The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth has formally launched construction work on a new £22.3 million research, teaching and training facility set to drive growth in the regional and national bioscience industries.
The National Horizons Centre, which is being built by Wates Construction on behalf of Teesside University at Central Park in Darlington, will concentrate on developing the technical, innovation and management skills and knowledge needed for the sector to continue to grow and generate jobs and wealth in Tees Valley and the UK.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, joined Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Paul Croney to mark the start of the build programme, due to be completed in spring 2019.
The National Horizons Centre is being established to support the bioscience sector, which includes biologics, biomedical sciences, industrial biotechnology and digital. It will play a key part in driving STEM skills and economic growth in the Tees Valley, through industry-focused education and training and collaborative research and innovation.
It has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund, via the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and the European Regional Development Fund. The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the single biggest investment by the fund in the Tees Valley.
The centre will house academics and business development staff from Teesside University, working in partnership with regional, national and international industry partners, including the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Fujifilm Diosynth, to provide specialist education and training for the current and future workforce, and to promote industry-focused innovation and research.
Its imaginative design includes an exciting blend of teaching, learning and collaboration spaces, together with hi-tech laboratories and a state-of-the-art computing suite.
Together with CPI’s adjacent National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development (CPED), the centre will be at the heart of a cluster of excellence on Darlington’s Central Park.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “I was delighted to be here celebrating the start of the build of the National Horizons Centre today, which has received £17.5m government investment. This is the Northern Powerhouse in action because this Centre will not only be of regional importance but will be a nationally significant asset too. It will train our young people to become the scientists of the future and continue to drive forward the Tees Valley as a leader in research, science and innovation in the UK and the world.”
Professor Croney said: “The National Horizons Centre is the result of significant work with industry and our partners, to identify how best the bioscience sector can reach its full potential through provision of the right education, training and collaborative innovation.:
“Our investment in The National Horizons Centre is an example of this in action. It will play a vital role, providing first-class facilities and programmes to grow knowledge and research in sectors that are set to transform the UK economy.”