The University of Manchester

Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park gears up for building the upcoming UK Biobank headquarters

In a moment of great anticipation for the future of UK Biobank, the organisation had the pleasure of hosting Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, at Manchester Science Park. The purpose of the visit was to officially mark the location of UK Biobank’s new £75m centre, which is set to be a groundbreaking development in the field of health research.

As the world’s most comprehensive source of health data used for research, UK Biobank plays a crucial role in providing researchers worldwide with access to de-identified data. The new 131,000 sq ft building, designed with cutting-edge technology, will house UK Biobank’s laboratory space and a state-of-the-art robotic freezer. This freezer has the ability to store and retrieve the organisation’s 20 million biological samples four times faster than before, which will greatly accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

The construction of the new facility is made possible by a generous £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund. It will not only increase UK Biobank’s capacity, speed, and efficiency but also position it alongside other fast-growing life science businesses at Manchester Science Park. This purpose-built building is equipped with specialist labs and advanced features, including enhanced cooling and ventilation systems, high security access, and superfast connectivity.

Furthermore, the new facility is committed to sustainability, as it will be 100% electric and net zero carbon. This makes it one of the first lab spaces in the UK to adopt such environmentally friendly practices. The Secretary of State marked the occasion by planting a ‘living wall’ hoarding, which will eventually become part of a two-storey green wall surrounding the building. This green wall will not only provide insulation but also increase biodiversity and improve air quality.

Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, expressed her admiration for UK Biobank’s contribution to global science. She highlighted the organisation’s role in detecting diseases such as Parkinson’s and tackling heart disease. The new state-of-the-art facility at Manchester Science Park, supported by a £21 million government investment, will ensure that UK Biobank remains at the forefront of understanding human health.

The new centre, expected to open in 2026, will house UK Biobank’s biological samples, laboratories, headquarters, and approximately half of its staff. It will significantly improve the speed and efficiency of sample supply to researchers while also allowing for future expansion. With the new facility and generous donations, UK Biobank will embark on pilot projects that will provide invaluable data on human health and disease, including research on ageing, dementia, cancer, and remote forms of assessment.

The arrival of UK Biobank at Manchester Science Park further solidifies the campus as a leading hub for innovation, collaboration, and discovery. It will provide businesses with direct access to pioneering research and a fully integrated clinical and academic ecosystem. The University of Manchester, which supports UK Biobank, is thrilled to have such a renowned organisation join the vibrant research community in Manchester.

Overall, this milestone ceremony showcases the key role that UK Biobank plays in advancing scientific research. With its new state-of-the-art facility, UK Biobank is set to continue its mission of improving public health and driving innovation in disease prevention and treatment.

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