nearly sixteen years ago, NETPark has quickly become one of the UK’s leading science, engineering and technology parks. Its open spaces and green landscapes give a real campus feel that inspires a collaborative and innovative culture. An atmosphere that has driven this County Durham science park to quickly become the place for cutting-edge R&D projects led by international organisations, world class universities and serial entrepreneurs. Significant investment over recent years means NETPark is able to offer 120,000 sq ft of high-spec laboratory, office and clean room space. Developments such as the two new £7.6m NETPark Explorer buildings provide much needed grow on space for

4 8 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


flourishing businesses to grow on the park. Businesses like X-ray medical imaging specialists IBEX Innovations.


IBEX Innovations started out as virtual tenants of NETPark ten years ago, they now occupy over 3,500 sq ft of office and laboratory space in Explorer 2 after their business outgrew their incubation space in NETPark Plexus. The talented team of software engineers have developed software that can be used in X-ray machines to enable better quality x-rays at a lower radiation dosage providing better quality, safer X-rays for patients.

Director Neil Loxley explains why NETPark is the perfect location for a tech business: “NETPark provides an environment that is really focussed on technology and supporting high growth businesses. They have set up the infrastructure and support that naturally creates an environment that’s going to attract people to this region. The quality of the facilities and the attitude of the staff is first class. It has a really dynamic, innovative atmosphere.” Another area of support that stands out are the benefits that are born from the regular events on site. Another major feature of NETPark life are the regular events that take place there with expert speakers are on hand to present on a range of topics including funding, graduate recruitment schemes and R&D tax credits for example, to help businesses make the most of opportunities that they would otherwise be unaware of. This was certainly the case for NETPark energy software specialists Quorum Development, who claimed back £37k in R&D tax credits after attending an innovation event on the park. The team NETPark has provided Quorum with the flexibility to take on more space as the company has grown. John Sherban, Director and Co-Founder of Quorum describes what businesses can expect from life at NETPark: “NETPark has been a great place for us. The location is excellent for our clients who fly into Newcastle Airport, and the staff at Business Durham

have been fantastic, doing everything possible to facilitate our growth – including the move to NETPark Explorer.”


Close working relationships with CPI and Durham University are a major plus for tenants. NETPark is the home to CPI’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, National Centre for Healthcare Photonics, Formulations and Printable Electronics. These innovation centres enable companies to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes de-risking this often-expensive process. Ken Williamson, COO PragmatIC explains: “CPI’s Printable Electronics Centre allowed us to develop our technology to a point of proof of concept without having to invest in capital equipment. This enabled us to get enough interest into the technology to allow investment into the company so that we could buy or own production equipment. Since then we have moved into Explorer 1 to manufacture our products to service our customers across the world”. NETPark’s close working relationship with world top 100 and UK top ten university, Durham University helps businesses collaborate with some of the world’s best researchers. Regular monthly meetings with the Durham University Team are held so tenants are aware of what resources are available to them.


Many businesses describe Business Durham as connectors, facilitators and

(l-r) Janet Todd, NETPark Manager with Quorum Development’s Paul Usher (Business Development Director) and John Sherban (Director/Co-Founder)

never is that more evident that at NETPark. NETPark Manager Janet Todd’s overarching knowledge of the companies on the park helps to spot opportunities for collaborative working. A prime example being the introduction made by Janet between longstanding NETPark tenant and serial entrepreneur Andy Turner of Quality Hospital Solutions (QHS) to flexible electronics experts PragmatIC. QHS developed a more efficient way of transporting specimen samples around hospitals by using a rack that can host sample tubes of varying diameters eliminating the need to use plastic bags – SamplePod. Now QHS and PragmatIC are working together to integrate PragmatIC’s flexible integrated circuits, which are thinner than a human hair into the test tubes carried by SamplePod to track a specimen sample from source, through pathology and even deliver a result to the patient if no further treatment is required. This type of collaborative technology has the

Northumbria Pharma - a growing pharmaceutical company specialising in the research, development, manufacture, licensing and marketing of unique and vital pharmaceutical products based at NETPark

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

potential to deliver a significant impact for the wider NHS saving millions of pounds, reducing 4 tonnes of clinical waste from Gateshead QE going to landfill and improving patient experience. SamplePod has been paramount in winning a £75m tender for Gateshead QE putting SamplePod into 1,600 GP surgeries. The catalyst for the collaboration was the introduction by Janet as Andy Turner explains: SamplePod is an excellent example of the NHS utilising technology in line with their digital transformation policy, demonstrating their commitment to the NHS Long Term Plan. This collaboration is the perfect example of the added value you receive when you base your business at NETPark. The support from Janet and the Business Durham team shows how their intervention can facilitate crucial collaborations that can revolutionise a technology.


NETPark is building for the future, recently adding 26 acres of development land to their offering to provide space for companies looking to build bespoke premises to prototype, scale up and manufacture on site. This County Durham science park is a thriving community of businesses making an impact globally, it’s a place where businesses work collaboratively to help one and other and enhance innovative solutions. The NETPark and Business Durham team have a can-do attitude, proving that County Durham is very much a place powered by people, where businesses have the support, facilities and infrastructure they need to thrive and grow. ■

For further information, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 4 9


Sharing your success, best practice, and lessons learned

The Catalyst, home to the National Innovation Centre for Ageing

Credit: GSS Architecture

Onwards and Upwards North East England driving growth of life sciences sector in the UK


ith two internationally renowned science parks, the UK’s largest research active public health system, and world leading knowledge and talent at our universities, it’s no surprise North East England is widely recognised as one of the leading destinations for advancements in health and life sciences. Our region’s innovation eco-system and translation environment is recognised by some of the industry’s leading figures for its current assets and future potential. Professor Sir John Bell, author of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy report to Government and former President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, commented: “The North East has a diverse and vibrant clustering of life sciences, manufacturing and health services. I believe that the work that is being done in the North East can support more growth in the region and make a strong contribution to a wider UK initiative to promote research collaboration, partnership and investment

5 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


globally as part of government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.” Health and life sciences is one of four areas of strategic importance identified by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership in its Strategic Economic Plan, which outlines how the region will grow its economy and create more and better jobs. We believe our strengths in the sector will help answer some of the grand challenges we face as a society and deliver a stronger regional and national economy.


A key part of our role as the North East LEP is to create the economic conditions to support and enable businesses to flourish. This includes bringing the health

Katherine works with regional and national partners to ensure the North East maximises the opportunities to strengthen, grow and develop the sector in the region and will develops the North East LEP’s Health and Life Sciences Strategy

and life sciences ecosystem together and investing in key assets, facilities and services that support its growth. Through the Local Growth Fund, we have invested in significant projects at both our region’s science parks. At NETPark in County Durham, the creation of two new Explorer buildings has provided more high-quality office and laboratory space. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has also opened two new National Centres to help health and life sciences businesses bring their products to market. In Newcastle at the landmark Newcastle Helix science park, the North East LEP invested £8.6m in the creation of The Biosphere, a life sciences centre for research and development and

business incubation. Biosphere is located alongside the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing (co-located with the National Innovation Centre for Data) and is another example of why North East England is one of the most important hubs for the UK’s growing health and life sciences sector. Because of our health and life sciences assets, including research and translation capability and expertise, the North East is attracting significant private and public sector investment. The region’s booming pharma manufacturing cluster continues to invest here. For example global pharmaceutical company, Accord Healthcare, opened a new facility in Newcastle in 2018 which is currently expanding.

The Biosphere, Newcastle Helix

Future developments will have the ability to radically transform our capability to research and develop personalised treatments, firmly positioning the North East as the UK leader. Our Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre, a consortium of twenty industry, NHS and academic organisations - led by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - will develop best practice for safe and effective delivery of advanced therapies to patients. Alongside SmartMeds, the North East aims to lead the increase of patient access to advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) regionally and nationally.



We’re facilitating and supporting a number of game-changing projects across the North East too. SmartMeds, for example, is a project led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) seeking to harness the region’s expertise in the development of smart and intelligent packaging of medicines, smart medical devices and drug delivery. Our Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is driving the development of the UK leading Great North Care Record, a digital platform that gives NHS health professionals access to the GP held medical records of 3.6 million people living in the North East and North Cumbria. The initiative aims to improve healthcare by ensuring clinicians have the information they need to make the best choices about treatments.

Skills and talent are imperative to the success of the sector, so the North East LEP also works closely with our region’s schools, colleges and universities, as well as delivering a range of programmes, to develop our future workforce and raise the profile of the vast range of career opportunities across the sector. There are over 100,000 students studying STEM subjects in the North East and our universities are rated some of best in the world for research and innovation. Another significant strength here in the North East is our outstanding and

innovation-driven healthcare system, with a strong and high-performing clinical trials community. North East Health Trusts have an exemplary track record for involvement in clinical research and clinical trials with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust ranked as one of the leading Trusts in the UK. Some of the biggest challenges we face as a society will be answered by the work currently taking place in the North East. Government has recognised our research expertise and capabilities in ageing as one of the country’s specialist hubs and the North East is at the centre of addressing this challenge by developing, testing and producing a range of new innovative products, services and treatments designed to help us age well. The North East’s health and life sciences ecosystem is fast becoming a global player and its focus on R&D, innovation and commercialisation will see it grow the region’s economy and create more and better jobs for people living and working here. ■

To find out more about the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, please visit:

CPI - The National Healthcare Photonics Centre

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5 1


Member collaboration and how UKSPA brought two businesses together


ounded in 2016, NOOK provides mobile acoustic pods, an alternative to meeting rooms in coworking spaces, educationbased environments and in the event arena. Originally designed to help introverts and those on the autistic spectrum to improve their personal wellbeing in the workspace Nooks are now associated with a walk-up meeting space, a refuge from the noise, a place for greater engagement between people, a shelter to recharge, concentrate or catch-up on emails. As a space within a space, Nook pods provide better flexibility and structure to a space. Nooks are further deployed at events, typically used as a space divider (arranged in little clusters), a sponsored meeting space or a quiet interview pod. The UKSPA membership facilitated Nook Pod’s expansion in to Science Park sector, where Nooks are now most commonly found in the sharedspaces or tenant’s private workspaces as it is used by Bristol & Bath Science Park, while York Science Park has deployed them to add intimacy and flexibility to their Central Park cafe area. RA Information Systems became an UKSPA member in 2005 while expanding and offering CLARITY, their workspace management software solution to the innovation and science park sector. The UKSPA membership coupled with cobranding worked very well for the IT company and greatly contributed to CLARITY brand awareness and further expansion. Over 15 years of building partnerships with UKSPA members, user feedback has enabled RA Information Systems to continually evolve with their product development. Now they offer their unique software to the larger audience coupled with managed IT services, secure connections between sites and VoIP telephony. Their brand extension CLARITY SIGNS, integrated touch–screen digital display solution, designed to simplify the booking process is now rapidly expanding into various sectors. The displays are usually installed at meeting room doors, lounge entrances, near conversation pods or in reception and transit areas.

