Lincoln is to become home to some of the finest scientific minds and most innovative high-tech businesses in the UK, thanks to ambitious plans announced today (Thursday 2nd August 2012).
The University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-operative are joining forces to transform a disused 10-acre site in the heart of the city into a world-class science and innovation park.
The multi-million pound project will see a substantial plot of land and buildings on Green Lane (off Tritton Road) becoming a hub of science and technology expertise and home to a mix of university and commercial enterprises in what is a first for the city.
Part of the development of the park, which is owned by Lincolnshire Co-op, is the University’s plan to locate its School of Life Sciences and the proposed new School of Pharmacy in Becor House.
Significant refurbishment of this landmark building by the University will create state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching spaces for disciplines such as biology, biomedical science and bioveterinary science.
In addition, the University as the anchor tenant would create spin-out businesses and attract onto the site high-tech companies in the fields of pharmaceutical science and biotechnology as well as other areas of scientific and industrial development and engineering.
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University, said: “This is a tremendously exciting step for the University as we strengthen and grow our science provision, and one which will bring massive benefits to the city in terms of employment and inward investment.
“Highly skilled professionals who have previously looked outside Lincolnshire for career opportunities will be attracted to the area or be encouraged to stay, and the potential to bring in new investors and high-tech businesses to boost the local economy is enormous.
“Our shared vision with Lincolnshire Co-operative is to build a vibrant and successful community of knowledge creators and businesses, working together creatively to promote enterprise, employment, investment and education in Lincoln.”
Co-locating academia and commerce will bring benefits for both, and investment in the site by the University and the Co-op could reach £14 million.
There is a range of similar successful projects nationally. Cambridge Science Park was founded in 1970 by Trinity College, Cambridge, and hosts businesses such as Toshiba and Bayer CropScience Ltd. Biopark, near Welwyn Garden City, features companies working in various fields including the development of oncology drugs, supplying advanced medical equipment and researching new innovations in electronics.
Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “We think there’s a huge opportunity to turn this underused site into a stimulating place to work and study. It’s an ideal location for a science park as it’s so close to the University campus and Lincoln city centre.
“As a co-operative, we share our profits with our members and their communities and we want to be involved with developments like this which will bring employment opportunities and investment to the city.
“We also run 47 pharmacies across our trading area and are keen to support the proposed new School of Pharmacy. We’ll be able to offer placements to students during their courses, and then potentially job opportunities. Our pharmacists will be able to take advantage of the facilities for their professional development.”
Initial work on the complex will be completed by the end of 2013, with between 1,200 and 1,500 science students based there, along with around 100 academic and research staff.
Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor for the University’s College of Science, added: “The University is in the process of recruiting more than 20 new high profile life and pharmaceutical scientists who need access to good laboratories and offices. But alongside the academic spaces will be industrial developments and we will be looking for other organisations to partner with, following a similar model to our highly successful engineering collaboration with Siemens.”