Legal & General has announced that it will fund and deliver a new innovation district with the University of Oxford, extending Oxford’s existing Begbroke Science Park across an adjacent 14-hectare site.
The first phase of the scheme will bring forward new teaching facilities for the university’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences departments, as well as providing space to incubate spin-out companies.
The new Begbroke innovation district forms part of Legal & General’s £4bn partnership with the University of Oxford’s Oxford University Development (OUD). Future phases will also seek to develop 2,000 new homes, with a mix of affordable tenures and subsidised key worker accommodation.
By building out a network of high-quality research and innovation facilities, alongside affordable homes to accommodate students and teachers, the partnership is looking to retain talent in the city, boost the economy and support spin-out and scale-up businesses.
The wider master plan for Begbroke will create a ‘live/study/work’ environment, with ambitions to include a hotel, restaurant, bars, cafes, shops, educational, community and sports facilities.
Stepping up its commitment to invest in the UK life sciences sector, Legal & General has brought forward projects, in partnership with world-leading universities, worth £2bn this year alone.
This has included its scheme with Manchester University and its first development for the OUD partnership, the new Life and Mind Building.
The Life and Mind Building is the University of Oxford’s largest ever building project, with a project cost of £200m, which will house the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Biology, including Plant Sciences and Zoology.
Legal & General has invested over £30bn in levelling up regional economies throughout the UK, including by forming major partnerships with local and central governments, universities and local businesses in place such as Cardiff, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as Oxford.
Begbroke will be funded by long-term annuity money from Legal & General’s retirement business, with Legal & General Capital acting as Developer and Bruntwood SciTech (a 50 / 50 JV between Legal & General Capital and Bruntwood) as Development Manager for the first phase, whilst longer-term plans for future phases are finalised.
Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive at Legal & General, said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with the University of Oxford, which in the wake of COVID-19 will help retain talent in the city, whilst driving essential inward investment and providing opportunities for world-leading innovation, as well as much needed housing for key workers.
“Investments such as this are creating virtuous cycle whereby pensions and savings are used to create positive social, environmental and economic outcomes which are in line with our commitment to Inclusive Capitalism.”
Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Capital, said: “As we have seen over the last two years, the life sciences and health sectors have never been more important, and new schemes like Begbroke will help the UK continue to lead the way and ensure future health emergencies can become just health events.
“UK universities are world-leading, and we are helping realise their potential by investing in much needed science infrastructure, which can incubate the great talent and innovative spin-outs which come from these first class institutions.”
Dr David Prout, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Oxford, said: “We are delighted that this project is going ahead as part of our JV partnership with Legal and General.
“It will provide much needed expansion space for academic research and also for University spin-outs and commercial collaborators. It will double the amount of space in the Science Park and form the first phase of a larger commercial, academic and residential development.”
Chris Oglesby, Executive Chair, Bruntwood SciTech, said: “The development of Begbroke Science Park into a major new science and innovation district will provide much needed, additional research and innovation facilities for some of the UK’s most exciting life science businesses and support the creation of new high value, highly skilled jobs for the sector.
“Our reputation for working in partnership with public, private, academic and clinical institutions to create world-class science and tech clusters that fuel innovation and foster collaboration is why we’re well placed to help bring this ambitious vision to life.”