5 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


The two businesses, Nook Pods and RA Information Systems, met at an UKSPA conference and discovered that their products, NOOK PODS and CLARITY SIGNS complement each other and work very well together. With the simple addition of a touch-screen booking display near a Nook Pod, CLARITY SIGNS can contribute by assigning the Nook a ‘meeting room’ status adding self-service booking functionality. Senan Largey, in charge of Nook’s Business development is very positive about the collaboration “It is with this in mind that UKSPA introduced our businesses to each other, and the synergy was immediately obvious and fruitful.

One of the areas where we see meaningful growth in the application of Nooks in Science Parks, is with regard to bookability. Customers enjoy their ad-hoc nature, but often wish to compliment that with an element of predictability, driven by demand for availability from tenants.” Annette Dabbs, Director of RA Information Systems echo’s the above from Senan and says “We are delighted to have begun our collaboration with Nook Pod, and we are very excited for the future with our two companies working together, bringing a further dimension to our CLARITY products and interest from a wider audience”. The two businesses have already attended exhibitions together and are now working on a joint marketing campaign “BOOK A NOOK” flexible acoustic pods integrated with digital booking and signage. Rapidly deployable, easily integrated, a flexible and powerful asset for any Science Park. ■

For more information about Nookpod, please visit: For more about RA Information Systems:

The Direct Heat and Air Jacket System regulates the temperature whilst the Dual IR sensor controls the CO2 level. InCu-saFe and SafeCell UV both function to actively prevent contamination.




SHIPMENT GLOBALLY The two models of Cellbox can overcome most logistical challenges for your live cells. The flight version is the only live cell shipper with CO2 control which has International flight allowance under packing instruction PI 967, Section II.

ULTIMATE SAMPLE PROTECTION The Dual Cooling System offers high levels of protection through the use of two independent refrigeration systems. If one system unexpectedly fails the other can maintain the freezer in the -70°C range.

Fermenters & Bioreactors for wide-ranging research and manufacturing applications Autoclavable bioreactor and mixing systems from 50ml to 20L Stir-tank, Air-lift, LED-Photo, Fixed / Fluidised-bed bioreactors Borosilicate, PEEK or glass-lined bioreactors & fittings for special applications Individual control modules for pH, dO, foam, temperature control Customised control modules Off-gas analysis CO2, O2 and CH4 Low-flow peristaltic pumps Optical density, pH, dissolved oxygen, redox, conductivity measurement

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5 3


Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland and Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation


Supporting Start-Ups to Grow and Scale Globally

ovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD), opened in 2003 and since then has supported over 360 companies and early-stage ventures to develop, grow and scale globally. Since then supported companies have raised over €760 million in equity funding and collectively employ over 1,040 people directly and an estimated similar number indirectly. Companies currently, and to date, supported include; Carrick Therapeutics, Corlytics, Equal1 Labs, Life Scientific, MagGrow, Manna, NovoGrid, Nuritas, OncoMark, OxyMem, Terra Solar and Vivid Edge. These companies range from start-ups at the early stage of their development, to companies which have secured significant investment and are in the growth phase and are scaling internationally.

5 4 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0



Micéal is responsible for communicating University College Dublin’s innovation mission, vision, objectives, activities and achievements to internal and external stakeholders. He manages UCD’s innovation press office and media relations which includes providing a PR service to NovaUCD and NexusUCD clients

At NovaUCD we provide the environment and supports to enable our start-ups to develop and grow. Buildings are bright, airy and open with high-quality shared and circulation spaces that encourage the informal and formal interactions necessary for the development of a community of entrepreneurs. We also provide entrepreneurs with a wide range of flexible occupancy options including; co-working space and offices of varying sizes to enable them to move within NovaUCD as their businesses grow and develop. A limited number of the offices can also be configured to laboratory space.

G E N E R A L B U S I N E S S S U P P O RT We offer a comprehensive business support programme to clients which comprises of advice, clinics, seminars and workshops as well as facilitated

access to UCD’s world-class research community, business leaders, the NovaUCD sponsors, alumni and investors, including the €60 million Atlantic Bridge University Bridge Fund. We also run a series of monthly workshops, events and seminars on topics which are developed based upon client requirements. These cover issues which affect high-potential start-ups such as; raising investment, business development, finance, product positioning and intellectual property. A specialist Founder’s Club convenes monthly which generates interaction and group discussion around key issues

C A S E S T U DY Dr Claire O’Connell PhD JOURNALIST Dr Claire O’Connell is a scientist-turned-writer with a PhD in cell biology from University College Dublin and a Master’s in science communication from Dublin City University. She writes for Silicon Republic and The Irish Times and was named Irish Science Writer of the Year in 2016

Bringing an idea from mind to market needs expertise of different kinds, and this is where UCD’s annual accelerator programme, VentureLaunch can help, by linking business and academic experts to form new start-up companies. At the final event of the 2019 programme, Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation encouraged people with business expertise to get involved with the programme as mentors to work with academics on ideas, and then perhaps as CEOs of emerging companies. One person who has already made that journey is experienced businessman Simon Forsyth, who presented a business plan for an innovative energy-saving technology to the judges at the 2019 VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Showcase and Awards event held at UCD. He initially approached NovaUCD to see what avenues might be open for collaboration.

and assists clients in establishing new networks as part of the NovaUCD community. UCD has an international reputation for being at the forefront of innovative research and creative discovery and at NovaUCD we assist clients in identifying relevant expertise and collaborative opportunities with UCD researchers.


We also run a number of dedicated accelerator programmes; including a specialist 5G/IoT Accelerator

“I had previously worked with two high-potential start-up companies, and I met Simon Factor in NovaUCD for a cup of coffee, to see if there was something I could do,” recalls Forsyth. “He pointed me in the direction of Associate Professor Dominic Zerulla in UCD School of Physics and we discussed some ideas around renewable energy and the nano technology that has been developed by his School.” That led to Forsyth and Associate Professor Zerulla to exploring business opportunities and carrying out preliminary market research. They ultimately decided on a strategy for a technology they called PicoGlaze, which places a nanomaterial between panes of glass in windows. Using an electrical current, the nanomaterial can be configured to allow or to restrict the transfer of heat through the window, thus reducing the energy costs and carbon emissions associated with the controlling of temperature in buildings. Taking part in VentureLaunch enabled the project to move forward quickly, notes Forsyth. “It has been an amazing acceleration of what could otherwise have been a relatively slow process - it has been very focused and targeted,” he says. “We had a super support team at NovaUCD and I would definitely recommend that anyone with an interest in developing new ideas gets involved.”

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Programme, with Vodafone and Ericsson, for businesses and start-ups planning to develop and bring new 5G/ IoT enabled products and services to the market, and the VentureLaunch Accelerator programme to specifically support the creation and launch of sustainable and profitable ventures based on UCD intellectual property.


The founders of many early-stage NovaUCD start-ups and many of the academic promoters of early-stage spin-outs are actively seeking mentoring from experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs which can be pivotal to the success of a knowledge-intensive or hightechnology start-up. To meet this need NovaUCD has established a Mentors and Business Partners Panel which now includes over 40 experienced founders and business leaders. Panel members are matched with clients and help them to enhance the commercial propositions of their ventures, act as team mentors, potentially invest in the start-ups or even take the lead as CEO to help successfully bring ventures to market.

N O VA U C D 2 0 1 9 E X PA N S I O N

NovaUCD has been running at full capacity for several years and there has been a significant demand from ambitious entrepreneurs who want to locate their start-ups at NovaUCD and be part of our ecosystem of experienced mentors, founders, alumni, investors and sponsors who can help them grow their businesses globally. This was the impetus for a multimillion euro development project to expand NovaUCD which was completed at the end of 2019. This project, to renovate and extend NovaUCD’s eastern courtyard, has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in our capacity to house companies. ■

Find out more about NovaUCD by visiting:, connect on Twitter via @NovaUCD, or on the LinkedIn page: company/novaucd

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5 5


The Denise Coates Foundation Building houses Keele Business School and the sector-leading Smart Innovation Hub


Keele - The Real Deal

ully integrated within the UK’s largest campus, the Keele University Science and Innovation Park provides businesses with unique access to world-leading research, knowledge and academic expertise. The Park forms a significant part of the ‘New Keele Deal’ – a plan for £70million investment by the University, local authorities, NHS organisations and the Local Enterprise Partnership to exploit the potential of Keele’s attributes for the benefit of the region and beyond. The Science and Innovation Park hosts a knowledge-intensive cluster of 50 companies across six Innovation Centres, operating in the biotech, med-tech, health, sustainable energy, disruptive tech and service industries. In recent years, the Park has embarked on a significant period of expansion, with the creation of 13 new development-ready plots, three new facilities and plans for a Vet School, Marriott Courtyard Hotel and further Innovation Centres.

5 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


Smart Innovation Hub Manager Joe Caine is passionate about SME business support, building business ecosystems and enabling companies based at Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park to exploit its expertise to maximise growth potential


The most recent development on the site has been the creation of the Smart Innovation Hub*. Designed by RIBA award-winning and Sterling prize

nominated architects BDP, the facility is an iconic three-storey BREAAM excellent building strategically placed at the entrance of both the Science and Innovation Park and the main University campus. As well as providing incubation support services to SMEs through the University’s sixth Innovation Centre, the state-of-the-art, multi-million pound building also encompasses a new home for Keele Business School, bringing together academics, students and businesses in a single collaborative environment which is believed to be the only such co-location of its kind in the UK. The building features an atrium at its heart, with an innovation lounge specifically designed for the delivery of knowledge exchange events, individual R&I meetings and networking. The Smart Innovation Hub acts as an incubator for innovation-led highgrowth companies, providing a centre for business interactions within the wider region.

