£0.5 million Headington life science laboratory development at The Oxford Trust’s Innovation Centre supported by funding secured by OxLEP

The Oxford Trust, the local charity encouraging the pursuit of science and enterprise, is to undertake a half million-pound project to install life science laboratory facilities at its Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington, Oxford, to increase capacity for the local innovation ecosystem and has received £0.1 million in funding towards the project via the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

The project will deliver laboratory facilities to answer the significant demand that has been seen in the last year from science and tech start-ups and SMEs for lab space in Oxford’s Global Health and Life Sciences District, one of the UK’s leading technology clusters delivering lifesaving developments such as the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, the project is set to support the creation of more than 100 new jobs for the Oxfordshire economy.

The work will be carried out by laboratory specialist project managers Bulb Laboratories.

The project will total 3,300 sq ft of advanced R&D laboratory space for work at containment level 2 with climate control and air handling and 500 sq ft of shared facilities for common equipment and specialist microscopy use, including liquid nitrogen storage, autoclave, water purifier and dark room. The project is due for completion in Spring 2021.

Surrounded by 15-acres of woodland, the Wood Centre for Innovation is within easy reach of the clinical research facilities at the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus, the local hospitals, and Oxford Brookes University.

The funding is expected to significantly boost employment at the innovation centre as companies move in to provide further economic growth for the city and local community.

Alongside the lab space, the Wood Centre for Innovation provides grade A offices, co-working and desk space in Barclays Eagle Lab, a lecture theatre, meeting rooms, café area and sector-specific business support.

Steve Burgess, CEO of The Oxford Trust said: “Now more than ever, we need to invest to support local innovators and entrepreneurs to develop ground-breaking ideas. This first phase of laboratory installations at the Wood Centre for Innovation means we will be able to offer a complete range of spaces in our two innovation centres from virtual offices and co-working to grade A office space and laboratory facilities to support science and tech start-ups and spinouts on their journey to success.”

“Thank you to OxLEP for their continued support of not just The Trust and our charitable aims but Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem. With this national government funding we are able to quickly pivot to meet the significant demand from companies needing specific lab space.”

The Oxfordshire Enterprise Partnership (or OxLEP) is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships in England playing a key role in driving forward economic growth and – by 2021 – it’s expected that central Government will have invested over £12 billion into the UK economy via the Growth Fund. The Fund allows LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions. Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated. Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured around £660 million-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 48,000 new jobs created in the county to-date. In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2 billion growth programme for the county.

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP said: “The confirmation of funding for such a significant project – that will continue to build on the county’s world-class science and technology assets – is excellent news.

“As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, we will continue to play a vitally important role for the county moving forward, securing investment that enables new opportunities that benefit the county’s businesses for many years to come.

“In recent months, Oxfordshire’s life sciences sector has demonstrated its global standing and has had a monumental impact on responding to the COVID19 pandemic. We hope the funding received by The Oxford Trust will help continue to build on this position of strength.”

Bulb Laboratories has been contracted to oversee the development at the Wood Centre for Innovation. Based in Reading and specialists in laboratory conversion, Bulb is to provide expert consultancy services, including design and project management.

The Trust’s innovation centres – the Wood Centre for Innovation and the Oxford Centre for Innovation in the city centre – are managed by Oxford Innovation, a spin-out from The Oxford Trust and the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres.

The first phase of the works is planned to complete in the spring. If successful, the Trust will then actively look to add further laboratory space at the Wood Centre for Innovation.

About The Oxford Trust
The Oxford Trust is an independent charitable trust, founded in 1985 by entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, co-founders of Oxford Instruments. Producing superconducting magnets for MRI scanners, the company went on to be a great commercial success which enabled the Woods to start the Trust.

The Trust’s mission is to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise. It creates, develops and delivers three connected programmes – their three Es:

  • Enterprise – to support the innovation ecosystem in our region
  • Education – to inspire young people about science, technology, engineering and maths
  • Engagement – to engage public audiences with science as an important part of their culture.

The Trust has two clear business streams: its Innovation Centres in the City Centre and Headington’s Global Health and Life Sciences District, and its education and engagement activities which are developed and delivered by its Science Oxford team. The income from the innovation centres is invested into innovation programmes and Science Oxford’s education and engagement programmes to inspire the scientists and innovators of the future.

Over the last 35 years, the Trust has helped hundreds of tech companies to flourish and grow including Mirada Medical, Perspectum Diagnostics, Navenio, Natural Motion and Oxford Computer Consultants.

About OxLEP
The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) champions Oxfordshire’s economic potential, acting as a catalyst and convener to drive a dynamic and growing economy. It’s vision for Oxfordshire being ‘a vibrant, sustainable, inclusive, world- leading economy – driven by innovation, enterprise and research excellence’.

Since 2011, OxLEP has secured around £660m-worth of central government and European funds for the Oxfordshire economy, supporting the creation of around 48,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2018 – representing over 50% of a 2031 target of 85,600 new jobs for the county. In total – OxLEP oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for Oxfordshire.

About Local Growth Fund
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021, Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences

About Oxford Innovation
Oxford Innovation has an outstanding track record of success in incubating and accelerating high growth businesses through the management and operation of its 26-strong network of innovation centres across the UK and providing the provision of specialist coaching services and funding support through its established investor networks.

A spin-out from The Oxford Trust, Oxford Innovation has more than thirty years’ experience. The Oxford Innovation network continues to thrive and help in the development of businesses all over the UK. From children’s bionic arms to space exploration, Oxford Innovation has provided the community, network and knowledge to accelerate such business’ growth stories.

About Bulb Laboratories
Bulb provides planning and construction services to research, innovation, and manufacturing facilities in the science & technology sector.

Specialists in laboratory enablement, building feasibility, compliant design and performance specifications, Bulb’s wide-ranging experience includes biotech, life sciences, pharma, chemical, and food & beverage industries. Its client base ranges from university spin-out companies to contract research and manufacturing organisations.

The Bulb Laboratories’ dedicated team provides a single point of contact for the design and delivery of compliant & effective facilities fit for purpose.

Oxford Innovation

Oxford Innovation has an outstanding track record of success in incubating and accelerating high growth businesses through our network of Innovation Centres.

Wendy Tindsley

Innovation Director

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