Harwell Campus expands to support strong life science sector


Aerial photo of Harwell Campus 2019
Aerial photo of Harwell Campus in 2019. Image courtesy of Harwell Campus

Europe’s leading interdisciplinary science and innovation campus, Harwell, has grown its built estate by a further ten per cent, to accommodate the strong demand from the life sciences sector.

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is forging ahead with its five million sq. ft masterplan to consolidate Harwell as one of the fastest-growing sites dedicated to science and technology in the UK. At 48,000 sq. ft, Zeus is the latest building on campus to reach practical completion and together with several onsite refurbishments, takes available space on campus to 105,000 sq. ft.

Zeus broke ground in January 2020 and is a multidisciplinary building suitable for light engineering, R&D, laboratory, assembly, cleanrooms and offices and despite three lockdowns and challenging pandemic conditions is now available to let.

Recent research from Bidwells has highlighted the resilience of Oxford’s office market during recent lockdowns. Several large lettings, dominated by the science sector have driven the vacancy rate down in Oxfordshire close to six per cent, with demand levels from prospective occupiers at record levels.

And research from JLL has revealed that life sciences has become an established standalone real estate asset class, with a 166 per cent increase in the volume of real estate transitions in the past three years and over £65bn of potential capital targeting the global life sciences real estate sector.

The campus has experienced the growth in this sector first-hand. In May 2020, the UK established the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) at Harwell through £65 million of government funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This created the country’s first strategic vaccines development and manufacturing capability on the campus.

At the end of January this year, The Rosalind Franklin Institute also reached practical completion. This world-leading facility will house researchers who are dedicated to transforming life science through interdisciplinary research and technological development.

Dr Adrian Hill, HealthTec Cluster Development Manager at Harwell said: “It’s an exciting time to be working in this sector. Harwell has a unique ecosystem whereby companies in the life sciences arena can access and interact directly with globally leading national laboratories, research institutions and members of the EnergyTec and Space Clusters, allowing cross fertilisation of knowhow and the creation of innovative solutions and disruptive technologies to drive advancements in healthcare.”

Stuart Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Harwell Campus said: “The increasing importance of science and technology to the UK has been demonstrated by the pandemic. It’s therefore vital that Harwell continues to provide a thriving eco-system for innovative companies and institutions of all sizes.”

The latest 200,000 sq. ft of development is underway and due to be delivered by the end of 2021, with a total of one and a half million sq. ft to be developed by the mid-2020s. The campus will continue to expand its roster of national and international companies looking to grow at pace and scale across its multiple clusters including Life Sciences, Space and Energy.

The team at Harwell works closely with several agencies including Bidwells, Lambert Smith Hampton, and recently has appointed JLL to the team to enhance the international reach of the campus. Together they combine sector, national and international experience to ensure that Harwell remains a globally important location for scientific research and breakthrough technologies.

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