The Smart Innovation Hub responds to an immediate demand for microoffices, grow-on-space and co-working facilities in the area, and offers a series of incremental tenancy packages targeted at early-stage companies seeking an innovative facility to help catalyse their growth and employment. The rental offer focuses on flexibility and affordability, with each tenancy package tailored to correlate to a company’s growth and level of expenditure. Tenancy options range from a membership fee through to a full office lease. Acceptance into the incubator is subject to an assessment process, which includes a detailed diagnostic to assess the strength of the business proposition, progress in realising this, and the capacities of the ownermanager/leadership team to create and sustain a successful innovation-led enterprise. It will also assess the potential for high-value research and development relationships where the University can add value. SMEs entering the Smart Innovation Hub are immediately linked to academics with relevant expertise, and a bespoke incubation support package is created for each tenant. Each package includes a detailed plan of support and priority access to the University’s incubation services such as (1) an Innovation and Leadership Programme and (2) an Innovation Support Programme.

T H E I N N O VAT I O N L E A D E R S H I P P R O G R A M M E supports aspiring

business leaders and early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs, addressing key priorities identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy to create the conditions for innovation-led growth as an alternative to dominant market-led models. This involves developing the leadership capabilities of business owner-managers, senior teams and entrepreneurs with high value business propositions to realise plans for innovation, research and development, application and commercialisation of new technologies, scientific discoveries and the exploitation of other forms of knowledge to achieve business growth. The programme provides senior leaders with six two-day sessions of facilitated group learning, coaching, advice and guidance, providing participants with a unique blend of action learning. Once completed, companies will produce an innovationfocussed action plan for the business.

THE RESEARCH AND I N N O VAT I O N S U P P O RT P R O G R A M M E focuses on the key

industries identified in the Industrial Strategy and has been designed to support businesses that are thinking about, or are currently in the process of, developing a new product, process or service. By providing academic expertise and dedicated human resource, the programme delivers expertise, focus and processes that help a business innovate

and grow. A dedicated Research and Innovation Support Advisor will scope and define a company’s project brief, funding a student to work on the project alongside expert academics for up-to 100 hours. In addition to a dedicated incubation programme, resident businesses (and the wider local business community) can draw support from Keele University’s Business Gateway – a dedicated resource to enable SMEs to engage with the University’s academic and professional expertise. The Business Gateway provides fully and part-funded support to SMEs, such as: providing £5,000 worth of ‘innovation vouchers’ for companies developing medical technologies; 12 hours of bespoke consultancy for companies seeking to enter the renewables and smart energy sectors; and part-funded internships for one-off-projects. Since opening its doors in September 2019, the Smart Innovation Hub has exceeded expectations. It is already delivering Year Four occupancy forecasts, hosts 21 tenants, provides bespoke incubation at an 80% uptake rate, has delivered 10 internships, boasts two resident spin-out companies, and plays home to nearly 50 jobs. The next 12 months will see the Hub focus on building stronger local business networks, by utilising the infrastructure that the facility has provided to host an interactive schedule of open innovation, knowledge exchange and businessfocussed events. ■

For further information, please visit: scienceandinnovationpark *The Merica Centre for Innovation Leadership Programme and The Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme are delivered through the Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref: 32R17P01691). Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub/ Innovation Centre 6, located within the Denise Coates Foundation Building, has been part-funded from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, the Midlands Engine and Staffordshire County Council with support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5 7


Spinout covenant strength What are landlords looking for?


he number of technology businesses ‘spinning out’ of universities has risen in recent years but to what extent is the property sector adjusting its traditional lettings criteria to this kind of occupier? Before the spinout challenge came on the scene tenants were expected to commit to lengthy lease terms and to demonstrate an established and successful trading record, failing which parent company guarantees or expensive rent deposits were required. Funding is available however, and a spinout with a good tale to tell and decent early stage investment will provide a degree of reassurance. So how is it working in practice? We talked to a number of the main players in the innovation sector in Oxford to see how they were responding and dealing with the challenge. First, from the occupiers’ point of view, they just want to ‘plug and play’. They don’t have the time to wait for bespoke buildings or esoteric fitouts to be created for them. They don’t have trading histories to satisfy traditional landlord tests and they don’t have guarantors or cash which they can afford to deposit with their landlords against the risk of breaches of lease covenants.



As long as there is a shortage of supply, some landlords can afford to wait until the tenants who can satisfy those traditional criteria come along. But those who recognise that there is an attractive stream of occupiers will take a more relaxed view. “Demanding that occupiers meet the traditional tests is silly,” says Pete Wilder, Property Director of Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), which invests in discoveries and partners with scientists. ”But by the same token, landlords won’t be offering lengthy rent – frees or agreeing to complex bespoke


fitouts, particularly if that would leave them with an expensive reinstatement to base spec if the occupier goes bust.” Rob Beaston, Business Space Partner at Bidwells, echoes this: “The innovators are starting to drive the market and the landlords who want to play are prepared to take a view based on an interrogation of the business plan rather than the occupier’s history and profitability. There is enough demand to reassure landlords that if it doesn’t work out for one spinout occupier, it won’t be long before another one comes along. That trend is going to continue.” Jon Silversides, Partner in the Commercial Team of Carter Jonas, agrees that this is the trend, but says landlords will still try to find ways of derisking the situation. “Recent lettings of space on the Oxford Science Park to OSI (a respectable covenant in the traditional sense) albeit with flexible subletting provisions have achieved a kind of compromise, albeit at the cost of OSI getting more involved in the property market more than it would ideally wish.” When it comes to documenting the arrangements, Laura Gorman, Senior Associate at Penningtons Manches Cooper, detects a shift in approach. ‘It all depends on the landlord,’ she says ‘but I expect we will see a greater use of ‘true’ licence arrangements in the future as the classic FRI lease is inappropriate for this kind of set-up and landlords begin to realise the value of providing space for the innovators.’ Is this a brave new world we see emerging..? Time will tell. ■

For more information, please contact Hugh Blaza: hugh.blaza@ or Sarah Coates: This article first appeared in the spring 2020 edition of the Oxford Property Report.

Bench-top bioreactor systems for multiple applications Electrolab Biotech has been designing and manufacturing bench-top bioreactors in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, since 1989. Years of experience have led to our current range of reliable, easy-to-use systems. With vessels available from 50ml to 21L working volumes, in a variety of materials (eg glass, stainless-steel, other metals, single-use and re-usable plastic), most requirements are covered. Supplying industry and academia worldwide, for those countries which do not have a local distributor we supply direct. Sectors provided include protein production, drug development and manufacturing, chemical, brewing and biofuels research, water companies and bioleaching (where microbes are utilised to extract metals from ores or waste). In-house design means that our equipment can usually be tailored or re-designed for non-standard

applications – useful where no off the shelf solution exists. For single-use applications, our controllers allow easy switching between re-usable (autoclavable) and disposable bioreactors. We work primarily with CerCell (Denmark), but also manufacture motor adapters enabling other makes to be used. Hamilton Process Analytics are our principle sensor supplier. We incorporate their pH, dO (including their intelligent ARC technology), redox and optical density/viable biomass sensors. Also available from us are cell density systems from Buglab and Aber Instruments. Automated online (and offline) sensor

these unique industries. We have special arrangements with a number of insurers who are able to provide bespoke cover for businesses in these sectors. The UK is a global leader in science and innovation and there are now more than 100 science parks across the country. FOCUS specialise in providing insurance advice and solutions to companies in the hi-tech, scientific and medical environment and are proud to support many of the businesses located on science and technology parks in Oxfordshire and beyond. The team at FOCUS are well respected for our knowledge, expertise and service in this sector. We have the technical expertise required in today’s complicated world of insurance for industries at the forefront of technology and drug discovery. FOCUS is one of only a few specialist insurance brokers in this area able to deal with the needs of

ONE OF OUR SUCCESS STORIES In 2002 we were contacted by the founder of a new company, after securing some seed funding, seeking advice on the necessary insurances for the company in the very early stages. That company has grown significantly since start up to become a global business providing healthcare diagnostic testing products and services around the world, with offices and laboratories in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia. We are extremely proud to still be their trusted insurance advisers. ■

systems for glucose and lactate, ethanol and methanol, together with filtered and automated sampling systems from Trace (Germany) are also in our portfolio. We manufacture our own range of accessories, including peristaltic pumps and LED light-shrouds for photosynthetic applications, and are able to re-instrument your existing bioreactor vessels. Our new control systems are under development with an anticipated release of later this year. ■

Please call 01865 953 111 or email: For further information, visit: “The quality of service and encyclopaedic knowledge of the insurance industry displayed by the FOCUS insurance team has been second-to-none for many years. We are safe in the knowledge that our insurance requirements have been very well catered for.” Geoff Bush Finance Director Oxford Immunotec Ltd

To discuss how we can help you please contact Paul Monaco Cert CII, Commercial Insurance Director.

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 5 9


Stride Treglown Stride Treglown is a multi-disciplinary architectural practice that specialises in working closely with clients to design next generation, world leading R&D science and technology projects. Their expert knowledge has been developed from designing next generation science districts, technology parks and sustainable buildings for advanced technologies. Stride Treglown has 9 offices across the UK and 330 staff and since 2015 has been an employee owned practice. Their design process brings together a unique mix of expertise that includes inhouse building specialists, construction experts, innovative digital designers, BIM specialists, pragmatic sustainability know-how, interior designers and planning consultants. They are focused on creating project teams that forge exciting spaces for people and which successfully integrate complex technological processes with exciting collaborative working environments.

Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) located on site at Bristol & Bath Science Park

Projects include the £60m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), currently on site at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. A world leading centre for research into low carbon automotive technologies, it will house collaborative research areas, chassis dynamometers, battery and engine testing facilities, offices, atrium and seminar rooms. Stride Treglown also led the design of the National Composites Centre’s £31.5m facility for the production of carbon composite components and the High Performance Computer (HPC) complex for the Met Office at Exeter Science Park. Their extensive portfolio of laboratories include the University of Reading Health & Life Sciences building, Swansea University School of Engineering’s

Looking for a professional company that relocates scientific equipment?

