July 4 2015 Latest news:
Thursday, July 24, 2014
A £11.5m hub to bring businesses together with top scientists could herald the dawn of 21st century rural renaissance for Norfolk, the new life sciences minister has said.
The Centrum building at the Norwich Research Park in Norwich is part of a £26m project which also includes a virtual technology centre and a molecular farming facility.
The project is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, whose chief executive Jackie Hunter said it would help bioscience companies to flourish.
She said: “Centrum will offer high quality interaction space where innovative businesses and academics can meet. This is a crucial step in realising our ambition for the park to be a world-class hub for research and development, delivering innovation from the research base and generating economic growth and jobs.”
The prime minister last week created the new role of life sciences minister for Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, who yesterday opened the Centrum building as part of his first official ministerial engagement.
Mr Freeman said: “Over the next 20 years, we will see the Norwich Research Park become, in the fields of nutrition, biomedicine and environmental technology, a power house to rival Cambridge and the best that Europe can offer. This is about a world-class vision for Norfolk creating the products, businesses and jobs of tomorrow’s economy.”
He added: “Having worked in the innovation economy before coming to Parliament in 2010, I know that Norfolk stands at the dawn of a new period of prosperity, opportunity and leadership if we seize the moment. If all of us work together, we can secure for our children and grandchildren a future for this great county, of which we can all be a part and proud of.”
He said the investment in the Norwich Research Park, combined with the dualling of the A11, faster broadband and new apprenticeships, would “unlock a series of exciting opportunities over the next decade”.
He added: “With high-growth small companies working in converted farm buildings and small industrial units across the villages and towns of rural Norfolk, we can combine a vibrant local economy and heritage with new job opportunities and prosperity.
“For too long, our area has been a rural backwater ignored by successive government in Brussels and London.”