Large or small, our proven process will ensure a safe and successful move Call Benchmark Services today

on 01480 423810 or visit

6 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

research and teaching laboratories and the University of Plymouth’s Derriford Research Facility for collaborative interdisciplinary biomedical research. They are currently working at Harwell and have achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating for their design for the Filwood Green Business Park. “The extent to which the architects engaged with us was amazing. It was a true collaborative project and now we have a real sense of owning the building.” Laurence Hurst, The Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath ■

For further information, please visit:

Mission Street is an established UK mixed use property developer with a focus on the Knowledge Economy, and a belief that sustained economic prosperity will be underpinned by growth in scientific and emergent technology industries across the country. Their mission is to support this growth by delivering mixed-use real estate in locations anchored by a strong innovation sector. By delivering both highly technical laboratory and research space, offices, hospitality and residential schemes, they have built up a holistic understanding of occupier’s needs. This allows them to create places where creative and innovative people choose to work, live and play – activities that are becoming increasingly interlinked. Whilst the company acquires development opportunities with established financial backers, Mission Street specialises in forming collaborative partnerships with owner-occupiers, landowners and investors. These are customised around each partner’s needs (operational strategy of wider business, capital structure, return requirements) and the specifics of the project. The role ranges from being the majority investor in a JV structure, to being a trusted delivery partner in a development management capacity. ■

For more, please visit:

OEG Laboratories Creating spaces where people thrive and businesses succeed With over 40 years’ experience in multiple sectors and a dedicated team that provide a full turn-key service, OEG Labs have a solution to meet your every need. Whether you are setting up a new laboratory, remodelling an existing space or simply upgrading your furniture, you can trust them to deliver on time and within budget. From taking the time to understand your business, your team and your aspirations, to designing and building an efficient space, OEG have the imagination, skills and resources to handle every aspect of your project. Their project managers, designers and expert fitters are highly valued for the way they work with clients to analyse existing culture and business needs, understand workflow patterns and reveal untapped potential that makes the difference

Part of a diversified industrial group, operating in more than 80 countries Bouygues’ businesses are organised around three sectors of activity: construction, telecoms and media. Working alongside its sister company Bouygues Energies & Services Solutions, they offer a comprehensive range of construction and project management services to private and public sector clients. Headquartered in London since 1997, and with a presence throughout the UK, expertise encompasses the design and construction of high profile, technically complex facilities in the higher education, healthcare, science & research and data centre markets. Bouygues are also a significant player in the residential, secondary education, commercial and energy sectors. A portfolio of blue-chip clients includes:

• London boroughs and local authorities • Universities and colleges • The pharmaceutical and life science industry

furniture, specialising in creating highly functional laboratory spaces.


For further information, please visit:

Expertise in space planning and

Credit: Forbes Massie

Bouygues UK

between a standard job and an exceptional one. They are renowned for pushing the boundaries in laboratory design, exceeding expectations in terms of functionality and aesthetics, and their design and build service includes furniture, floorings, ceilings, partitioning, fume cupboards, chemical extraction, HVAC, plumbing, electrics, and the installation of specialist laboratory gases. Their pride is taking a well-crafted, strategic approach that combines analytical research, creative thinking and top industry standards throughout. Work with them and you can expect:

Cavendish III Physics Laboratory entrance built by Bouygues Construction (Design by Jestico + Whiles)

• The Home Office • NHS trusts • Major developers and data centre operators

Their development company, Linkcity boasts a track record of success in financing, operating and maintaining a portfolio of around 20 developments, with a gross development value in excess of £1.3 billion. Bouygues pride themselves on their analytical, engineering-led approach,

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H


A collaborative approach that ensures they can share and reflect your vision, making sure that projects are of the highest quality.


A solid reputation as a company that offers a unique and cost-effective service to sectors including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food, dairy, beverage, paint, textiles, veterinary laboratories and the chemical industry. ■

which is founded on the wide-ranging technical expertise of highly-qualified staff. As part of a global, multi-faceted and diverse organisation, they have direct access to best practice knowledge gleaned from an impressive back catalogue of major projects. With an innovative mindset, they are always seeking ways to improve and enhance the services and added value which can be offered to clients. For example, a keen focus on sustainability, carbon reduction and digital transformation is maintained, and they often use their global headquarters on the outskirts of Paris as a “Living Lab” in which to develop and test ideas. As part of this, collaboration is extensive with technology start-ups, providing them with the support and market access needed to help grow their business. ■

For further information, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 61


Harwell Science and Innovation Campus At the heart of the Science Vale is the place for Science and Space Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire extends over 700 acres and has an international community of over 6,000 people working inside 200+ diverse organisations. Harwell encompasses the National Laboratories comprising over £2bn of scientific facilities and has over 75 years of history, boasting many world firsts including the development of the lithium ion battery for which John B. Goodenough and his team won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018. Harwell is a lodestar global hub that together with key partners, is tackling some of the most pressing challenges of our time ranging from clean energy to climate change, space exploration and applications including earth observation; to disease prevention and cure, advanced materials, protection of the environment and human health. To drive collaboration and knowledge sharing, ‘clusters’ have been developed for Space, HealthTec and EnergyTec at Harwell.

Property management that turns spaces into places where businesses and people can really thrive MAPP manage commercial (and some residential) property up and down the land. In fact, they manage over £12bn of it and look after over 5,000 occupiers on behalf of their clients which include Funds, REITS, Trusts and Investment Managers backed by Private Equity, whilst operating from five offices across the UK – London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, and Glasgow.


MAPP focus on people - exceptional service has always been and remains their priority and specialisation. By not being a global multitasking PLC gives

6 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

Each cluster brings together co-located industry, academia and public sector with investors and entrepreneurs, creating a powerful eco-system that enables organisations to flourish. Increasingly, companies at Harwell are exploring the commercial opportunities that lie at the intersections between these clusters, creating innovative new applications that extend into non-core sectors. Science facilities on site include the Diamond Light Source x-ray synchrotron which is 10 billion times brighter than the Sun when it fires, the Isis Neutron and Muon Source, the Vulcan ultra-highpower laser and the Research Complex at Harwell. These are accompanied by key anchor organisations invested in by the Government in support of the National Industrial Strategy: The Rosalind Franklin Institute and Faraday Institution, plus established occupiers, Public Health England and the Medical Research Council. Harwell Campus is the gateway to the UK space industry with over 100 space

organisations based on campus including the European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, RAL Space and the UK Space Agency. Space is the most established cluster on campus and the new National Satellite Test Facility is currently being built at Harwell, further extending its capability within this exciting sector. There is an ambitious masterplan for the campus, with millions of square feet of new industrial, engineering, office, research and laboratory space being developed and built that will be supported by new homes and amenities for people working on campus. Its central location places Harwell Campus right at the heart of the Science Vale, within easy reach of London, Oxford, Newbury and Reading, facilitating easy connections and collaboration across the UK and globally. ■

them the freedom to help their clients and occupiers in more ways than ever before. The MAPP approach is about building strong relationships, challenging convention, delivering exceptional levels of sustainability, creating great spaces and using the best tech to improve the customer experience.

They manage (on behalf of Trinity Investment Management) the portfolio of “Knowledge Factory” Science Parks their network of science parks tailored to the UK innovation sector. Facilities from small flexible laboratories to pharmaceutical grade manufacturing, and everything in between, are offered across the parks. The portfolio of science parks that MAPP manages provides over 1.2 million sq ft of office, laboratory and manufacturing space for innovationfocussed companies located in the UK, and expansion of their platform is planned. These locations are Colworth Science Park, Edinburgh Technopole, Hexagon Tower, Kent Science Park and Wilton Centre. ■


The management of Science Parks requires a combination of skills. That is why a specialist team is dedicated to managing this complex asset class and providing an outstanding service to owners and occupiers. Experience and innovation are the building blocks of unbeatable occupier experience and robust investment performance. MAPP are committed to transforming the sector and providing workplaces that are inspiring, experiential and alive.

For further information, please visit: and or call 01235 250091

For further information, please visit:

An interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, consistently ranked among top global design firms HKS work across all areas of the built environment and are especially adept at working closely with investors and developers to drive return on investment throughout the duration of a project. With a belief that design should build trust between their collaborators, clients and those who inhabit the places they design, HKS aim to inspire and empower the people and communities who encounter their work. To preserve and respect our natural resources, they create places that conserve and rejuvenate our planet, too. The London studio of HKS is the hub for the firm’s projects in the UK, mainland

Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. A 75-strong team helps clients from the first stages of strategic planning, identifying opportunities with market and economic analysis, feasibility and business case preparation, through master planning, design and delivery and beyond, with ongoing performance monitoring and solutions that are flexible enough to allow for changing use over time. Developers, investors, educational institutions, health care providers, corporates, sports, leisure and hospitality owners and operators seek

NETPark businesses hope to deliver revolutionary healthcare savings A highly innovative, problem-solving healthcare supplier and a cutting-edge electronics firm are collaborating on a new product which could potentially save the NHS £250m a year. Quality Hospital Solutions (QHS) and PragmatIC, both based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham, are working together on SamplePod –

a revolutionary tracking and transport system for pathology samples. Inventor and Managing Director of QHS, Andrew Turner said: “SamplePod holds every possible sample size securely and within one pod and can be used time and time again. By eliminating the use of plastic bags and paper request forms it removes more than five tonnes of waste from the process.”

advice to help them develop solutions that give them beautiful buildings and campuses that stand the test of time and deliver the best possible revenue. Market-leading expertise, the ability to draw on the experience of their global colleagues, and the gravitas to contribute to their clients’ strategic planning mean HKS deliver not just buildings, but places and spaces that work hard for owners and users. ■

For further information, please visit:

The company has teamed up with innovative electronics firm PragmatIC to develop the tracking element of SamplePod using radio frequency identification (RFID). CEO of PragmatIC, Scott White, said: “Our unique flexible integrated circuit technology is being adopted in a wide variety of novel applications, so strong partnerships are essential to enable the delivery of complete solutions.” NETPark is managed by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council. NETPark manager Janet Todd said: “NETPark is the perfect environment for innovative businesses such as QHS and PragmatIC. We provide a dynamic, supportive and collaborative environment to help businesses grow and thrive, and it’s fantastic to be able to introduce companies who can benefit each other.” ■

To find out about locating your business at NETPark or to request a viewing, please contact Janet Todd, NETPark Manager on 01740 625 250 or e-mail To find out more about SamplePod visit and for PragmatIC go to (l-r) Scott White, CEO, PragmatIC; Janet Todd, NETPark Manager - Business Durham; Andrew Turner, Inventor of SamplePod and MD, QHS; Ken Williamson, Chief Operating Officer, PragmatIC

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 6 3


The Toffee Factory redevelopment in Newcastle is just one of CSM’s projects

Planning, developing and managing Northern innovation environments Creative Space Management is the award-winning property management and consultancy company that operates workspaces and urban realm for clusters of knowledge-based businesses including digital, creative industries, advanced manufacturing, science and technology sectors. For the last 15 years, Creative Space Management has worked in partnership with the public and private sectors to deliver ambitious new workspaces and economic regeneration in the North of England. They cluster industries, build communities, connect stakeholders within ecosystems and animate spaces, delivering social and economic impact to UK city

The Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre A melting pot for fast-growth innovation and technology companies Opened in 2006, The Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre is at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Sheffield City Region recognised as one of the leading and most innovative engineering, research and manufacturing communities in the UK. With grow-on space available and confirmed investment in some of the UK’s leading engineering and technology driven projects in aeronautical engineering and nuclear energy, the Advanced Manufacturing Park is an important concentration of talent, knowhow and expertise recognised by the UK Government and by major corporations. The AMP Technology Centre provides a combination of first class office space, workshop facilities and conferencing &

6 4 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

regions. Creative Space Management doesn’t just manage innovation environments – they help to plan and develop them. Specifically targeted at innovation and high-growth enterprise sectors, the company has substantial experience of assisting asset owners and stakeholders to appraise feasibility projects and to develop viable business plans and convert them into commercially successful communities of businesses. Creative Space is an employee-owned company with over 30 employees, a wide pool of expert associates and is currently

managing over 50,000 square metres of workspace in the North of England and advising on a further 40,000 square metres of projects across the UK. The Creative Space team has considerable experience of undertaking feasibility studies, business plans and specifications for new office or knowledge-based clusters (from science parks to artists’ studios). ■

meeting room resources which attract both local and national interest due to their central location, state of the art facilities and proximity to so many ground-breaking organisations. The AMP Technology Centre is more than just a building of facilities though – it’s a place where dynamic innovators meet likeminded individuals over coffee. It’s a place where introductions are made and collaborations are formed. It’s a place where those who want to push the boundaries of

business and technology bring their products to show and share. Operating at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Technology Centre provides a public interface and hub for major global businesses such as Roll Royce, helping to attract smaller high growth businesses to the rapidly growing cluster. ■

For further information, please visit:

For further information, please visit:


The financial impact of research 4.0 What impact does cloud migration have on research and organisations’ financial models?


cientific research in the twentyfirst century creates huge amounts of data. In order for this data to be successfully manipulated, appropriate infrastructure needs to be in place. Because of this, adoption of cloud is an inevitable move for the research community, with science parks and education institutions around the world transforming to reap the benefits of cloud computing. Research 4.0 is a term used to describe the way that research is impacted by the use of technologies common in the fourth industrial revolution. Jisc CEO Paul Feldman says: “Looking at the current state of play it’s not too difficult to imagine a Research 4.0 future – one where technology is left to get on with the repetitive, the mundane and the low-level aspects of the research lifecycle. Automated systems come together to run experiments, crunch data, test hypotheses at huge scale, point to

Concerns Business People

Skills/ Knowledge

Governance Platform Security

Processes Creating/ Updating



patterns and perhaps even indicate potential hypotheses.” However, when it comes to cloud adoption, there are several concerns from business leaders. One such concern is the financial implication of the capital expenditure (capex) to operating expenditure (opex) shift.


Only assets that are owned, have a useful life of over a year, and a cost over a set threshold can be treated as capex, and therefore be depreciated. This means that instead of recognising the full cost at time of purchase of capex items (such as servers, buildings, etc), the cost can be spread over the lifetime of the asset’s use. For example, if an organisation bought a new server with a five-year life, instead of recognising the cost of it all in one go, it would be treated as capex with the cost accounted for as depreciation across the five years of its life. In contrast, cloud services are utilised on a consumption basis, and the cloud provider owns the infrastructure. Cloud solutions are therefore treated as opex, with the monthly cost appearing in the

W H AT I S C A P E X ? CAPital EXpenditure – an expense a business incurs to create a benefit in the future.

W H AT I S O P E X ? OPerational EXpenditure – an expense required for the day-to-day functioning of a business. Source: Investopedia

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Strategic Outcomes Value Cost

profit and loss statement (P&L) as IT costs. This is important because operating expenses impact the operating profit, which is a key metric of an organisation’s financial health, ie the ongoing profitability from day-to-day operational trading. Many organisations also have easier access to capex than opex as a procurement route.


However, cloud adoption is about a broader business transformation, which can lead to improving customer experience and even growing revenues. This is digital economics. Cloud enables future technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which open up new opportunities from data, an essential commodity in research. Business transformation also includes building an innovative culture that enables the release of new products and services more quickly, which in turn ultimately grows revenue. Ultimately, a shift to cloud is about supporting strategic outcomes, and helping your business deliver value. It’s essential therefore to consider value that is nonfinancial, such as agility, efficiency and risk reduction, in order to fully understand the reasons for cloud adoption as a driver for Research 4.0. So although the capex to opex change is one consideration, and one that may well be perceived negatively, there are plenty of other benefits of moving to cloud to weigh against it. An important question to ask is, what is the cost of not adopting cloud? ■

For further information, please visit:

• Operational Excellence • Customer Experience • New products/services • Revenue Expansion • Leading KPIs (usage, downtime) • Lagging KPIs (efficiency, agility, risk reduction)

• Migration Cost • Operations Cost • Decommissioning Cost

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 6 5


A sense of united purpose Sensor City: providing innovation support for ambitious businesses



Dr Joanne Phoenix has led the ecosystem development at Sensor City since June 2016 and is actively involved in supporting tenant companies and local entrepreneurs, as well as raising awareness of Sensor City and its activities across the country

6 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

wo years on since launch, Sensor City has already welcomed over 18,000 people through its doors as event delegates, office tenants and commercial engineering customers. Having picked up five awards along the way, our unique mix of rapid prototyping facilities, business support and co-working spaces have resulted in a thriving, dynamic innovation hub. Backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Sensor City is a joint venture between The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. We are one of the four original UK University Enterprise Zones and are

putting sensor and IoT technology on the map around the world. Located at the gateway to the Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool, Sensor City is positioned at the intersection of industry and academia, enabling businesses to develop concepts into prototypes with speed and accuracy. Our global innovation hub offers a wide range of support to companies through our on-site engineering and business development teams, helping ambitious scale-ups to grow through the adoption of digital technologies. While the focus remains on sensor systems and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, we are sector agnostic and have to date completed 120 technical projects across industries including healthcare, marine and manufacturing.


Our Resident Members and external customers look to Sensor City to provide novel solutions to their engineering challenges. Based within the £1m state-of-the-art laboratory facilities which are some of the most sophisticated for sensor and IoT technology in the UK - our multidisciplinary engineering team create bespoke solutions using hybrid manufacturing techniques. Technical work covers IoT adoption, 3D printing, digital design and manufacture, as well as optics and coding for robotics. Providing this in-house expert engineering support to both SMEs and larger corporates, has enabled businesses to carry out more creative R&D work, outsource their engineering work and subsequently accelerate their growth. Our unique engineering support capabilities were recently demonstrated through a Beam Simulator Project for the Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) at Liverpool John Moores University. We were proud to be recognised as the only supplier with the wide range of equipment, creative engineering skills and cost-efficient solutions required to deliver this project. As a result, a highly configurable and flexible Focal Plane Simulator system was manufactured that creates a simulated star image and pattern of stars which projects across an image plane. Our Lab team also worked closely with ARI to develop a multi-axis layout, which consisted of an innovative modular design produced by a combination of traditional CNC machining and 3D printing techniques.


Digital technology and the fourth industrial revolution are still a hot topic of conversation, but we find many SMEs struggle to take the appropriate steps to adopt innovations and make them work for their organisation. We have therefore launched a series of initiatives to support businesses wanting to invest in digitalisation, to find the right path for them. Sensor City’s 2020 Guide to IoT Adoption, Space to Innovate membership and Discovery Day events raise awareness of the support and funding available and provide

W I T H I N S E N S O R C I T Y, W E H AV E DE VELOPED AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE AMBITIOUS BUSINESSES CAN THRIVE; WORKING ALONGSIDE LIKEMINDED INDIVIDUALS, ENGAGING WITH INDUSTRY E XPERTS AND TA P P I N G I N T O P A R T N E R I N S T I T U T I O N R E S E A R C H A N D S T U D E N T TA L E N T businesses with useful tips, insights and connections to help them take the next step in their digital integration. The business support services for Sensor City members also covers profile raising opportunities through marketing and networking events and the facilitation of a rolling programme of funded Internship placements. We have also dispersed over £100,000 of State Aid support to SME beneficiaries based in the Liverpool City Region across the past 24 months, via the provision of business support, technical assistance and workspace at Sensor City.

has resulted in a number of very worthwhile collaborations for all parties, providing a route to impact for our partner institutions. Partnerships, both with academia and industry, have resulted in 25 collaborations between ourselves, our University Partners and SMEs, as well as hosting 24 FTE Researchers within Sensor City. Together, we are creating the skills-base for emerging technologies in the North West, boosting jobs for the future and supporting the local community.


As the world around us evolves, digital technologies are becoming more commonplace within industrial and commercial applications. The growth of augmented reality, robotics and 5G networks demands a strong support infrastructure behind them, to allow innovation to thrive and smart solutions to come to market. At Sensor City, we are committed to helping businesses growth at pace and the business development support and technical guidance we provide to resident members and external customers encourages creative concepts to be limited only by the ideas themselves. We are excited to see what the next two years will bring and look forward to discovering the art of the possible in 2020 and beyond. ■

Within Sensor City, we have developed an environment where ambitious businesses can thrive; working alongside like-minded individuals, engaging with industry experts and tapping into partner institution research and student talent. The support provided at Sensor City extends far beyond our building’s boundaries, however. We encourage joined-up thinking and facilitate synergistic introductions between local partner organisations, regional support programmes and national knowledge assets. This results in SMEs bringing products to market more quickly, growing their employee base and ultimately positively impacting upon the economy. In addition to the support we provide to SMEs, we also work closely with larger corporates and our University partners. We’re acutely aware that academics spend a lot of time trying to find end users for their research developments and utilising our network of industrial contacts to make informed introductions

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H


For further information, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 6 7


Taking care of your people, places and public perception

Exterior of The Hub, Kent Science Park

Investment in the scientific sector More than just money


cience is a vast, exciting arena, holding enormous promise in many walks of life, where dedicated science parks play a huge role in supporting businesses of all sizes – from start-ups and SMEs to multinational corporations. Traditionally, science parks have provided real estate that can cater to the changing and growing demands of onsite occupiers but, as we enter a new decade, is it really enough for landlords just to be landlords?


More and more companies are recognising the strength of the UK STEM sector, leading to increased foreign investment. This provides a unique opportunity to help scientific businesses even further, by investing in facilities and providing a holistic framework of assistance. This is particularly true for smaller enterprises

6 8 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


for whom a lack of support and capital is often a major stumbling block. For this reason, Trinity Investment Management (a privately-owned real estate company) has partnered with Harrison Street (a leading investment management firm with significant scientific real estate experience in the US) to create the Knowledge Factory – a platform that aims to bring together the right people, ideas and funding to help accelerate UK innovation and help businesses to succeed.


This unique approach goes above and beyond what most landlords and asset managers offer, providing the appropriate infrastructure and partners

Simon has over 24 years of experience within the real estate industry. He has developed a wide range of property and business experience through working in a variety of fund and commercial property companies. His principal focus at Trinity is asset and development management

to support a business throughout its growth. Take investment, for instance. It can be tricky to navigate the grants process to secure investment, so we aim to take the hassle out of this process by providing help and connecting startups with seed capital. Then, for businesses ready for the next stage, we can offer or provide connections to growth capital, helping occupiers to achieve their full potential. Alongside this, we look beyond funding to offer a full collection of additional services to our occupiers, investing in their success. We have a number of strategic partnerships with industry leading experts in their fields, such as the Centre for Process Innovation at the Wilton Centre –

which helps companies to develop, prove, prototype and commercialise next generation products and processes –as well as a host of other useful services.


The science parks in the portfolio – Edinburgh Technopole, Hexagon Tower, the Wilton Centre, Kent Science Park and Langstone Park – have paved the way for a new kind of investment into the scientific sector – a hands-on landlord that pushes collaboration, innovation and growth. The parks are spread all over the UK – located in Edinburgh, Manchester, Teesside, Sittingbourne and Havant respectively – with Colworth Science Park in Bedford recently added to the collection. This growing Knowledge Factory portfolio now includes over 300 companies, and covers over 2.1 million sq. ft. of office, laboratory and manufacturing space, including specialist facilities such as pilot-plant space, a blast chamber and greenhouses, and is

Interior of The Hub, Kent Science Park

continuing to grow. In the last two years alone, we’ve invested more than £8 million in new collaboration facilities, energy efficiency initiatives and infrastructure improvements across our sites. This includes the recent opening of the new Pioneer building at Edinburgh Technopole and the extensive refurbishment of Hexagon Tower, with a programme of future works planned to minimise energy usage as part of our sustainability drive. We have also expanded Kent Science Park, including opening a £2 million communal Hub to provide new cafeteria and conference facilities for occupiers and the wider business community. These investments are designed to meet the needs of current and future occupiers by offering facilities


The Pioneer Building at Edinburgh Technopole

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

that promote collaboration, nurture success and keep the sites at the forefront of innovation. The link between our parks provides a unique opportunity for intra- and intersite occupier collaboration, connecting businesses that might otherwise not know about each other. We strive to foster partnerships that allow likeminded businesses to exchange expertise, facilitating innovation and pushing new technologies to market. We work to create further links between occupiers and academia, providing access to a talented workforce and leading to more partnerships and investment in the local area. On top of that, our Pioneer Society organises and hosts regular events, from workshops and talks – including a recent presentation by the Bank of England – to investment networking and everything in between. We have also recently hosted the ‘Time to Talk Day’ to improve mental health at Kent Science Park, Hexagon Tower and the Wilton Centre. These events are all designed to foster collaboration, connecting ideas and people to increase investment in the scientific landscape.


Scientific businesses need the support of landlords and the wider ecosystem in order to succeed. Our goal is to be longterm players in the science and innovation sectors and to be part of the successful growth of the industry. Our experienced team’s hands-on approach to managing science parks is taking companies to the next level by providing the whole package, not just the building. With this in mind, we’re always looking to expand our portfolio in the UK and EU and support future potential. So, what breakthrough could be next!? ■

For further information, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 6 9


Henry Royce Institute - The UK’s National Institute for Materials Science Research and Innovation

How to future-proof science buildings Seven ways to design flexible, cost-efficient research facilities for the future


ll workplaces – whether housing tech workers or university professors – need to attract the best talent and accommodate new technologies, social patterns and skillsets. But workplaces for science and research need to work especially hard as they also have to accommodate research topics and methodologies which evolve at an incredibly fast pace. Buildings are more than just a backdrop to research, they are part of what enables scientists to do their best work. For that they need to continuously adapt to support change. But how does one design for research that has not yet been invented?


One common strategy for achieving a flexible building is to organise fixed zones for circulation and infrastructure, and adaptable zones for rapid change. An example is the QMB Innovation Centre, the largest purpose-built innovation

7 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


centre in London, which has adapted well to a diverse range of start-up life science companies since its opening 10 years ago. Each floor is organised on a 3.3m lab planning grid to suit a variety of bench configurations, with a common engineering infrastructure ring main distributing services to each module, so tenant equipment can be installed and commissioned within each demise on a ‘plug and play’ basis. As a result, it is possible for a new tenant with bespoke requirements to be housed within a short turnaround.


Structural and environmental solutions need to respond to floor-loading, localised vibration and

Darius is an architect with international practice, NBBJ and leads the firm’s UK science and higher education projects

service requirements to keep the building’s use flexible over its lifespan. Structural layouts, floor to floor heights and servicing strategies can be developed for design efficiencies, while at the same time creating ‘swing space’ for laboratory or office planning modules. At the soon-to-be-opened Henry Royce Institute in Manchester, a continuous floor-to-floor height of 4.5m allows for a ‘flex zone’ between dedicated specialist laboratories and office environments. It can adapt to suit either of those roles, reacting to developing and varying needs across the building’s seven floors. Oversized risers can take additional infrastructure if needed. Thus, the needs of future research, equipment and techniques can be accommodated.

The Works, Unity Campus

the research workplace into ‘neighbourhoods’ that support open and flexible configurations for benching and equipment.


ABCAM Headquarters


Engineering floors to accommodate more intensive usage is important, but too much redundancy can be expensive. The new headquarters building for Abcam on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is split into two wings, one for laboratories and the other for office space, each of which has a floor-to-floor height appropriate to its use — laboratory floors are higher to accommodate more intensive utility needs. However, the top floor of the office wing is designed with extra height so it too can be converted into laboratory space. By allocating just this one floor for flexibility, the building is not over-engineered but offers opportunity to adapt as the business needs require.

4 P R O V I D E S H A R E D S PA C E

In order to keep costs in check, while at the same time connect colleagues together, shared space can be considered when appropriate. For instance, different research groups can share office space, meeting rooms and other building amenities. At Unity Campus in Cambridge, developers Howard Group have created The Works, flexible ‘grow-

up‘ — as opposed to ‘start-up’ — space for medium-sized R&D, tech and office tenants inside the frame of an existing concrete-framed warehouse. The design includes a central ‘street‘ atrium which facilitates circulation and brings natural light into the heart of the building. This space offers a range of flexible working options, from break-out areas and meeting spaces, to dining areas and open space. The flexible ground-floor spaces can be fitted out as anything from low-containment labs to fully fitted Cat A offices with exposed services. All spaces enjoy views out onto the main atrium and are served by shared cores..


As traditional, wet laboratories are increasingly replaced by dry laboratories, new furniture solutions are opening up for research spaces. Choice of space based on needs and contemporary approaches to furnishing the corporate workplace, create flexible zones that can be quickly rearranged to accommodate shifting research teams — a strategy that has been implemented at the Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park. Adaptable partitions can further group

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

Credit: Gareth Gardner

Credit: Luke Hayes

Quadram Institute

The design and building process itself can be made increasingly efficient with a data-driven approach that uses predictive analytical tools to evaluate spatial relationships at the onset of the design process. For instance, using data and design computation can help to identify ideal layouts for maximum productivity, energy savings, travel distances between departments and even views. Furthermore, by inviting different types of researchers and users who represent multiple use cases or areas of inquiry to input, it is possible to test out a prototype to figure out which areas can be standardised and which must be customised to a particular line of research. For the University of Oxford’s new Life and Mind Building, designers with NBBJ developed a bespoke analytical tool which explores, live and in real time, how adjustments to office areas and floor heights will impact space requirements and project costs.

7 B U I L D B E A U T I F U L S PA C E S

Finally, the flexible research building of today and the future must anticipate not just spatial and programmatic needs, but human, experiential needs as well. In part, this entails creating a space that considers occupants’ health and wellbeing, celebrates the research they perform, connects them to their mission and to other people, and that puts sustainable design into practice. But perhaps the very best way to ensure a building lasts, and that people will invest the necessary time and money into adapting it and keeping it flexible, is to make it a beautiful space they enjoy spending time in. After all, the spaces that people love are the spaces they want to keep. ■

For further information, please visit:

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 7 1


Investment in life science and public health ‘If you build it, they will come’


ith deference to Kevin Costner, and his famous paraphrased line from ‘Field Of Dreams’, there may have been a need for baseball landspace in the late ‘80s but in the 2020s it is the demand for life sciences real estate that has never been higher in the UK. At the start of this year, Chicago based Harrison Street joined forces with Trinity Investment Management to buy a portfolio of five science-led parks and lab space across the UK for £185m, taking in sites in Kent, Colworth, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, with tenants including GW Pharmaceuticals and Unilever. In London, there are life science plans for the 930k sq. ft White City Place office scheme in west London. Close by, Imperial College’s west London campus, which totals approximately 1m sq. ft, has a vision to expand by another 2.5m sq. ft in the coming years whilst the Knowledge Quarter, Kings Cross has the Francis Crick Institute as a member. While there are exciting plans up and down the UK in the life sciences arena, the UK Innovation Corridor (UKIC), linking London, Stansted and Cambridge, is a ‘super cluster’ of worldleading academic institutions and universities, research and development, and globally significant high-growth clusters in pharma, biotech, IT & digital. It is also one of Europe’s best investment opportunities, with Essex at the heart of it… In Harlow, in the south of the UKIC, work on Public Health England’s (PHE) new state-of-the-art public health science campus and headquarters is now underway. Phased occupation is due to commence in 2025 with PHE Harlow expected to bring together around 2,750 staff from the Department of Health agency’s existing sites, including Porton in Wiltshire, Colindale in north London, and its current central London headquarters.

7 2 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


PHE Harlow will be based at the former premises of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, where it will reuse existing large laboratory buildings as well as see the construction of new laboratories, additional office accommodation and a public arrivals area. The cost of lab space is driving some companies out of London so many are searching for cheaper options, preferably around the same area. Just to the south of London Stansted Airport, Harlow Science Park has a fantastic opportunity to capture the attention of many med-tech businesses looking for space, with exceptional

Harlow Science Park, featuring the 100th public sculpture in Harlow - Twofold - by Nick Hornby

transport links to the motorway network (work on a new junction for Harlow is due to start in the coming months), ports and airports. With 27 acres of Grade ‘A’ collaborative work and amenity space totalling 401,650 sq. ft, Harlow Science Park has just launched its Nexus building, a 30,000-sq. ft office building designed to provide ‘move on’ space for small and medium sized businesses. Further developments will include ‘Modus’, six units which will combine office/research space with light manufacturing/assembly space, and Anglia Ruskin University’s second Innovation Centre, the 15,000 sq. ft Arise Innovation Centre. Meanwhile in the north of UKIC the refurbishment of the 40,000 sq. ft Newnham Building at Chesterford Research Park in Essex is to be followed by a similar project on the Emmanuel Building. The Newnham building is due to complete in spring this year. The call to build it came and Essex, among other counties, has answered. Watch this (lab) space. ■

Zero Carbon Laboratories


Practical changes to save money and improve performance and efficiency

re-COVID-19 – remember those days? – the media was filled with talk of net-zero carbon, with the UK government and organisations such as BP committing to achieve it by 2050, and more ambitious targets in some cities (Manchester 2038), and universities (e.g. Leeds 2030). Ironically, some of what seemed extreme scenarios as to how this might be achieved – a radical reduction in flying and the international tourist industry, restructuring of supply chains to provide more local and less carbonintense products, restrictions on everyday activities for the social good – have now become almost normal and give a foretaste of what future lifestyles could be like. This – and the likely COVID-19 recession - will undoubtedly sharpen political and social debate about net zero-carbon policies and their impacts when (if?) life becomes more commonplace but for the moment science parks, research laboratories and other STEM-based facilities must assume that the current long-term targets will remain.


One obvious implication is for energy supply, with renewable energy or electricity (which itself will be increasingly derived from renewable sources) substituting for gas in heating, and diesel or petrol in vehicles. Any remaining carbon inputs, and the footprint of other activities such as air travel could be offset by buying credits in carbon markets. However, green advocates are clear that these supply measures need to be matched by reductions in energy demand. There could also be higher electricity prices related to transforming its inputs, and expansion to replace gas and oil in heating and transport, as well as doubts about the long-term availability and credibility of carbon offsets. Hence, science parks



Peter James is Director of S-Lab, a not-for-profit initiative supporting good laboratory design and operation in universities and research institutes See:

Improved space efficiency through design for adaptability, shared use and other means is also good for both the environment and science parks by reducing the overall need for new construction. The same goes for science equipment, the latest generations of which are often much more energyefficient than their predecessors. Operating regimes and maintenance can also make a big difference to their carbon footprint. For example, good maintenance and management – for example, tracking of contents, optimised storage configurations, regular defrosting, minimising door opening

P I O N E E R I N G O R G A N I S AT I O N S S U C H AS THE UNIVERSIT Y OF CALIFORNIA I R V I N E H AV E S H O W N T H AT T H E E N E R G Y C O N S U M P T I O N O F L A B O R AT O R Y S P A C E S CAN BE REDUCED BY 40-50% have good reason to minimise greatly their own energy needs and carbon footprint, and to support similar action in their tenants. Fortunately many likely actions can be beneficial by saving money (especially energy bills) and improving performance and safety. Pioneering organisations such as the University of California Irvine have shown that the energy consumption of laboratory spaces can be reduced by 40-50% compared to conventional norms by careful design, regular recommissioning, good maintenance and smart operation. The latter includes educating users about the carbon impacts of their labs and how they can minimise it, e.g. by closing VAV fume cupboard sashes when not in use.

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

through good procedures – can mean that older freezers actually use less energy in practice than poorly maintained and managed A* models.


One likely positive legacy of COVID-19 is the demonstration that virtual meetings and collaboration, and remote working, can be effective and reduce transport impacts. Research also suggests that, on balance, many people prefer these ways of working and so organisations may find it difficult to reinstate the status quo even if they wanted to. For science parks this may mean not only providing good digital infrastructure but also helping tenants with choosing and using effectively the most appropriate technologies. ■

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 7 3


Quantitive and qualitative analysis of the innovation ecosystem

Science Parks are at the heart of a booming UK biotech sector Playing a crucial part in wider UK economy investment



Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board

74 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

t’s my great delight to report that the UK biotech sector is going from strength to strength. Those working in our innovative science parks know first-hand the incredible science and research base at our disposal. The UK continues to be at the forefront of pioneering new medical advances, such as cell and gene therapies, genomics and the benefits being delivered through digital innovation. The UK biotech and life sciences sector continue to drive investment into the wider UK economy. Our sector generates an annual turnover of £73.8 billion, supports 482,000 jobs two thirds of which are outside London and the South East, and consists of almost 5,900 companies, 80% of which are SMEs. The jobs the sector provides are high skilled and well paid and support many other jobs across wider supply chains.


To meet the sector’s ambition, we require impetus from both government and the private sector. The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is bearing fruit. Since becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has been making the right noises about the future prosperity of the sector and has announced several new initiatives. The Government has committed to the fastest ever increase in public R&D investment and to raising overall R&D investment from 1.69% of GDP to 2.4% by 2027. The Conservative’s promised before the 2019 general election to create a £200m scale-up fund for small biotech businesses and they announced the world’s largest genomics project to deliver the whole genome sequencing of all 500,000 UK Biobank participants. The UK is not alone in recognising life sciences as an industry of the future;

Venture Capital Financing for the Biotech sector in Europe, US and China

Total raised (£m)

global and growing

both the United States and China, among many others, are committing considerable public investment to support their life sciences sectors. The UK sector is the clear leader in Europe and continues to challenge the dominant clusters in California and as the sector matures 7 Massachusetts. and more companies Dan Mahony It was always going to be difficult to replicate Despite 2019 being a difficult year move their products for global financial markets, the particularly market. Partner, success of closer 2018,to nevertheless venture funding with the uncertainty caused by Brexit We continued to Polar Capital in the UK has remained reasonably robust in 2019. and the US-China trade war, UK biotech see large UK venture recorded its third highest year for rounds in 2019, with Private companies continue to have access to capital and there is a greater diversity investment, with £1.3bn raised by three UK biotechs of potential investors compared to five years ago including some new UK-based UK-based biotech companies in 2019. raising above £50m venture funds. The VC market in the US has again been strong, especially in Boston With five consecutive years of each, which was almost and the Bay Area, but the UK has retained its status as the third global bio-cluster. raising over £1billion and a 400% unheard of prior to In the UK public markets, it has been a much more difficult year with few IPOs and increase in investments since 2012, the 2015. Two of those companies, Achilles a handful of follow-on offerings. Barring a couple of exceptions, stock performance sector is in a very strong position Therapeutics (£100m) and Gyroscope sciences investor base is critical to the has in general been disappointing for life sciences companies. Investor appetite heading into a new decade. It’s clear that Therapeutics (£50.4m) are long-term resilience of our sector. for small companies has evaporated given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. UK biotech companies remain an headquartered at the Stevenage Science parks have a distinct advantage if While the well-publicised issues with the Woodford Funds have also had an impact attractive investment opportunity for Bioscience Catalyst, demonstrating that this flow of capital comes on-stream, as on sentiment, the liquidity in UK markets has been low for some time. For most global investors, meaning there’s a science parks are providing a critical physical property is an attractive UK-based biotech companies, the path to NASDAQ has become a well-trodden route greater diversity of capital than we saw platform for companies to mature, grow long-term investment for pension funds. to IPO and probably the best access to the capital required to scale-up. five years ago. and attract new investment. As well as UK pension funds, While the diversity of global government efforts to leverage new In the US, the demand for biotech stocks was a little more muted for most of 2019. U K H O L D I N G I T S O W NWhile a flurry of M&A deals investors is welcome, the Government’s scale-up capital through the British at the beginning of the year created some excitement in This welcome long-term growth has commitment to unlock long-term Business Bank should be stepped up, as January, a general decline in risk appetite meant biotech was out of favour for most cemented the UK’s position of asthe the third capital held in the UK’s pension funds to year. Drug pricing has also remained a major political issue in the run-up toshould grant funding for early-stage global life sciences cluster. UK support sciences commercialisation companies through the Biomedical the Presidential election. In the last few weeks of the year, biotech onis NASDAQ staged companies are becoming more yet towell bear andmid-term the BIAoutlook will remain a strong recovery that bodes for fruit 2020. The looks positive Catalyst, which data shows generates successful in securing the scale aninactive participant making that as theofpace of innovation the sector continues to accelerate withasome exciting£4.72 in public and business value for capital required to finance their growth reality. Diversifying the domestic life every £1 invested by government. therapeutic candidates making rapid progress in the clinic. The BIA is proud to have several science parks in our membership, situated in all Long-term growth in UK biotech financing nations and regions of the UK. Science parks are platforms for 2,203 innovation, providing companies £m 2,500 with state-of-the-art equipment 1,877 and facilities they need to grow their therapy pipelines. As we embark into the new decade the UK biotech sector 926 continues to chart an ambitious global path, which science parks 1,339 1,130 1,201 and the wider ecosystem will play a crucial part in. ■ 454










For further information, please visit:

* The dataset in this report covers the period from 1 December 2018 to 30 November 2019. It provides fundraising data based on the headquarters location of the company. Where fundraises weren’t R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA in . Opound R G . Usterling, K / B R Ethe A Kfollowing T H R O Uexchange GH S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 7 5 rates were used: GBP 1.00 = USD 1.29; EUR 1.17; CHF 1.28; CNY 9.09; JPY 141.63; KRW 1,527.00. The data is provided by Informa Pharma Intelligence.


Life support The state of investment into UK Life Sciences companies


ome of the key challenges of the 21st century will be biological; ageing populations, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the threat of epidemics, as illustrated by the spread of the coronavirus, are just a few of the developments that require urgent attention. Startups and scaleups will play an important role in creating market-ready solutions to these global problems. 333 high-growth UK companies in the Life Sciences sector raised equity in 2019, securing a total of £1.10bn in funding. In this article, we will benchmark this performance against the rest of the UK’s high growth fundraising activity, using the latest Beauhurst data. We have defined Life Sciences as companies developing pharmaceuticals, research tools or reagents, and those manufacturing or engineering healthcare products.


In The Deal 2019, the recent update to our annual publication on UK equity fundraising, Beauhurst observed a simultaneous decline in deal numbers alongside a huge increase in the amount

7 6 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0


of pounds invested. In particular, companies at the Seed stage have taken a large hit in number of deals, dropping to 2014 levels. However, Life Sciences is one of the few sectors that has bucked both of these trends. In 2019, deal numbers were up by 5% and Seed-stage deals up by 6% from 2018. When we look at all UK companies that secured equity in 2019, only 15% of the pounds invested went to Seed stage companies; in the Life Sciences sector, 34% of all pounds invested went to Seed-stage companies. This is a reassuring sign that investors are willing to back younger life sciences companies, against a background of declining investments into companies at this stage. These investments should help ensure the pipeline of future Life Science companies remains healthy.

Ava is an expert data cruncher and business analyst in the Research & Consultancy team. She provides research and insights for multiple clients, contributing to industry leading reports. She holds a BA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford

However, the total amount secured by Life Sciences companies has declined by 26% compared to 2018, whilst the wider ecosystem saw an increase of 58%. Growth stage companies secured just 21% of all pounds invested into Life Sciences companies, while in the wider market, Growth stage companies secured 70% of the pounds invested. This huge proportion was primarily swallowed by a number of ‘mega-deals’, where companies at the Growth stage secured £50m+ in equity in a single round. Life Sciences companies actually secured fewer megadeals (26) in 2019 compared to 2018 (32). This is an unexpected trend, as we would expect companies in the Life Sciences sector to require some of largest injections of capital, to fuel clinical trials, pharmaceutical development and other costly research processes.


What’s preventing growth stage life science companies from securing the large amounts of cash snapped up by their peers in fintech, broadband services, and even healthtech? One argument could be that inventions and solutions in Life Sciences can take a long time to reach the market as they navigate regulatory requirements. Projects at these companies may make less appealing investment opportunities for private equity and venture capital investors with shorter term ROI goals. One could argue that Woodford Investment Management, which was a key fund for high-growth Life Sciences companies, buckled due partly to these impatient expectations. Improved options for patient capital could benefit innovation in the Life Sciences sector in particular. Government funds are active investors into Life Sciences businesses. Scottish Enterprise and the Development Bank of Wales manage the most active funds in the sector, backing 138 deals between them since 2014. However, the largest deals in equity finance are nearly always led by institutional investment banks, often headquartered abroad. Improving the collaboration and communication between these two different types of investor could elevate the private sector’s interest in the UK’s Life Sciences companies, and facilitate larger deals. Brexit may also be causing concern among those investing into the Life Sciences space. This industry is particularly affected by regulatory changes and leaving the EU will likely disrupt the checks and processes that companies must go through when expanding into European markets. Key organisations currently involved in the industry are the European Medicines Agency, which licenses all regulated medicines in the EU, the Unitary Patent Court, who handles patent disputes in Europe, and Horizon 2020, the European Investment Fund, who grants millions to UK Life Science companies every year. Developing and managing domestic alternatives to these support systems will take years, a logistical reality that may be deterring investment.


While there are some causes for concern, the general picture of equity investment into UK Life Sciences companies is positive. In 2019, these companies secured the largest number of deals ever, and the second largest amount of investment. This industry, while vital to the future of our species, is particularly sensitive to changes in policy and regulation, as well as the impatience of investors. 2020 will be an important year for reassuring investors that the UK remains a hospitable and globallyminded place to grow a Life Sciences company.

T O P D E A L S BY U K L I F E S C I E N C E S C O M PA N I E S I N 2 0 1 9 Achilles Therapeutics | £100M Achilles Therapeutics develops therapies that target cancerous tumours without affecting healthy cells. BenevolentAI | £72.4M BenevolentAI develops artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that aims to speed up scientific discovery through mass analysis of scientific data. Gyroscope Therapeutics | £43.9M Gyroscope Therapeutics develops gene therapies to tackle age-related macular degeneration.

R E A D O N L I N E AT: U K S PA . O R G . U K / B R E A K T H R O U G H

T O P S E E D S TA G E D E A L S BY U K L I F E S C I E N C E S C O M PA N I E S IN 2019 Artios Pharma | £35.0M Artios Pharma develops treatments that target DNA Damage Response (DDR) pathways to kill or weaken cancer cells. Quell Therapeutics | £35.0M Quell Therapeutics develops Treg cell therapies for the treatment of a range of different conditions, such as solid organ transplant rejection. MiroBio | £33.6M MiroBio develops pharmaceuticals aimed at treating autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. ■

Beauhurst reports on all equity fundraisings in the United Kingdom, both those announced in the press and those that go unannounced. Alongside this, we track all grants awarded to UK companies, as well as their financial accounts, key people, accelerator attendances, university spinout events, management buy-ins and more. Through this private research and data curation, we have built a database of more than 30,000 high-growth private companies in the UK, many of which are solving global problems and pioneering new technology.

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | 7 7


Oxford Technology Park, OXFORD, UK

BIOGRAPHY As Head of Business Development, Placi’s role builds relationships and provides strategic direction to help the Oxford Technology Park grow with a focus on building a community of like-minded innovative entrepreneurs and organisations

Placi Espejo Nurturing growth at Oxfordshire’s newest innovation home P R E P. . .

It wouldn’t be a Monday morning without a last-minute panic rush… mostly about a phone charger gone missing, once my son has left for the school bus, I switch mum’s mode into work’s mode.


This morning I am meeting a prospective client for one of the units at the Innovation Quarter. The Park is at the early stages of being built and we recently made the decision to change one of the plots into a cluster of smaller, flexible, modern, hybrid units to respond to the upcoming demand. Before meeting any client, we always have a pre-meeting, today we are also joined by our commercial agents, Bidwells and Benedicts. The prospective client is exceptionally exciting and interested in the units, a formal proposal will follow. I like to follow every meeting with an email and connect on LinkedIn, it gives a personalised touch and shows professionalism.

7 8 | U K S PA B R E A K T H R O U G H | S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

We are all, Angus Bates, Lauren Bates and I, on site today, as we start reviewing the construction programme to date, continue with our marketing plan and finish with upcoming local activities we are interested in 2021 already. Currently, we are jointly working with several local stakeholders on a new business partnership to support and stimulate businesses in the Kidlington area. At the end of the morning I put some time aside to call existing enquiries and update them on the site progress - it is essential that you keep regular contact with potential clients.


After a walk on site we have lunch at the new Beefeater Restaurant, embedded in the new Premier Inn Hotel and only open three weeks ago it has already been a resounded success with local business residents. I then head to a meeting for the Cherwell Business Awards. I have been involved with these since they were launched nine years ago and with time

become the Chair of the Awards. This year I get to wear two hats, as Chair and as a sponsor - The Oxford Technology Park sponsors the New Business Category Award. Today’s agenda is fluid, entries update and timescales for the interviews, which give us an opportunity to meet some innovative and thrilling companies in the area. The meeting finishes just short of 6 and I change into my Gi.

P O S T. . .

Karate has become a passion of mine, giving me discipline, focus, the opportunity to train with an inspirational group of ladies and clear my mind from work.

U P N E X T. . .

Tomorrow is a blend of networking and meetings, breakfast and evening events, both in Oxford City with two other meetings, firstly with a local journalist and afterwards with a new supplier for the Park. As you can see my work is very much varied and, on the go, and it is this variety that I truly enjoy. ■

PETTE fix and vario

/// Order your award winning IKA PETTE today




5 μl

0.1 – 2 μl

10 μl

0.5 – 10 μl

20 μl

2 – 20 μl

25 μl

10 – 100 μl

50 μl

20 – 200 μl

100 μl

100 – 1,000 μl

200 μl

0.5 – 5 ml

250 μl

1 – 10 ml

500 μl 1,000 μl

For more information please contact our Oxford team on or call our office on +44 1865 986 162

IKA England LTD. Pure Offices, Office Suite 1 Fountain House, John Smith Drive, Oxford Business Park, Oxford, Oxon OX4 2JY Phone: +44 1865 986162, eMail:

IKAworldwide // #lookattheblue

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.